A Comparison of the Daphnids Ceriodaphnia dubia and Daphnia ambigua for Their Utilization in Routine Toxicity Testing in the Southeastern United States

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U.S. regulatory agencies commonly require effluent toxicity testing with Ceriodaphnia dubia—a practice that has led to the criticism that this species and test protocol often does not reflect local taxa or site-specific conditions. Using an indigenous test species may produce a more realistic model of local effects and may minimize test endpoint variance due to regional differences in water quality. This study addressed the substitution of C. dubia with Daphnia ambigua for toxicity testing in the southeastern United States. This investigation determined that D. ambigua could be laboratory cultured with only minimal changes to established regulatory protocol and that the life-cycle characteristics of this species were conducive to traditional acute and chronic aquatic toxicity test methods used with other daphnids. Acute toxicity tests showed that D. ambigua was less sensitive to some toxicants (sodium chloride, copper sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate) but more sensitive to others (chlorpyrifos). Chronic tests with copper sulfate and sodium chloride resulted in lower EC50s for D. ambigua reproduction with both compounds. When exposed to low-alkalinity, low-pH stream waters typical of many southeastern United States watersheds, C. dubia demonstrated a significant reproductive depression in two of three streams tested, whereas D. ambigua experienced no chronic effect. These results suggest that D. ambigua may serve as a suitable surrogate for C. dubia as an toxicity indicator species in these types of receiving streams.

Received: 2 June 2002/Accepted: 24 January 2003