SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

Field Utilization of Clinical Measures for the Assessment of Xenobiotic Stress in Aquatic Organisms


Histological, biochemical, and physiological measures of xenobiotic effects on aquatic organisms have been utilized extensively in laboratory exposures to document toxic effects. In spite of the ability of these measures of stress to integrate the effects of multiple stressors, and their utility to instantaneously assess the “health” of a population, to date few studies have used these methods in situ to document adverse effects of environmental stressors. This is not due to the lack of information on appropriate clinical methods. Sufficient laboratory research has developed clinical measures to the extent that they will be useful in field situations. A portion of the lack of field use of these methods is a lack of understanding of the utility and knowledge in the flexibility of these diagnostic tools. We have prepared a review of the clinical methods and present a rational scheme for the selection and use of these techniques. Examples of the use of these techniques are presented in the form of two case studies. Each case reviews the literature and recommends specific clinical measures which could be used to quantify the population level effects of the stressors involved in the pollution episode. The case studies involve assessment of the effects on aquatic organisms of pollution episodes involving acid rain and heavy metals.

Author Information

Versteeg, DJ
Environmental Safety Department, The Procter and Gamble Co., Ivorydale Technical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Graney, RL
Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI
Giesy, JP
Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 289–306
DOI: 10.1520/STP34047S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5043-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0978-0