STP707: A Laboratory Test for Assessing Impacts of Substances on Developing Communities of Benthic Estuarine Organisms

    Hansen, DJ
    Research aquatic biologists, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory, Gulf Breeze, Fla.

    Tagatz, ME
    Research aquatic biologists, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory, Gulf Breeze, Fla.

    Pages: 18    Published: Jan 1980


    Abstract

    The effect of substances on the development of estuarine communities was assessed by comparing the numbers, species, and phyla of benthic animals that grew from planktonic larvae in an uncontaminated apparatus and in three identical apparatuses continuously contaminated (each with a different concentration) for 2 to 4 months. Each apparatus was separated into ten sand-filled compartments (40 total) and received a continuous flow of seawater containing natural plankton. We conducted six experiments, using Aroclor 1254, toxaphene, pentachlorophenol, Dowicide G-ST, barite, and a lignosulfonate drilling mud.

    The communities that developed during each test were diverse, averaging more than 4000 individuals, 50 species, and 7 phyla. Comparison of the results of these tests with results of acute and chronic exposures of single species demonstrates that: (a) the test can be as sensitive or more sensitive than chronic exposures of single species because the often more sensitive early developmental stages are exposed; and (b) the species typically impacted are representatives of phyla that are also sensitive in single-species tests. Also, the test may identify sensitive species not normally tested, thereby helping us to select species for additional toxicity tests. The test can also assess impacts of substances that affect community structure by physically altering the substrate.

    Keywords:

    aquatic toxicology, toxicity, community structure, benthos, Aroclor 1254, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), toxaphene, pentachlorophenol (PCP), Dowicide G-ST, barite, drilling mud


    Paper ID: STP27408S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.14

    DOI: 10.1520/STP27408S


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