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Discharges from chemical and petrochemical manufacturing facilities have contaminated portions of Louisiana's Calcasieu River estuary with a variety of organic and inorganic contaminants. As part of a special study, sediment toxicity testing was conducted to assess potential impact to the benthic community. Ten-day flow-through sediment toxicity tests with the amphipod Ampelisca abdita revealed significant toxicity at 68% (26 of 38) of the stations tested. A. abdita mortality was highest in the effluent-dominated bayous, which are tributaries to the Calcasieu River. Mortality was correlated with total heavy metal and total organic compound concentrations in the sediments. Ancillary experiments showed that sediment interstitial water salinity as low as 2.5 o/o-o did not significantly affect A. abdita's, response in the flow-through system; sediment storage for 7 weeks at 4??C did not significantly affect toxicity. Sediment toxicity to A. abdita was more prevalent than receiving water toxicity using three short-term chronic bioassays. Results suggest that toxicity testing using this amphipod is a valuable tool when assessing sediments containing complex contaminant mixtures and for assessing effects of pollutant loading over time. In conjunction with chemical analyses, the testing indicated that the effluent-dominated, brackish bayous (Bayou d'Inde and Bayou Verdine) were the portions of the estuary most impacted by toxicity.
Additional Publication Details
Sediment toxicity testing with the amphipod Ampelisca abdita in Calcasieu Estuary, Louisiana
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology