Reliably estimating the effect of toxicants on fertilization success in marine broadcast spawners

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Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ecotoxicological studies examining the effects of toxicants on fertilization success in marine broadcast spawners and it appears that this life-history stage is one of the most vulnerable to toxicants. Most of the studies examining this issue use single sperm concentrations in their assays. Here, I discuss recent advances in fertilization ecology that suggest this technique has some severe limitations resulting in unreliable estimations of the size and direction of toxicant effects. I present an alternative assay technique and two metrics (Fmax and [Sperm]max) that will reliably estimate the size of a toxicant's effect on fertilization success. This technique has the added advantage of making comparisons among species and studies easier without an impractical increase in effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-738
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2006


  • EC50
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Fertilization kinetics
  • Free-spawner
  • Polyspermy

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