Estrogenic compounds affect development of harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus japonicus



The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the impact of estrogenic compounds onthe harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus japonicus after continuous exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations. Natural estrogen (17β-estradiol), three known estrogenic compounds in vertebrates (bisphenol A, 4-nonylphenol, p-t-octylphenol), and an invertebrate molting hormone (20-hydroxyecdysone) were tested for their effects on development and reproductive characters in two successive generations of T. japonicus. Less than 24-h-old nauplii (parentals) were exposed to four sublethal concentrations of these compounds for 21 d at 25°C. The first brood of nauplii (F1) produced was monitored further under the same culture conditions and exposures to test compounds. Results showed that all estrogenic compounds affected development (both in number of days to reach copepodid stage and sexual maturity) in the parental generation. Similar effects were apparent in the F1; however, fecundity, sex ratio, and survival were not significantly affected, even at concentrations as high as 10 μg/L (nominal concentration). The invertebrate molting hormone 20-hyroxyecdysone had no detectable effect on any of the endpoints tested but gave the lowest 48-h 50% lethal concentration (LC50) value. The results suggest that endocrine disruption could occur in copepods following exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of estrogenic compounds, especially if they are exposed starting from embryonic development.