The amphipod Orchomenella pinguis - A potential bioindicator for contamination in the Arctic

Lis Bach, Valery E. Forbes, Ingela Dahllöf

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13 Scopus citations


Indigenous organisms can be used as bioindicators for effects of contaminants, but no such bioindicator has been established for Arctic areas. Orchomenella pinguis is a benthic amphipod, ubiquitous in the Arctic and can be found in high numbers. We collected O. pinguis at sites with different contamination levels. Population characteristics (body length distribution, average dry weight and amphipod organic content) were related to sediment contaminant concentrations, in order to identify suitable endpoints for using this species as a bioindicator. We show that O. pinguis was prevalent in both clean and contaminated areas, easy to sample and that its population characteristics could be linked to both contamination and sediment organic content. We suggest that O. pinguis is a suitable bioindicator for the Arctic, but that endpoints such as reproductive effects and phenotypic and genotypic responses are needed together with population characteristics to assess impacts of contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1664-1670
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by a fellowship from GESS Graduate School, Julie von Müllens Funding and Fabrikat P.A. Fiskers Funding.


  • Benthic amphipod
  • Contaminated sediment
  • Field study
  • Greenland
  • Multivariate statistics


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