Studies by Russian scientists have documented significant alterations and impairment of critical behavioral functions in aquatic organisms following exposure to environmental contaminants. Behavioral responses disrupted by sublethal exposure to toxicants are intimately involved in habitat selection, foraging, competition, predator-prey relationships, and reproduction, and are essential to survival. Behavioral responses of benthic invertebrates have received considerable study in Russia. A range of invertebrate taxa have been studied, including leeches, insects, molluscs, plankton, and crustaceans. In addition, aquatic invertebrates exhibit a large number of behavioral responses which are sensitive to contaminant exposure and are easily quantified. Standardized behavioral methodologies for measuring contaminant effects are being developed.
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