Will the ubiquitous contaminant tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate affect growth, development, feeding, reproduction and larval settlement in marine invertebrates?

Project: Research project

Project Details


Marine invertebrates are not only valuable food and economic resources, but also important to the maintenance of vital ecosystem functions (e.g., habitat maintenance, trophodynamics, energy fluxes, biogeochemical cycles and nutrient recycling). In the last decade, tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) has replaced pentaBDE and been used extensively as the primary flame retardant in a great variety of consumers products, leading to its ubiquitous occurrences in air, water, soil, sediment as well as animal and human tissues and excreta worldwide. In the Pearl River Delta of China, where industrialization occurs at an unprecedented rate, high concentrations of TDCPP have been found in water, sediment and fish tissues. Extensive in vitro and in vivo studies in human, rodents, birds and fish have shown that TDCPP can be carcinogenic, neurotoxic and hepatotoxic. Furthermore, TDCPP can also cause endocrine disruption as well as developmental and reproductive impairments in fish and mammals (including humans).

Despite the economic and ecological importance of marine invertebrates, whether or not and if so, in what way TDCPP may affect marine invertebrates remains completely unknown. The barnacle Balanus amphitrite and the gastropod Crepidula onyx not only have a wide biogeographic distribution in the Pacific, but also play pivotal roles in trophodynamics, benthic-pelagic coupling and regulation of structure and functions in marine ecosystems. Using these two species as study models, this proposal sets out to test the hypothesis that TDCPP can affect the fitness traits of marine invertebrates, including growth, development, feeding, reproductive performance, as well as larval behaviour and settlement. Experiments are further proposed to test the hypothesis that exposure of the parental generation (F0) to TDCPP will affect the fitness of their offspring in the F1 generation. Results of this completely novel study will provide vital information enabling us to assess the environmental risk of the wide spreading TDCPP posed on the fitness and sustainability of these two important marine invertebrates and hence, the ecosystem functions they support. They will also allow us to identify ecologically important endpoints and sensitive life stages that may be affected by TDCPP, and shed light on future mechanistic studies of TDCPP toxicity in marine invertebrates.
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/20


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