Cyanobacteria reduce motility of quagga mussel (Driessena rostriformis bugensis) sperm

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



The temporal expansion of harmful algal blooms, primarily associated with cyanobacteria, may impact aquatic organisms at vulnerable life history stages. Broadcast spawning species release gametes into the water column for external fertilization, directly exposing sperm to potential aquatic stressors. To determine if cyanobacteria can disrupt reproduction in freshwater broadcast spawners, we evaluated sub‐lethal effects of cyanobacteria exposure on quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) sperm. In laboratory studies, sperm were collected after inducing mussels to spawn using serotonin and exposed to 11 cultures of cyanobacteria including Anabaena flos‐aquaeAphanizomenon flos‐aquaeDolichospermum lemmermaniiGloeotrichia echinulata, five cultures of Microcystis aeruginosa, M. wesenbergii, and Planktothrix suspensa. Sperm motility, using endpoints of cumulative distance traveled and mean velocity was calculated for a minimum of 10 individual sperm using a novel optical biotracking assay method. The distance and velocity at which sperm travelled decreased when exposed to Aphanizomenon flos‐aquae and two M. aeruginosa cultures. Our findings indicate that cyanobacteria impede the motility of quagga mussel sperm, which can potentially result in reproductive impairments to mussels, and potentially other broadcast spawning species.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Cyanobacteria reduce motility of quagga mussel (Driessena rostriformis bugensis) sperm
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.4305
Volume 38
Issue 2
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 368
Last page 374
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