A Comparison of In Situ and Laboratory Toxicity Tests with the Estuarine Amphipod Eohaustorius estuarius
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Amphipod survival in laboratory and in situ exposures was assessed using the eastern Pacific Haustoriid species Eohaustorius estuarius. Toxicity test results were compared using intact (unhomogenized) and homogenized sediment samples in both field and laboratory exposures. Experiments were conducted in Moss Landing Harbor, California, an impaired waterbody under 303 (d) of the US Clean Water Act. Synoptic laboratory and in situ sediment toxicity tests were conducted at two stations: Sandholdt Bridge (SB), the most contaminated station in the harbor, and at the South Jetty (SJ), a more marine station near the mouth of the harbor. We found that Eohaustorius is amenable to in situ testing. Despite highly variable field salinity regimes (6–32 PSU at SB and 21–34 PSU at SJ), in situ control survival was 87% and 84% at SB and SJ, respectively. Amphipod survival was lower in the in situ exposures relative to the laboratory exposures at both sites. Survival at SB was 30% and 76% in the homogenized in situ and laboratory samples, respectively, and 40% and 64% in the intact (unhomogenized) in situ and laboratory samples, respectively. Neither the homogenized or intact samples from the SJ station were toxic in laboratory experiments, but amphipod survival was only 40% in the intact in situ exposure at this station, possibly due to predation. These experiments suggest that the interaction of contaminants and variable physical parameters such as salinity and temperature may have resulted in lower survival in the in situ exposures. Sediment homogenization prior to in situ deployment may have reduced effects of predators in some samples.
KeywordsToxicity Test Laboratory Sample Sediment Toxicity Field Salinity Salinity Regime
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