The use of indigenous macroinvertebrates and Daphnia pulex in acute toxicity testing

Everitt, Victoria Jane (2000) The use of indigenous macroinvertebrates and Daphnia pulex in acute toxicity testing. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Aquatic toxicology has been identified as a valuable tool in the identification and management of chemical pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Standardised methodologies for acute aquatic bioassays have been adopted from international agencies. As a result of these standard methods, the use of laboratory cultured organisms for toxicity testing has been more popular than that of indigenous field-caught organisms. Included in these adopted methods are those for the cultured crustacean Daphnia pUlex. D.pulex is adapted to living in standing water and the suitability of this species to determine toxic effects for South African riverine environments, which are largely flowing, has been questioned. Thus this thesis is a case-study ofthe use of D.pulex and indigenous site-specific macroinvertebrates as toxicity test organisms for setting acute water quality guidelines to protect aquatic ecosystems. The study highlights site-specific problems such as reference sites and organism identification. The acute tolerance of selected indigenous invertebrates was compared to that of D. pulex, using both a single-substance reference toxicant (zinc) and selected whole efiluents. The significance of source population and culture age as a potential source of biological variability between D.pulex cultures was also investigated. D.pulex cultures have been initiated in South Africa from females collected from a number of different local populations; also it is assumed that no genetic change (due to mutation) occurs within a D.pulex culture over time. In order to establish if source population and culture age are a source of biological variability between D.pulex experiments, the acute tolerJuce to zinc of two different D.pulex populations and three different generations within a population were compared. Due to experimental variability results were inconclusive, and differences in tolerance as a result of population difference or culture age could not be determined with confidence. The acute tolerance of D.pulex to a single reference chemical (zinc) and selected whole efiluents was compared to that of selected indigenous invertebrates. Acute 48 h D.pulex zinc tolerance (LC50 range: 0.22 - 0.60 mg/l Zn) was found to be more sensitive than acute 96 h tolerances shown by mayfly species A.fconurus peringueyi (Heptageniidae) (LC50: 17.42 mg/l Zn), Euthrauluselegans (Leptophlebiidae) (LC50: 0.98 mg/IZn), Ba~tidae (LC50: 0.94mg/IZn) and shrimp, Caradina nilotica (Atyidae) (LC50: 3.17 mg/l Zn). This result suggests that guidelines for zinc set using D.pulex will protect the selected indigenous invertebrates. Selected whole eftluents were not acutely toxic to either D.pulex or selected indigenous invertebrates. These experiments were used as a case study for method development regarding the comparative use of D.pulex and indigenous invertebrates in acute whole eftluent toxicity testing. Finally, it is recommended that a suite of indigenous organisms (e.g. macroinvertebrates, fish and algae), as well as laboratory cultured D.pulex, be used in the initial setting of guidelines and that D.pulex be used for routine compliance monitoring. It is futher recommended that a suite of available monitoring methods, such as chemical and biomonitoring methodologies, be used in conjuction with toxicity testing in water quality management.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Daphnia pulex, Toxicity testing, Water quality, Pollution
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Invertebrates
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:2442
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:03 Feb 2012 13:52
Last Modified:03 Feb 2012 13:52
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