Viability of invertebrate diapausing eggs collected from residual ballast sediment

Bailey, Sarah A., Ian C. Duggan, Colin D. A. van Overdijk, Philip T. Jenkins, Hugh J. MacIsaac

Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(4), 2003, 1701-1710 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.4.1701

ABSTRACT: Natural or anthropogenic movement of sediments may be an important vector for the dispersal of invertebrate resting stages between water bodies. Here we record the presence of invertebrate diapausing eggs in residual sediments from transoceanic vessels and explore whether these may pose an invasion risk. Viability of diapausing eggs was explored under light and dark conditions using sediment collected from eleven tanks on nine vessels operating on the Great Lakes. Seventeen cladoceran, copepod, and rotifer taxa were identified. Four of the species hatched have not yet been reported as established in the Great Lakes. Egg viability for individual species varied from 0% to 92%. Exposure to saline water may impact egg viability of some freshwater species. Generally, the proportion of eggs hatched in light and dark treatments did not differ significantly, indicating that light was not required to terminate diapause. As a result, eggs could potentially hatch in dark ballast tanks when immersed in freshwater loaded as ballast during operation on the Great Lakes. Viability of diapausing eggs differed among ballast tanks on a single vessel, indicating that tanks with independent ballast histories have different invasion risks. While additional work is needed to quantify risk, results from this study indicate that vessels entering the Great Lakes with only residual ballast are a potential vector for the introduction of new nonindigenous species during multiport operations.

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