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The effects of acute and chronic ammonia exposure during early life stages of the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta
Barimo, J.F.; Walsh, P.J. (2005). The effects of acute and chronic ammonia exposure during early life stages of the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta. Aquat. Toxicol. 75(3): 225-237. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2005.08.005
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Ammonia; Ontogeny; Batrachoididae Jordan, 1896 [WoRMS]; Opsanus beta (Goode & Bean, 1880) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Barimo, J.F.
  • Walsh, P.J.

Abstract
    The gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) is unusual among teleosts in that it is facultatively ureotelic and adults and juveniles have a particularly high tolerance to environmental ammonia. Male toadfish brood their offspring in confined nests. It has been hypothesized that the potential accumulation of ammonia in nests from the male and the offspring, coupled with suspected low ammonia tolerance in offspring would provide the selective pressure necessary for excretion of the less toxic urea by adult toadfish. This study examines this so-called ‘nest-fouling’ hypothesis through acute and chronic ammonia toxicity testing on early life stages of O. beta. In addition, nitrogen elimination was examined among embryos, yolk-sac larvae and juveniles where we found an ontogenic shift from ammonotely to ureotely with advancing life history stages. The acute ammonia 96 h LC50 values for embryos and larvae were 63.6 and 5.45 mmol-N l−1 total ammonia (TAmm), respectively. Thus, these early life stages are more tolerant to ammonia than either juveniles or adults and LC50 values are at least 2 orders of magnitude greater than concentrations naturally occurring at nest sites. Furthermore, 40 days exposures at mean and maximum NH3 concentrations normally found within nests revealed no observable detrimental effects. In fact, growth in terms of wet or dry weight was greatest at the maximum NH3 concentration. We therefore conclude that the nest-fouling hypothesis is not a viable explanation for ureotely in the gulf toadfish.

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