Exposure Duration and Composition are Important Variables to Predict Short-Term Toxicity of Effluents to a Tropical Copepod, Acartia Sinjiensis
34 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2021
Predicting the toxicity of effluent exposures, which vary in duration, composition, and concentration, poses a challenge for ecological risk assessments. Effluent discharges may frequently result in the exposure of aquatic organisms to high concentrations of mixed contaminants for short durations. In the receiving environment effluents will undergo dilution and physical or chemical processes that further reduce contaminant concentrations at varying rates. To date, most studies comparing toxicity risks of continuous and pulsed contaminant exposures have focused on individual contaminants. In this study, the toxicity to the tropical euryhaline copepod Acartia sinjiensis from 6- and 18-h pulse and 78-h continuous exposures to two complex effluents was assessed. Observations of larval development success and population size were completed after a 78-h incubation period, to observe for latent effects after pulse exposures. The chemical compositions of the effluents were assessed over time and contaminant-specific declines were observed. These were characterised as either a minimal, steady, or rapid decline. Nauplii tolerated greater effluent concentrations for 6-h compared to 18-h pulses. Based on pulse-exposure concentrations, the 50% effect concentrations (EC50) were similar for continuous and 18-h exposures but up to 3-fold greater (lower toxicity) for the shorter 6-h exposures. Time-weighted average concentrations did not predict toxicity from pulse exposures of the effluents. Concentration-addition toxicity modelling using toxicity data from pulse exposures of single contaminants was useful for predicting the toxicity of chemical mixtures exposed for varying durations. Recommendations for modified approaches to assessing risks of short-term effluent discharges are discussed.
Keywords: mixture toxicity, marine, intermittent, pulse, Metals, hydrocarbons
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