EPA Science Inventory

An inexpensive, temporally-integrated system for monitoring occurrence and biological effects of aquatic contaminants in the field

Citation:

Kahl, M., D. Villeneuve, K. Stevens, A. Schroeder, L. Makynen, C. LaLone, K. Jensen, M. Severson, B. Holmen, E. Eid, E. Durhan, J. Cavallin, J. Berninger, AND G. Ankley. An inexpensive, temporally-integrated system for monitoring occurrence and biological effects of aquatic contaminants in the field. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, 33(7):1584-1595, (2014).

Description:

Assessment of potential ecological risks of complex contaminant mixtures in the environment requires integrated chemical and biological approaches. Instrumental analysis of environmental samples alone can identify contaminants, but provides only limited insights as to possible adverse effects, due to factors such as the presence of unknown/unmeasured chemicals, mixture interactions, and uncertainties in bioavailability. As a consequence, it is necessary to complement analytical determinations of the occurrence of contaminants with different measures of possible biological effects. Our laboratory currently is conducting studies, associated with the US Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, to develop effects-based methods for assessing possible risks of aquatic contaminants in near-shore Great Lakes sites, including Areas of Concern (AOCs). A component of this work involves caged fish (fathead minnow; Pimephales promelas) exposures. Previous caging studies with the fathead minnow have used a wide variety of test systems, depending on variables such as study objectives, water body characteristics, available materials, etc. Our objective, therefore, was to develop a relatively standardized test system suitable for the wide range of habitat/deployment situations encountered at Great Lakes. To complement the fish exposure system, we also sought to develop an automated device for collection of composite water samples which could be simultaneously deployed with the cages, and would reflect a temporally-integrated exposure of the animals. The water samples could be used for targeted analysis of specific chemicals of interest, and/or determination of biological “activities” of concern (e.g., estrogenicity) using in vitro systems. This paper describes methodological details concerning the design, construction, and deployment of a flexible yet comparatively inexpensive (<600 USD) caged-fish/auto-sampler system. To demonstrate utility and performance of the system we also present illustrative biological and chemical data from deployments at several Great Lakes AOCs.

Purpose/Objective:

Assessment of potential ecological risks of complex contaminant mixtures in the environment requires integrated chemical and biological approaches. Instrumental analysis of environmental samples alone can identify contaminants, but provides only limited insights as to possible adverse effects, due to factors such as the presence of unknown/unmeasured chemicals, mixture interactions, and uncertainties in bioavailability. As a consequence, it is necessary to complement analytical determinations of the occurrence of contaminants with different measures of possible biological effects. Our laboratory currently is conducting studies, associated with the US Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, to develop effects-based methods for assessing possible risks of aquatic contaminants in near-shore Great Lakes sites, including Areas of Concern (AOCs). A component of this work involves caged fish (fathead minnow; Pimephales promelas) exposures. Previous caging studies with the fathead minnow have used a wide variety of test systems, depending on variables such as study objectives, water body characteristics, available materials, etc. Our objective, therefore, was to develop a relatively standardized test system suitable for the wide range of habitat/deployment situations encountered at Great Lakes. To complement the fish exposure system, we also sought to develop an automated device for collection of composite water samples which could be simultaneously deployed with the cages, and would reflect a temporally-integrated exposure of the animals. The water samples could be used for targeted analysis of specific chemicals of interest, and/or determination of biological “activities” of concern (e.g., estrogenicity) using in vitro systems. This paper describes methodological details concerning the design, construction, and deployment of a flexible yet comparatively inexpensive (<600 USD) caged-fish/auto-sampler system. To demonstrate utility and performance of the system we also present illustrative biological and chemical data from deployments at several Great Lakes AOCs.

URLs/Downloads:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.v33.7/issuetoc   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 07/16/2014
Completion Date: 07/16/2014
Record Last Revised: 04/27/2015
Record Created: 07/16/2014
Record Released: 07/16/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 281253

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

MID-CONTINENT ECOLOGY DIVISION