All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Stephen A Watts

Advisory Committee Members

Marion Nipper

Robert A Angus

Addison L Lawrence

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


Toxicity tests monitoring the effects of anthropogenic substances on marine systems are considered an important part of environmental management. Sea urchin fertilization and embryological toxicity tests are successful in producing a graded response to toxicants, but standards for controlling the quality of parental urchins have not been developed. In Chapter 1, experimental populations of Lytechinus variegatus were fed either organic romaine lettuce and organic carrots, or a feed formulated for sea urchins for 13 weeks. Growth demographics were assessed and F1 progeny were compared for sensitivity to the toxicants copper sulfate, 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene, and sodium dodecyl sulfate by acute embryonic and larval exposure following standard USGS embryological and fertilization test protocols. Progeny of lettuce and carrots fed L. variegatus produced toxicity test datasets that were similar or significantly more variable than those performed using progeny of individuals fed the formulated feed. Relative sensitivities between the dietary treatments were dependent on toxicant and test type demonstrating the effect of nutritional history on toxicity test results. In Chapter 2, transfer of copper toxicity was analyzed by feeding L. variegatus adults an isocaloric feed containing 6, 50, or 159 ppm copper for 13 weeks and testing the sensitivity of F1 progeny to teratogenesis induced by exposure to 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene, sodium dodecyl sulfate, and copper sulfate. Consumption of these feeds induced iii physiological changes in the parental adults that were not reflected in organismal growth. A low variation rate among treatments resulted in an increase in precision of calculated point estimates when compared with current paradigms of toxicity testing. Variation in dietary copper levels resulted in significantly different sensitivities, affecting interpretation of toxicity test results. This project demonstrates the effect of nutritional history on toxicity testing and provides evidence for the utility of a reference feed to increase precision and accuracy of experimentation in this and other animal models.



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