Biomarkers, which can detect changes at the biochemical level, have been used for many years as early warning tools in environmental monitoring. In order to distinguish between natural variability and the potential effects of anthropogenic pollution, it is essential to identify background levels and establish the potential influence of abiotic (season, temperature and salinity) and biotic (gametogenesis) factors. In this study, we examined various biomarkers of stress (glutathione S-transferase (GST)), reproduction (vitellin-like proteins) and damage (lipid peroxidation (LPO) and DNA damage (DNA)) in marine mussels (Mytilus spp.) from a known pristine hybrid zone. Levels of all biomarker expression varied between seasons and appeared to be linked to the reproductive cycle. Oxidative stress in winter, with low GST expression and a higher expression of LPO and DNA damage displayed could be explained by low food availability. These data provide vital baseline information for future ecotoxicological and environmental monitoring studies.
- Mytilus spp.
- Biomarker response