Re: NANFA-L-- Killifish as oil cleanup agents

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 29 Nov 2005 15:15:07 -0500

Mummichogs have been shown to be able to develop a tolerance for high levels
of PCB pollution, apparently through genetic adaptation in a very fast
selection process. The inner harbor of New Bedford, MA, is extremely
polluted by PCBs and other contaminants, and mummichogs are one of the few
fish species, if not the only, that is able to successfully reproduce there.
Below are two references on the subject. I know that Steve Palumbo's lab
group-in-Harvard was studying this phenomenon in the late 1990s, before he
went to Scripps.

Black, D.E., R.E. Gutjahr-Gobell, R. Pruell, B.J. Bergen, and A.E.
McElroy. 1998. Effects of a mixture of non-ortho- and
mono-ortho-polychlorinated biphenyls on reproduction in Fundulus
heteroclitus (Linnaeus). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 17 (7):

Black, D.E., R.E. Gutjahr-Gobell, R. Pruell, B.J. Bergen, L. Mills,
and A.E. McElroy. 1998. Reproduction and polychlorinated biphenyls in
Fundulus heteroclitusi (Linnaeus) from New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts,
USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 17 (7): 1405-1414.

--Bruce Stallsmith
god knows what's in the Tennessee
Huntsville, AL, US of A

>Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Killifish as oil cleanup agents
>Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 10:37:33 EST
>In a message dated 11/28/05 2:15:50 PM, writes:
><< was surprised to read in today's Philadelphia Inquirer that Mummichogs
>effectively remove oil droplets by oxidizing them and that Mummichog eggs
>harmfully affected by oil contamination. >>
>A little on line research has turned up some related reports about the
>ability of Fundulus heteroclitus to become tolerant of oxidized petroleum
>Not really that they clean up the environment. Aquatic Toxicology 65 (2003)
>Does anyone have more relevant references? It seems that this may be
>case of journalistic license.
>Lee Harper
>Media, PA
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