The effects of dietary silver on larval growth in the echinoderm lytechinus variegatus

Kevin V. Brix, Phillip Gillette, Ali Pourmand, Tom R. Capo, Martin Grosell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that the euryhaline copepod Acartia tonsa is extremely sensitive to dietborne silver (Ag) exposure, with a 20 % inhibition (EC20) of survival occurring when copepods are fed algae with 1.6 μg g -1 dry weight (dw) Ag, corresponding to a waterborne Ag concentration of 0.46 μg l -1 Ag. In contrast, 43 μg l -1 Ag is required to elicit similar effects in copepods exposed to Ag by way of water. In the current study, we investigated whether another planktonic marine organism might also be sensitive to dietary Ag. Specifically, we tested larvae of the echinoderm, Lytechinus variegatus in an 18-day study in which larvae were continuously exposed to Ag-laden algae (Isochrysis galbana). After 7 days of exposure, no significant effects were observed on larval growth up to the highest concentration tested (10.68 μg g -1 dw Ag in algae after exposure to 3.88 μg l -1waterborne Ag). After 18 days, significant effects were observed in all Ag treatments resulting in a lowest-observable effect concentration of 0.68 μg g -1 dw Ag in algae and corresponding waterborne Ag concentration of 0.05-0.07 μgg ll -1 Ag (depending on background Ag [see Results]). However, the dose-response relationship was quite flat with a similar level of growth inhibition (approximately 15 %) in all Ag treatments, resulting in an EC20 of>10.68μg g -1 dw Ag in algae (>3.88 μg l -1Ag in water). This flat dose-response relationship is characteristic of dietary metal (silver, copper, cadmium, nickel, and zinc) toxicity to copepods as well, although the effect is slightly more robust (approximately 20-30 % inhibition of survival or reproduction). We conclude that echinoderm larvae may be similar to copepods in their sensitivity to dietary Ag, although a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the apparent flat dose-response relationships is clearly needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of environmental contamination and toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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