Marine Biology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 350–356 | Cite as

The influence of pollution on pelagic larvae of bottom invertebrates in marine nearshore and estuarine waters

  • S. A. Mileikovsky


At present, human activities on marine shores, nearshore waters and estuaries, as well as in rivers which discharge into the seas, are influencing nearshore and estuarine waters so strongly that the resultant changes affect the breeding and spawning of bottom invertebrates which inhabit these waters. The majority of bottom invertebrate species from the shallow shelf of all seas and oceans, and from all except the highest latitudes, pass through a pelagic larval phase during development. Thus, survival and maintenance of such species are determined by survival and distribution of larvae during their planktonic phase and their settling on the substrate. Consequently, an attempt to summarize all available data on the influence of pollution in marine and estuarine waters, not only on adult bottom invertebrates, but also on their pelagic larvae, will be of practical interest from both scientific and economic points of view. This paper represents a first step towards that goal. Despite the fact that all aspects of pollution-industrial wastes (including heated effluents producing “thermal pollution”), domestic sewage, oil and oil products, oil-spill removers and oil-emulsifiers, various pesticides, synthetic surfactants, etc.—exert harmful effects on pelagic larvae of bottom invertebrates under experimental conditions, in natural environments, free-swimming larvae are influenced only slightly by these pollutants. Pollution becomes a grave danger for larvae when they are settling on the substrate, as much higher concentrations of different pollutants may be present on the substrate than in the water mass above it (the pollution of every nearshore water mass usually varies greatly from place to place). Pelagic larvae of bottom invertebrates inhabiting comparatively clean parts of polluted regions are dispersed throughout all such regions by local currents, tidal oscillations, eddies and other small-scale water movements. They represent, therefore, the potential source for re-establishment of the normal composition of the bottom communities in these regions, after the abatement of pollution by means of natural causes or by man's own improvements.


Domestic Sewage Estuarine Water Synthetic Surfactant Pelagic Larva Nearshore Water 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Mileikovsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Oceanology of the Academy of Sciences of USSRMoscowUSSR

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