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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Ophryotrocha labronica as test animal for the study of marine pollution

  • B. Åkesson1
Helgoländer wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen20:BF01609907


1. The polychaeteOphryotrocha labronica La Greca &Bacci is proposed as test animal for marine pollution research. It also provides excellent material for classroom studies.

2. The size ofO. labronica seldom exceeds 4.5 mm; it is herbivorous and can be cultured in crowded populations in limited amounts of sea water. As it is possible to work at the population level, experimental results are easily available for statistical analysis.

3. Growth rate, ability to reproduce and the duration of different stages of the life cycle form convenient parameters. In addition, useful observations can be made on locomotion, feeding and mortality.

4. All life cycle stages are available for experiments throughout the year. At 20° C, the whole life cycle is completed in less than 1 month.

5. The reproductive capacity is enormous. A female produces an average progeny of 120 and may repeat egg laying every second week for at least 3 months. The reproduction cycles of females can be synchronized yielding large populations of equal sized young larvae.

6. Cultivation methods are described, as well as experiments conducted under varying conditions of nutrition, temperature and salinity.

7. The effects of pollutants (ethylene glycol, sulphuric acid) on different life processes are considered.


Sulphuric AcidTest AnimalMarine PollutionLife Cycle StageYoung Larva