Scanning Electron Microscopy


Statolith formation in Cnidaria was reviewed with an emphasis on Aurelia statoliths. The review provides information on the chemical composition, mechanisms of initiation of mineralization, and effects of environmental factors on Cnidarian statolith formation. Environmental factors discussed include modified sea water ingredients, X-irradiation, clinostat rotation, and petroleum oil ingredients. A detailed account of the effects of cadmium on mineralization and demineralization of Aurelia statoliths is given. Cadmium at dosages of 2 to 4 μM significantly reduces statolith numbers in developing ephyrae. At a dosage of 3 μM, cadmium accelerates statolith loss in unfed ephyrae studied at 4 and 8 days following ephyra release from strobilae. Cadmium, therefore, is shown to reduce statolith numbers in developing ephyrae and to cause greater reduction of statolith numbers in unfed ephyrae after 4 and 8 days than occurred in controls. Supplementation of Cd2+-containing artificial sea water (ASW) with calcium (3X and 5X ASW calcium content) results in higher numbers of statoliths at day 4 as compared with cadmium-treated ephyrae. At 8 days only the 5X calcium supplemented ASW Js effective in enhancing statolith numbers in Cd2+-treated ephyrae. These results suggest that cadmium competes in some manner with calcium at the mineralizing sites of Aurelia.

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