A Laboratory Assay to Assess Avoidance of Contaminated Sediments by the Freshwater Oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus
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Responses of benthic organisms to contaminated sediments in the laboratory historically have been assessed as survival, growth, and reproduction. However, these responses do not include behavioral aspects of organisms, which also can influence species distribution and abundance in benthic communities. This study documents avoidance behavior of the freshwater oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus to contaminated sediments in the laboratory, utilizing a chamber specifically built to facilitate the measurement of this response. A number of field-collected sediments from sites with known contamination, several of which exhibited little or no toxicity in standard tests examining growth and/or survival, were evaluated. The oligochaetes exhibited marked avoidance to many of the sediments, indicating the potential utility of this assay in identifying effects of contaminated sediments on benthic community structure.
KeywordsToxicity Community Structure Standard Test Species Distribution Potential Utility
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