Meeting Abstract

P1.23  Wednesday, Jan. 4  The Effects of River Sediment Contaminants and Moderate Hypoxia on the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) WILLIAMS, L.E.*; DEFUR, P.L.; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Commonwealth University

The blue crab is an ecologically and economically important invertebrate to the Chesapeake Bay. The juvenile male blue crab moves into low salinity areas during warmer months to feed and grow by undergoing molting. The tributaries afford important habitat during this vulnerable life stage. In crustaceans, growth, molting and reproduction are all hormonally controlled and the juvenile molting crab may be the life stage that is most sensitive to low doses of chemicals that are found in the James River. Multiple anthropogenic stressors found in the James River include hypoxic waters and contaminants found in the sediment and the water column. The combination of stressors may interact and potentially cause adverse effects that, for each individually, show no effect. The physiological effects of a multiple stressor environment were determined by comparing the blue crab’s basal oxygen uptake to the oxygen uptake after exposure to river sediment contaminants and moderate hypoxia. The effect of the multiple stressor environment was also measured by enzyme analysis, where N-acetyl-ß-glucosaminidase activity was measured in the epidermal tissue.