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Free Content Fluctuating asymmetry and intersexuality in the shore crab Grapsus albolineatus near a coastal landfill site in northern Taiwan

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Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is defined as small, random deviation from perfect bilateral symmetry of morphological trait and an increase of FA is proposed to be caused by genetic and environmental stress. In this study, measures of FA in the shore crab, Grapsus albolineatus, were used to investigate the impact of a municipal landfill on the surrounding coastal area of northern Taiwan based on a hypothesis that poor environmental conditions can increase degrees of FA. The majority of leg segments examined showed higher mean FA levels in crabs collected from Pa-Dor-Tze than those from either of the control sites. There were significant increases in FA levels in eleven of sixteen leg segments in crabs collected from Pa-Dor-Tze compared to those from Wai-Mon-San, and four of sixteen leg segments in crabs collected from Pa-Dor-Tze compared to those from Red-Ben. Furthermore, there were significant increases in eight of nine composite FA indexes in crabs collected from Pa-Dor–Tze compared to those from Wai-Mon-San and Red-Ben. On the other hand, there was no difference in any composite FA indexes in crabs collected from Wai-Mon-San and Red-Ben. The results of this study support that combining FA information across different characters is a much more reliable tool for detecting differences than analyzing FA in single character. There were larger average carapace widths in crabs collected from Pa-Dor-Tze and Wai-Mon-San compared to those from Red-Ben. The results of this study show significantly increased FA levels of crabs living in the coastal area of Pa-Dor-Tze, immediately adjacent to the landfill, and also provide a support for the use of FA in invertebrate populations as an early warning system to detect the presence of environmental stress.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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