, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 865-870

Can sodium regulation be used to predict the relative acid-sensitivity of various life-stages and different species of aquatic fauna?

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Fishes, Zooplankton, insect larvae, and benthic invertebrates differ in their sensitivity to acidic waters. Some species are able to survive and complete their life-cycle below pH 3.5 while others are eliminated once the pH drops below 5.5. Generally, acid-sensitive fauna are highly water permeable and have difficulty regulating osmotically essential ions, such as sodium and chloride, at low pH. Increased permeability during certain stages of a life-cycle (post-molt crayfish, for example) are often associated with increased acid-sensitivity. Special adaptations, including enlarged anal papillae in Chironomids and the number and morphology of chloride cells in such diverse organisms as crustaceans, insect larvae, and fishes, may enhance acid-tolerance. To test the hypothesis that Na+ regulation can be used to predict relative acid-sensitivity of aquatic fauna we will need a mechanism for standardizing Na+ regulatory capability.