Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Amanda Ellis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

The Effects of Copper on Extractable Lipofuscin and Oxidative Stress in the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus


The response of blue crabs to elevated copper concentrations as measured in levels of lipofuscin in multiple tissues and oxidative stress was measured. Blue crabs were exposed to elevated (200 ppb) levels of copper with animals sacrificed at 0, 7, 16, 36 days for dissection, and lipofuscin levels and oxidative stress analyzed. The purpose of this research was to review the effects of heavy metals on the crabs. This study focused on three tissue types: eye stalks, gill and hepatopancreas. Lipofuscin levels were measured in each, and oxidative stress was analyzed in the gill and hepatopancreas. The results generally showed over time the copper did not cause lipofuscin levels to increase in the eye stalks and gill but effected growth and oxidative stress in the gill and hepatopancreas. The hepatopancreas was the most variable of the tissue types.