Laboratory toxicity studies and a caged bivalve field study complemented by computer modeling were conducted to investigate the significance of effects on aquatic organisms due to dietary exposure to metals. The lab studies were performed with saltwater and freshwater organisms.
The saltwater studies provided partial support for previous research that showed dietary effects could occur when the food source, a mono-algal culture, was loaded with Ag, Cu, Ni or Zn at dissolved metal concentrations below than the current ambient water quality criteria (WQC). However, in contrast to the earlier studies, continuous 7-day exposures to Ag rather than a 4-hour pulse exposure were required to elicit a response by Acartia tonsa. The effects concentrations were also much higher than in the earlier studies and slightly higher than the proposed chronic water quality criteria (WQC) for Ag. The three other metals were only tested under a continuous-exposure regime and yielded similar test results to Ag, though the dissolved concentrations in which the algae were cultured were below the current chronic saltwater WQC. In the freshwater studies performed with Ceriodaphnia dubia exposed to dietary Cu and Ag, reproductive impairment was not consistent among repeat tests. Variations in reproductive vitality of the C. dubia might have contributed to the variability in adverse responses by the organisms. Questions remain regarding the applicability of the saltwater and freshwater results to field conditions, where mitigating factors such as a more nutritional mixed-algal diet or increased metal complexation capacity could decrease the amount of the bioavailable form of the metals, thereby decreasing exposure and effects.
This title belongs to WERF Research Report Series
ISBN: 9781843397656 (eBook)
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