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The Effects of the Herbicide Atrazine on Hawaiian Corals

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Title:The Effects of the Herbicide Atrazine on Hawaiian Corals
Authors:Damiani, Laura Anne
Contributors:Richmond, Robert H. (advisor)
Marine Biology (department)
Molecular biology
anthropogenic impacts
show 4 morebiomarkers
coral reefs
show less
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:The herbicide atrazine is one of the most commonly applied herbicides used worldwide, despite being shown to disrupt reproductive development in some animals. Atrazine is used for agriculture in Hawai‘i and potentially threatens marine organisms after it enters the ocean through runoff. Various pollutants and pesticides affect the health of corals, but atrazine’s effect on corals is unknown. This study investigates the effects of atrazine on the early life history stages of coral, and the molecular response of corals exposed to atrazine. Fertilization assays were performed with Montipora capitata gametes exposed to select concentrations of atrazine, and adult colonies of M. capitata and Leptastrea purpurea were exposed to atrazine in the laboratory. Along with monitoring for physiological effects, Western blot analyses were performed using the expression of select proteins, including xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, to detect stress at the cellular level. There was no significant difference in percent fertilization or cell division rates between treatments in M. capitata embryos. Overall, eight biomarkers were identified to be used for Western blots in studying sublethal stress in L. purpurea, and three in M. capitata. This study indicates that atrazine does not greatly impact the coral animal itself within the coral holobiont for the species studied. However, it has the potential to impact its protein expression, including the expression of hydroxysteroid 17-beta dehydrogenase 8 (HSD17B8), which plays a role in regulating reproductive activity. Longer term exposures of several months are suggested for addressing the effects of atrazine on coral metabolism and gamete formation. Studies such as this that develop and apply molecular biomarkers to corals will help resource managers in learning about the causation of coral stress for coral reef restoration.
Pages/Duration:51 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.S. - Marine Biology

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