Reproductive Endocrine Disruption in a Sentinel Species (Chrysemys picta) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Freshwater turtles (Chrysemys picta) were collected from two sites on Cape Cod, MA. One site (Moody Pond), adjacent to the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR), was considered potentially impacted by toxic agents deriving from contaminant point sources on the MMR. The second (reference) site (Washburn Pond), to the east of the MMR, was considered not impacted by these pollutants and was chosen as a control site. Plasma estradiol 17 and vitellogenin were significantly lower in female turtles from Moody Pond. Ovarian follicular analysis indicated a significant decrease in the >16.00-mm follicular cohort in Moody Pond female turtles compared with Washburn Pond animals. Although testicular weight was lower at the Moody Pond site, histology, plasma testosterone, and sperm number were similar to these parameters in Washburn Pond animals. The data suggest that in Moody Pond, the reproductive capacity of turtles may be negatively affected by contaminants from the MMR.