The effects of anthropogenic copper on the native marine mussel Mytilus californianus in Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay, California

Catherine Funk

Abstract

Established marinas act as gateways for human impact on the natural environment. One of the major ways this occurs is through the leaching of biocides from antifouling paints applied to marine vessels. These paints often contain copper, which can have an effect on non-target organisms, especially those in fouling communities within marinas. In this study, I hypothesized that the level of copper in Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay, CA., would affect the local population of the native mussel Mytilus californianus at the larval stage. I tested this by measuring the level of copper in the marina using diffusive gradients in thin films (DGTs), and exposing larvae to different copper concentrations in the laboratory. I found that while increasing copper does decrease normal larval development, increased exposure time has the same effect on development. These factors interact with each other to produce a combined influence on larval development.

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