Genetic diversity and resistance to marine pollution

E. Nevo, R. Noy, B. Lavie, A. Beiles, S. Muchtar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested in the laboratory three pairs of species belonging to three genera and families of marine gastropods, Monodonta turbinata, M. turbiformis (Trochidae), Littorina punctata, L. neritoides (Littorinidae), Cerithium scabridum, C. rupestre (Cerithiidae), for resistance to diverse inorganic (heavy metals and NaC1) and organic (detergents and crude oil) pollutants. Each pair consisted of one narrow‐niche species with low genetic diversity and one broad‐niche species with higher genetic diversity. Evidence is presented that in all three cases the species with a higher level of genetic diversity was more resistant to all pollutants than its counterpart. These results suggest that fitness is positively correlated with heterozygosity and support the niche‐width‐variation hypothesis in regard to pollutants. The results also have practical implications for the identification of optimum marine species as genetic monitors of pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1986


  • Heterozygosity
  • fitness
  • genetic monitoring of pollution
  • marine gastropods
  • niche‐width
  • selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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