Date: 26 Jan 2010

The Effects of Salinity, pH, and Dissolved Organic Matter on Acute Copper Toxicity to the Rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis (“L” Strain)

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This paper presents data from original research for use in the development of a marine biotic ligand model and, ultimately, copper criteria for the protection of estuarine and marine organisms and their uses. Ten 48-h static acute (unfed) copper toxicity tests using the euryhaline rotifer Brachionus plicatilis (“L” strain) were performed to assess the effects of salinity, pH, and dissolved organic matter (measured as dissolved organic carbon; DOC) on median lethal dissolved copper concentrations (LC50). Reconstituted and natural saltwater samples were tested at seven salinities (6, 11, 13, 15, 20, 24, and 29 g/L), over a pH range of 6.8–8.6 and a range of dissolved organic carbon of <0.5–4.1 mg C/L. Water chemistry analyses (alkalinity, calcium, chloride, DOC, hardness, magnesium, potassium, sodium, salinity, and temperature) are presented for input parameters to the biotic ligand model. In stepwise multiple regression analysis of experimental results where salinity, pH, and DOC concentrations varied, copper toxicity was significantly related only to the dissolved organic matter content (pH and salinity not statistically retained; α = 0.05). The relationship of the 48-h dissolved copper LC50 values and dissolved organic carbon concentrations was LC50 (μg Cu/L) = 27.1 × DOC (mg C/L)1.25; r 2 = 0.94.