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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 329 - Feature article
Helicopters apply the insecticide carbaryl to estuaries that provide summer foraging habitat for cutthroat trout. Photos: Si Simenstad (estuary); Brad E. Johns, US Fish and Wildlife Service (helicopter)

Labenia JS, Baldwin DH, French BL, Davis JW, Scholz NL


Behavioral impairment and increased predation mortality in cutthroat trout exposed to carbaryl


Pollution has subtle but important influences on the health of marine species. A longstanding conservation challenge has been to link toxicological responses from the molecular level to the structure of populations and communities. Labenia and co-authors focus on cutthroat trout and the effects of carbaryl, a neurotoxic insecticide that is sprayed on estuarine tidelands to control burrowing shrimp on oyster beds in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Using biochemical, neurophysiological, and behavioral approaches, the authors found that trout are unable to detect or avoid carbaryl in seawater, and that short-term exposure alters brain chemistry, reduces swimming performance and increases predation mortality. The study shows that integrative approaches to behavioral ecology can help overcome problems of scale in marine ecotoxicology.


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