Authors: Sfiligoj, Bianca J.; King, Catherine K.; Candy, Steven G.; Mondon, Julie A.
Source: ECOTOXICOLOGY, 24 (3):583-594, APR 2015
Brief summary of the paper: Developing water quality guidelines for Antarctic marine environments requires understanding the sensitivity of local biota to contaminant exposure.
Antarctic invertebrates have shown slower contaminant responses in previous experiments compared to temperate and tropical species in standard toxicity tests. Consequently, test methods which take into account environmental conditions and biological characteristics of cold climate species need to be developed.
This study investigated the effects of five metals on the survival of a common Antarctic amphipod, Orchomenella pinguides. Multiple observations assessing mortality to metal exposure were made over the 30 days exposure period.
Traditional toxicity tests with quantal data sets are analysed using methods such as maximum likelihood regression (probit analysis) and Spearman-Kärber which treat individual time period endpoints independently.
A new statistical model was developed to integrate the time-series concentration-response data obtained in this study. Grouped survival data were modelled using a generalized additive mixed model (GAMM) which incorporates all the data obtained from multiple observation times to derive time integrated point estimates.
The sensitivity of the amphipod, O. pinguides, to metals increased with increasing exposure time. Response times varied for different metals with amphipods responding faster to copper than to cadmium, lead or zinc.
As indicated by 30 days lethal concentration (LC50) estimates, copper was the most toxic metal (31 µg/L), followed by cadmium (168 µg/L), lead (256 µg/L) and zinc (822 µg/L). Nickel exposure (up to 1.12 mg/L) did not affect amphipod survival.
Using longer exposure durations and utilising the GAMM model provides an improved methodology for assessing sensitivities of slow responding Antarctic marine invertebrates to contaminants.