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Head shape disparity impacts pollutant accumulation in European eel

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articleResearchpeer-review

Authors

  • Jens De Meyer
  • Pascal Boeckx
  • Lieven Bervoets
  • Adrian Covaci
  • Govindan Malarvannan
  • Barbara De Kegel
  • Dominique Adriaens

Departments, research groups and services

External Organisations

  • Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: Jendmeye.demeyer@ugent.be.
  • Isotope Bioscience Laboratory - ISOFYS, Ghent University, Coupure Links 635, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: pascal.boecxk@ugent.be.
  • Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research (SPHERE), Antwerp University, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address: lieven.bervoets@uantwerpen.be.
  • Toxicological Centre, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium. Electronic address: adrian.covaci@uantwerpen.be.
  • Toxicological Centre, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.
  • Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: Barbara.dekegel@ugent.be.
  • Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: Dominique.adriaens@ugent.be.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume240
Pages (from-to)378-386
Number of pages9
ISSN0269-7491
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Abstract

Several aspects of the life cycle of the critically endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla) remain poorly understood. One such aspect is the broad-versus narrow-head dimorphism, and how this impacts their overall performance at different stages of their life cycle. At the yellow eel stage, the phenotypes show a trophic divergence. We investigated whether pollutant accumulation is affected by this disparity. We show that broad-headed eels contained higher concentrations of mercury and several lipophilic organic pollutants, compared to narrow-headed ones, irrespective of their fat content. The hereby confirmed link between the phenotypic disparity, its associated feeding ecology and its impact on pollutant accumulation thus raises further concerns about their migratory and reproductive success. Considering that pollution is an important contributor to the European eel's decline, our results demonstrate that broad-headed eels are more vulnerable to detrimental pollutant accumulation. This compromises their successful contribution to their population's reproduction and its restoration.

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Documents

  • De Meyer et al 2018 Env Poll

    Final published version, 772 KB, PDF-document

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