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Laboratory determinations of maximum acceptable toxicant concentrations (MATC) for fish are currently derived from long-term chronic toxicity tests. Recent evidence suggests that toxicant levels near the MATC will induce measurable changes in fish ventilatory patterns in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, most ventilatory data are analyzed manually; this greatly limits the amount of data that can be analyzed. A computerized system is described that records and analyzes ventilatory data from the bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). A total of 1174 min of data was gathered from 22 acclimated fish that had not been exposed to toxicants. The computer-analyzed results were 0.7 percent below the opercular rate values and 39.0 percent below the coughing rate values determined by visual examination of the same ventilatory patterns. Whole-body movements of the fish, which can mask the ventilatory patterns, were present in only 0.4 percent of the data. The computer detected 25 percent less movement than was seen visually. The potential for using this system in a toxicant screening test with bluegills and other fish is discussed.
aquatic toxicology, fish, Lepomis macrochirus, automation, monitors
van der Schalie, WH
National Research Council Resident Research Associate, U.S. Army Medical Bioengineering Research and Development Laboratory, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.