Cadmium in the shore crab Carcinus maenas along the Norwegian coast: geographical and seasonal variation and correlation to physiological parameters.
ABSTRACT: Previously, high concentrations of cadmium have been found in the hepatopancreas of the edible or brown crab (Cancer pagurus) sampled from positions north of about 67° N, compared to regions further south along the Norwegian coast, with no clear understanding why. In order to study a similar organism in the same ecosystem, the present study analyzed 210 shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) from four different locations along the Norwegian coast, two in the North and two in the South. The physiological variables size, sex, molting stage, hepatosomatic index, carapace color, and gonad maturation were registered, in attempt to explain the high inter-individual variation in cadmium levels in hepatopancreas. In contrast to the brown crabs, the shore crabs showed no clear geographical differences in cadmium concentrations. This indicates physiological differences between the two crab species. No clear and consistent correlations were found between cadmium levels and physiological parameters, except for sex, where cadmium concentration in hepatopancreas was twice as high in males compared to females. The cadmium levels also varied with season, with approximately 40 and 60% lower cadmium concentration in April than August for male and female shore crabs, respectively. None of the analyzed cadmium concentrations in muscle meat from claws exceeded EUs food safety limit, and low cadmium levels in soup prepared from shore crabs clearly indicated that this dish is not problematic regarding food safety.
Project description:There is an increasing interest to restore the ecosystem services that eelgrass provides, after their continuous worldwide decline. Most attempts to restore eelgrass using seeds are challenged by very high seed losses and the reasons for these losses are not all clear. We assess the impact of predation on seed loss and eelgrass establishment, and explore methods to decrease seed loss during restoration in the Swedish northwest coast. In a laboratory study we identified three previously undescribed seed predators, the shore crab Carcinus maenas, the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus and the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, of which shore crabs consumed 2-7 times more seeds than the other two species. The importance of shore crabs as seed predators was supported in field cage experiments where one enclosed crab caused 73% loss of seeds over a 1-week period on average (~ 21 seeds per day). Seedling establishment was significantly higher (14%) in cages that excluded predators over an 8-month period than in uncaged plots and cages that allowed predators but prevented seed-transport (0.5%), suggesting that seed predation constitutes a major source of seed loss in the study area. Burying the seeds 2 cm below the sediment surface prevented seed predation in the laboratory and decreased predation in the field, constituting a way to decrease seed loss during restoration. Shore crabs may act as a key feedback mechanism that prevent the return of eelgrass both by direct consumption of eelgrass seeds and as a predator of algal mesograzers, allowing algal mats to overgrow eelgrass beds. This shore crab feedback mechanism could become self-generating by promoting the growth of its own nursery habitat (algal mats) and by decreasing the nursery habitat (seagrass meadow) of its dominant predator (cod). This double feedback-loop is supported by a strong increase of shore crab abundance in the last decades and may partly explain the regime shift in vegetation observed along the Swedish west coast.
Project description:The finite marine resources make it difficult for us to obtain enough fish oil (FO) used in aquatic feeds. Another sustainable ingredients should be found to substitute FO. The effects of replacing FO with vegetable oil have been studied in a variety of crustaceans, but most studies have focused on the phenotypic effects. Little is known about the mechanisms of the effects.To understand the molecular responses during the replacement of FO in Eriocheir sinensis, we investigated the effects of feeding FO or linseed oil (LO) on growth performance, digestive enzyme activity, fatty acid composition and protein expression in E. sinensis. Twenty-four juvenile crabs were fed diets containing FO or LO for 112 days. Weight, carapace length and width were recorded. Fatty acid composition of the diets and the hepatopancreas and protein expression in the hepatopancreas were analyzed.Growth performance and molting interval were unchanged by diet. Crabs fed FO and LO had same activity of lipase and amylase, but comparing with crabs fed LO, crabs fed FO had higher trypsin activity and lower pepsin activity. Hepatopancreas fatty acid composition changed to reflect the fatty acid composition of the diets. In total, 194 proteins were differentially expressed in the hepatopancreas between the diets. Expression of heat shock proteins was higher in crabs fed LO. Expression of fatty acid synthase, long-chain fatty acid transport protein 4, acyl-CoA delta-9 desaturase, and fatty acid-binding protein 1, was higher in crabs fed FO.The substitution of FO with LO didn't have any effects on the growth and molting of mitten crab, but could significantly decrease the ability of mitten crab to cope with stress. The high content of HUFAs in the hepatopancreas of mitten crab fed FO is due to the high abundance of the proteins relative to the transport of the HUFAs. These findings provide a reason of the high content of EPA and DHA in crabs fed with FO, and provide new information for the replacement of FO in diets of mitten crab.
Project description:There is a paucity of knowledge regarding the diversity and impact(s) of disease-causing fungi in marine animals, especially shellfish. In efforts to address this knowledge gap for the shore crab Carcinus maenas, a year-long disease screen was carried out across two sites in Swansea Bay (Wales, UK) with a view to characterising putative fungal infections. Crabs were sampled between November 2017 and October 2018, and screened systematically for disease signatures using haemolymph (blood) preparations, targeted PCR and tissue histopathology. Strikingly, mycosis was confirmed in ~0.4% of total crabs tested (n = 1191) and restricted to one location only (Mumbles Pier). Clinical infections were observed in four out of four infected crabs. In these animals, the gills and hepatopancreas were congested with fungal morphotypes. In addition, some evidence indicates haemocyte (immune cell) reactivity toward the fungi. Phylogenetic placement of the partial internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) gene regions amplified from three mycotic crabs revealed the causative agent to be related to hypocrealean fungi, thereby representing a novel species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone with multiple functions that regulates energy homeostasis and reproductive functions. Increased knowledge of leptin receptor function will enhance our understanding of the physiological roles of leptin in animals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In the present study, a full-length leptin receptor (lepr) cDNA, consisting of 1,353 nucleotides, was cloned from Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) following the identification of a single expressed sequence tag (EST) clone in a cDNA library. The lepr cDNA consisted of a 22-nucleotide 5'-untranslated region (5' UTR), a 402-nucleotide open reading frame (ORF) and a 929-nucleotide 3' UTR. Multiple sequence alignments revealed that Chinese mitten crab lepr shared a conserved vacuolar protein sorting 55 (Vps55) domain with other species. Chinese mitten crab lepr expression was determined in various tissues and at three different reproductive stages using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Lepr expression was highest in the intestine, thoracic ganglia, gonad, and accessory gonad, moderate in hepatopancreas and cranial ganglia, and low in muscle, gill, heart, haemocytes, and stomach. Furthermore, lepr expression was significantly higher in the intestine, gonad and thoracic ganglia in immature crabs relative to precocious and mature crabs. In contrast, lepr expression was significantly lower in the hepatopancreas of immature crabs relative to mature crabs. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We are the first to identify the lepr gene and to determine its gene expression patterns in various tissues and at three different reproductive stages in Chinese mitten crab. Taken together, our results suggest that lepr may be involved in the nutritional regulation of metabolism and reproduction in Chinese mitten crabs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The parasitic dinoflagellates of the genus Hematodinium represent the causative agent of so-called bitter or pink crab disease in a broad range of shellfish taxa. Outbreaks of Hematodinium-associated disease can devastate local fishing and aquaculture efforts. The goal of our study was to examine the potential role of the common shore (green) crab Carcinus maenas as a reservoir for Hematodinium. Carcinus maenas is native to all shores of the UK and Ireland and the North East Atlantic but has been introduced to, and subsequently invaded waters of, the USA, South Africa and Australia. This species is notable for its capacity to harbour a range of micro- and macro-parasites, and therefore may act as a vector for disease transfer. METHODS:Over a 12-month period, we interrogated 1191 crabs across two distinct locations (intertidal pier, semi-closed dock) in Swansea Bay (Wales, UK) for the presence and severity of Hematodinium in the haemolymph, gills, hepatopancreas and surrounding waters (eDNA) using PCR-based methods, haemolymph preparations and histopathology. RESULTS:Overall, 13.6% were Hematodinium-positive via PCR and confirmed via tissue examination. Only a small difference was observed between locations with 14.4% and 12.8% infected crabs in the Dock and Pier, respectively. Binomial logistic regression models revealed seasonality (P?<?0.002) and sex (P?<?0.001) to be significant factors in Hematodinium detection with peak infection recorded in spring (March to May). Male crabs overall were more likely to be infected. Phylogenetic analyses of the partial ITS and 18S rRNA gene regions of Hematodinium amplified from crabs determined the causative agent to be the host generalist Hematodinium sp., which blights several valuable crustaceans in the UK alone, including edible crabs (Cancer pagurus) and langoustines (Nephrops norvegicus). CONCLUSIONS:Shore crabs were infected with the host generalist parasite Hematodinium sp. in each location tested, thereby enabling the parasite to persist in an environment shared with commercially important shellfish.
Project description:In aquatic animals, synthesis of the metal-binding protein metallothionein (MT) can be induced through exposure to elevated levels of metals in food or water. Whether the different routes of exposure lead to expression of different metallothionein isoforms in different tissues in unknown. In this study we examined the induction of metallothionein isoforms in the hepatopancreas and gills of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. When blue crabs are exposed to cadmium in their diet, the metal accumulates in the hepatopancreas. Size-exclusion and anion-exchange chromatography show the presence of five low-molecular-mass cadmium-binding proteins. All of the observed cadmium-binding proteins belong to the class I MT family. They are designated as MT-Ia, MT-Ib, MT-Ic, MT-IIa and MT-IIb. All purified proteins run as single peaks upon rechromatography on anion-exchange HPLC, except for MT-Ic, which segregates into two peaks corresponding to MT-Ia and MT-Ic. The amino acid sequence of MT-Ia and MT-Ic is identical. MT-Ib differs from MT-Ia and MT-Ic only in having an extra N-terminal methionine. The 18 cysteine residues in MT-Ia and MT-IIa occur in identical positions; however, of the remaining 40 amino acids, 15 are found to be different. MT-IIb is identical with MT-IIa, except for an extra methionine residue at its N-terminal position. It appears therefore that, of the five observed CdMTs, only two are the products of distinct genes. CdMT-Ia and -IIa are posttranslationally modified forms of Ib and IIb, respectively, and CdMT-Ia and -Ic appear to be conformational isomers. Cadmium-induced expression of the two genes is tissue-specific. When crabs are exposed to cadmium in water, the metal accumulates in the gills, where it is bound to MT-II. MT-I is virtually absent.
Project description:Facilitation cascades generated by co-occurring foundation species can enhance the abundance and diversity of associated organisms. However, it remains poorly understood how differences among native and invasive species in their ability to exploit these positive interactions contribute to emergent patterns of community structure and biotic acceptance. On intertidal shorelines in New England, we examined the patterns of coexistence between the native mud crabs and the invasive Asian shore crab in and out of a facilitation cascade habitat generated by mid intertidal cordgrass and ribbed mussels. These crab species co-occurred in low intertidal cobbles adjacent to the cordgrass-mussel beds, despite experimental findings that the dominant mud crabs can kill and displace Asian shore crabs and thereby limit their successful recruitment to their shared habitat. A difference between the native and invasive species in their utilization of the facilitation cascade likely contributes to this pattern. Only the Asian shore crabs inhabit the cordgrass-mussel beds, despite experimental evidence that both species can similarly benefit from stress amelioration in the beds. Moreover, only Asian shore crabs settle in the beds, which function as a nursery habitat free of lethal mud crabs, and where their recruitment rates are particularly high (nearly an order of magnitude higher than outside beds). Persistence of invasive adult Asian shore crabs among the dominant native mud crabs in the low cobble zone is likely enhanced by a spillover effect of the facilitation cascade in which recruitment-limited Asian shore crabs settle in the mid intertidal cordgrass-mussel beds and subsidize their vulnerable populations in the adjacent low cobble zone. This would explain why the abundances of Asian shore crabs in cobbles are doubled when adjacent to facilitation cascade habitats. The propensity for this exotic species to utilize habitats created by facilitation cascades, despite the lack of a shared evolutionary history, contributes to species coexistence and the acceptance of invasives into a diverse community.
Project description:The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, which uses the copper-dependent protein haemocyanin for oxygen transport, lacks the ubiquitous cytosolic copper-dependent enzyme copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu,ZnSOD) as evidenced by undetectable levels of Cu,ZnSOD activity, protein and mRNA in the hepatopancreas (the site of haemocyanin synthesis) and gills. Instead, the crab has an unusual cytosolic manganese SOD (cytMnSOD), which is retained in the cytosol, because it lacks a mitochondrial transit peptide. A second familiar MnSOD is present in the mitochondria (mtMnSOD). This unique phenomenon occurs in all Crustacea that use haemocyanin for oxygen transport. Molecular phylogeny analysis suggests the MnSOD gene duplication is as old as the origin of the arthropod phylum. cytMnSOD activity in the hepatopancreas changes during the moulting cycle of the crab. Activity is high in intermoult crabs and non-detectable in postmoult papershell crabs. mtMnSOD is present in all stages of the moulting cycle. Despite the lack of cytCu,ZnSOD, crabs have an extracellular Cu,ZnSOD (ecCu,ZnSOD) that is produced by haemocytes, and is part of a large, approx. 160 kDa, covalently-linked protein complex. ecCu,ZnSOD is absent from the hepatopancreas of intermoult crabs, but appears in this tissue at premoult. However, no ecCu,ZnSOD mRNA can be detected, suggesting that the protein is recruited from the haemolymph. Screening of different taxa of the arthropod phylum for Cu,ZnSOD activity shows that those crustaceans that use haemoglobin for oxygen transport have retained cytCu,ZnSOD. It appears, therefore, that the replacement of cytCu,ZnSOD with cytMnSOD is part of an adaptive response to the dynamic, haemocyanin-linked, fluctuations in copper metabolism that occur during the moulting cycle of the crab.
Project description:Effects of dietary Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposure and dietary vitamin A supplementation on Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis were studied with the aim to explain dietary PCB toxicity and toxic alleviation by vitamin A intake in crab. Four diets were used including three experimental diets containing 0, 80000 or 240000 IU/kg vitamin A with each experimental diet containing 10 mg PCB/kg diet, and a control diet (without vitamin A and PCB supplementation) in 56 days feeding trial. Crabs fed the PCB-only diet had significantly lower weight gain than those fed the control diet. No significant difference was observed in crab survival among all groups. Crabs fed the PCB-only diet had a significantly higher malondialdehyde content and antioxidase superoxide dismutase activity in the serum and hepatopancreas, and higher erythromycin N-demethylase and glutathione S-transferase activities in the hepatopancreas than those fed the control diet. However, supplementation of dietary vitamin A decreased the levels of all these parameters. The hepatopancreatic cytochrome P450 2 and 4 (CYP2, CYP4), fatty acid binding proteins 3 and 10 (FABP3, FABP10) and intracellular lipolytic enzyme (IL) Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) levels in the PCB-only group were significantly higher than those in the control group, and dietary 240000 IU/kg vitamin A supplementation decreased hepatopancreatic CYP4, FABP3, FABP10 and IL enzyme mRNA level. The crabs fed 80000 IU/kg vitamin A supplementation diet had the highest level of retinoid X receptor mRNA in the hepatopancreas. The structure of the hepatopancreas was damaged and the deposit of lipid droplets decreased with dietary PCB exposure. Both levels of vitamin A supplementation alleviated the damage and increased lipid droplets in the hepatopancreas. Dietary PCB exposure significantly reduced total hemocyte count (THC), and phenoloxidase, acid phosphatase activities in the serum. Post-challenge survival of crab in the experimental PCB-only diet group was low compared with that in the control. Supplementation of 240000 IU/kg vitamin A significantly increased the THC and phenoloxidase activity in the serum and post-challenge survival compared with those in the PCB-only group. This study indicates that dietary vitamin A can improve the antioxidant capacity, immune response, detoxification enzymes activities, energy metabolism and hepatopancreas tissue structure of Chinese mitten crab fed PCB contaminated diets.
Project description:Hemigrapsus sanguineus, the Asian shore crab, has rapidly replaced Carcinus maenas, the green crab, as the most abundant crab on rocky shores in the northwest Atlantic since its introduction to the United States (USA) in 1988. The northern edge of this progressing invasion is the Gulf of Maine, where Asian shore crabs are only abundant in the south. We compared H. sanguineus population densities to those from published 2005 surveys and quantified genetic variation using the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene. We found that the range of H. sanguineus had extended northward since 2005, that population density had increased substantially (at least 10-fold at all sites), and that Asian shore crabs had become the dominant intertidal crab species in New Hampshire and southern Maine. Despite the significant increase in population density of H. sanguineus, populations only increased by a factor of 14 in Maine compared to 70 in southern New England, possibly due to cooler temperatures in the Gulf of Maine. Genetically, populations were predominantly composed of a single haplotype of Japanese, Korean, or Taiwanese origin, although an additional seven haplotypes were found. Six of these haplotypes were of Asian origin, while two are newly described. Large increases in population sizes of genetically diverse individuals in Maine will likely have a large ecological impact, causing a reduction in populations of mussels, barnacles, snails, and other crabs, similar to what has occurred at southern sites with large populations of this invasive crab species.