Chronic perchlorate exposure causes morphological abnormalities in developing stickleback

Richard R. Bernhardt, Frank A. von Hippel, Todd M. O'Hara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the effects of chronic perchlorate exposure during growth and development, and fewer still have analyzed the effects of perchlorate over multiple generations. We describe morphological and developmental characteristics for threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) that were spawned and raised to sexual maturity in perchlorate-treated water (G1,2003) and for their offspring (G2,2004) that were not directly treated with perchlorate. The G1,2003 displayed a variety of abnormalities, including impaired formation of calcified traits, slower growth rates, aberrant sexual development, poor survivorship, and reduced pigmentation that allowed internal organs to be visible. Yet these conditions were absent when the offspring of contaminated fish (G2,2004) were raised in untreated water, suggesting a lack of transgenerational effects and that surviving populations may be able to recover following remediation of perchlorate-contaminated sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1468-1478
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocrine disruption
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Morphology
  • Perchlorate
  • Threespine stickleback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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