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Development and reproduction of the freshwater harpacticoid copepod Attheyella crassa for assessing sediment-associated toxicity
Turesson, E.U.; Stiernström, S.; Minten, J.; Adolfsson-Erici, M.; Bengtsson, B.-E.; Breitholtz, M. (2007). Development and reproduction of the freshwater harpacticoid copepod Attheyella crassa for assessing sediment-associated toxicity. Aquat. Toxicol. 83(3): 180-189.
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Bioassays; Environmental risk assessment; Risks; Europe [Marine Regions]; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Turesson, E.U.
  • Stiernström, S.
  • Minten, J.
  • Adolfsson-Erici, M.
  • Bengtsson, B.-E.
  • Breitholtz, M.

    Both freshwater and marine sediments are sinks for many anthropogenic substances. This may pose a risk to benthic and epibenthic organisms and it is crucial that toxicity tests that are available for environmental risk assessment can identify potentially adverse effects of sediment-associated substances on benthic organisms, such as harpacticoid copepods. While marine harpacticoids have been protected via a number of acute and chronic sediment tests, the freshwater harpacticoid copepod community has so far been neglected in such activities. The main aim of the present study was therefore to (a) find a suitable freshwater harpacticoid copepod, (b) establish robust laboratory mass cultures and (c) develop a chronic test for assessment of sediment-associated toxicity using spiked sediments. After several cultivation trials with a number of potential test species, the choice fell on the benthic freshwater harpacticoid copepod Attheyella crassa, a species that possesses many of the characteristic features identified as prerequisites for toxicity test organisms, e.g. it has a sexual reproduction, it is relatively easy to grow and keep in mass cultures in the laboratory, and it has a small body size. Owing to the relatively long generation time of freshwater harpacticoids (in relation to many marine harpacticoids), it was decided that the test should be separated into a development part (21 days) and a reproduction part (14 days) running in parallel. As a reference substance we used the fungicide tebuconazole, which is currently subject to risk assessment and which partitions to soil and sediment. Clear concentration-related responses were observed for all endpoints analyzed. Nauplia body length was the most sensitive endpoint with a measured time weighted LOECwater of 20 µg/L. The corresponding LOECwater for larval mortality and offspring production was 65 and 62 µg/L, respectively. In conclusion, A. crassa is an ecologically relevant test species for freshwater ecosystems and particularly for the cold, oligotrophic and often acidic lakes of Northern Europe. Regardless of the relatively long generation time of this species, our results clearly show that sediment-associated toxicity related to development and sexual reproduction can be assessed within 2-3 weeks exposure with the developed bioassay.

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