Effects of secondarily-treated sewage effluent on the early life-history stages of two species of brown macroalgae: Hormosira banksii and Durvillaea potatorum

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Journal Article
Marine Biology, 1995, 122 (4), pp. 689 - 698
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Sewage effluent has a deleterious effect on the early life-history stages of Hormosira banksii (Turner) Decaisne and Durvillaea potatorum (Labillardière) Areschoug. High concentrations of sewage effluent (28 and 40% in seawater) inhibit zygote germination by 55 to 95%, retard embryo growth (80 to 100%) and cause severe embryo mortality, with less than 60 and 5% surviving after 14 d, respectively. It is probable that such adverse effects would significantly reduce levels of recruitment of these species in sewage-affected localities, and that sewage effluent has played an important role in the decline of these species from several rock platforms in south-east Victoria, Australia. Zygote germination, embryo growth and embryo mortality were inhibited ≅40% more strongly in sewage effluent than diluted seawater, showing that the effect of sewage effluent is not simply one of seawater dilution. However, this effect was only observed at high concentrations (28 and 40%). The absence of any difference between the low concentrations of sewage effluent (4 and 12% in seawater) and diluted seawater suggests that the dilution of waste water is important in mitigating its more harmful effects. The sensitivity of H. banksii and D. potatorum embryos to the composition of the medium in which they grow and the ease with which they can be manipulated in culture suggest that they may be utilised as biological indicators of water quality. © 1995 Springer-Verlag.
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