, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 871–879 | Cite as

The toxicity of the three antifouling biocides DCOIT, TPBP and medetomidine to the marine pelagic copepod Acartia tonsa

  • Ida Wendt
  • Thomas Backhaus
  • Hans Blanck
  • Åsa ArrheniusEmail author


Copepods, the largest group of pelagic grazers, are at risk from exposure to antifouling biocides. This study investigated the toxicity of the antifouling biocides 4,5-dichloro-2-octyl-1,2-thiazol-3(2H)-one (DCOIT), triphenylborane pyridine (TPBP) and 4-[1-(2,3-dimethylphenyl)ethyl]-1H-imidazole (medetomidine) to the copepod Acartia tonsa, using mortality and egg production as endpoints. The toxicity ranking for mortality was as follows: DCOIT (LC50 57 nmol l−1) = TPBP (LC50 56 nmol l−1) > medetomidine (LC50 241 nmol l−1). Egg production was more sensitive than mortality to TPBP (EC50 3.2 nmol l−1), while DCOIT and medetomidine inhibited egg production at roughly the same concentrations (72 and 186 nmol l−1 respectively). Furthermore, TPBP seems to affect egg hatching directly which was not the case for DCOIT and medetomidine. DCOIT and medetomidine might pose an environmental risk as they have been reported to occur in different exposure scenarios or analytical surveys at concentrations only 2–3 times lower than the respective EC10. Reported environmental concentrations of TPBP are few but clearly lower than the EC10 values reported here, suggesting current risk of TPBP to copepods to be moderate.


Antifoulant Endpoint sensitivity Lethality Egg production and hatching Sublethal effects Zooplankton 



The study was funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, MISTRA, through the research program Marine Paint, and also by the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg. We thank Rohm and Haas Company (presently Dow Chemicals) and I-tech for providing biocides for testing. The companies were not involved in the actual work, the interpretation of the results or the writing of this paper. We gratefully acknowledge Erik Norin for his work on the lethality tests and the staff at Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences Kristineberg for their assistance and provision of excellent working conditions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors are co-owners of Marine Biofouling Research in Göteborg (MBRiG).

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ida Wendt
    • 1
  • Thomas Backhaus
    • 2
  • Hans Blanck
    • 2
  • Åsa Arrhenius
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Swedish Institute for the Marine EnvironmentGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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