Improved methodology for a sea urchin sperm cell bioassay for marine waters

Paul A. Dinnel, Jeanne M. Link, Quentin J. Stober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


A simple sperm/fertilization bioassay, primarily using sea urchin (and sand dollar) gametes, was improved to yield a quick, sensitive, and cost-effective procedure for measuring toxicity in marine waters. Standard sperm bioassays are conducted by exposing sperm cells to test solutions for 60 min prior to addition of eggs to the test solution for fertilization. Reduced fertilization success (as indicated by the presence or absence of the obvious fertilization membrane) is used as an indicator of toxic effects on sperm viability and/or the fertilization response. This study, in conjunction with earlier work, has shown that the results of sperm bioassays can be affected by a number of factors including temperature, pH, salinity, sperm:egg ratios, sperm exposure times, test materials, and echinoid species. Each of these factors have been considered in designing the "standard" conditions for the improved test. Examples of the effect of these factors on the test results are illustrated, using silver as a reference toxicant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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