MEPS 191:233-241 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps191233

Scope for growth of the estuarine mysid Neomysis integer (Peracarida: Mysidacea): effects of the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos

S. D. Roast1, J. Widdows2, M. B. Jones1,*

1Plymouth Environmental Research Centre (Department of Biological Sciences), University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, United Kingdom
2Centre for Coastal and Marine Sciences, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, West Hoe, Plymouth, Devon PL1 3DH, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: Mysids (Peracarida: Mysidacea) are standard test organisms used routinely in acute tests to evaluate the comparative toxicity of chemicals to aquatic organisms. The criticism of such lethal measurements for ecosystem monitoring has resulted in a clear need for sub-lethal tests that enable a more comprehensive understanding of the potential impacts of toxicants on natural populations. Neomysis integer, the dominant mysid of the upper reaches of European estuaries, has relatively low 96 h LC50 values for pesticides and trace metals, and is under investigation as a suitable species for monitoring the pollution status of European estuaries. In this paper, the effects of environmentally realistic concentrations of the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos on some basic physiological processes of N. integer are evaluated as potential end points for indicators of environmental pollution. Oxygen consumption, egestion rate (used as a measure of feeding rate) and scope for growth (an integrated measure of the overall physiological status of an organism) were significantly affected by chlorpyrifos exposure. In contrast, absorption efficiency was unaffected by pesticide exposure. Chlorpyrifos effects were most pronounced following short (i.e. 48 h) compared with longer exposure periods (e.g. 168 h). Increased oxygen consumption was the most sensitive toxicity test end point for detecting chlorpyrifos exposure, however, this response may not apply to all toxicants. Reduced scope for growth and egestion rate are considered more representative of the effects of chlorpyrifos on natural mysid populations, but were only affected significantly at near-lethal exposure concentrations. All 3 responses were affected at concentrations lower than those currently acceptable by European Community legislation for potable waters.

KEY WORDS: Neomysis integer · Sub-lethal testing · Chlorpyrifos · Organophosphate pesticide

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