Transgenerational Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure on Sheepshead Minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus)

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Ocean Science and Technology


The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill resulted in the release of over 640 million liters of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), affecting over 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, including estuaries that serve as important habitats and nurseries for aquatic species. Cyprinodon variegatus (sheepshead minnow; SHM) are small‐bodied fish that inhabit northern GOM estuaries, are easily adaptable to laboratory conditions, and are commonly used in toxicological assessment studies. The purpose of this study was to determine the somatic, reproductive, and developmental effects of an environmentally relevant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) mixture, the oil high‐energy water accommodated fraction (HEWAF), on experimentally exposed SHM (F0), as well as two generations of offspring (F1 and F2) without additional exposure. F0 exposed to HEWAF had increased liver somatic indices, altered egg production, and decreased fertilization. Several developmental endpoints in the F1 were altered by F0 HEWAF exposure. Adult F1 demonstrated decreased weight and length. Both the F1 and F2 generations derived from high HEWAF‐exposed F0 had deficits in prey capture, as compared to control F1 and F2, respectively. Correlations between endpoints and tissue PAHs provide evidence that the physiological effects observed were associated with hydrocarbon exposure. These data demonstrate that PAHs were capable of causing physiological changes in exposed adult SHM and transgenerational effects in unexposed offspring, both of which could have population level consequences. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry





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