Abstract

Data from the sublethal toxicity testing of effluents may or may not be predictive of field effects. Although qualitative studies have attempted to support a predictive relationship at select sites, few quantitative studies have been undertaken to establish whether general predictive relationships exist for diverse recipient environments. Since Canada's Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) Program encompasses a strong field component as well as a suite of sublethal toxicity tests, the Cycle 2 data set of the Pulp and Paper EEM Program presented an opportunity to elucidate whether relationships exist between various sublethal toxicity endpoints used in EEM and field effects that were determined in surveys of benthic invertebrate communities and fish populations. Sublethal toxicity data and key endpoints from the fish (gonad weight, liver weight and condition) and invertebrate surveys (taxon richness and abundance) were quantitatively analyzed using simple bivariate correlation analysis. Our preliminary analysis of the data did not reveal any meaningful general relationships between the field biomonitoring and sublethal toxicity data collected under the Pulp and Paper EEM Program. Although the sublethal toxicity tests are useful to assess changes in effluent quality, their ability to predict the field effects for the key endpoints that are currently measured for fish and benthos in the Pulp and Paper EEM Program remains unsubstantiated.

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