An acute (96 h) pore-water toxicity test protocol using germination and growth of Ulva fasciata zoospores as endpoints was developed to test the toxicity of marine and estuarine sediment pore-water samples. Tests with an organic toxicant (sodium dodecyl sulfate; SDS), three metals (Cd, Cu, and Zn), and ammonia (NH3) were conducted to determine zoospore sensitivity. Zoospore germination and gametophyte growth were as sensitive to SDS as sea urchin (Arbacia punctulata) fertilization and embryological development. Zoospore sensitivity to metals was greater than or comparable to that of adult macroalgae. Zoospores were less sensitive to NH3 than were other commonly used toxicity test organisms. Test results using this algal assay with sediment pore-water samples with high NH3 concentrations were compared with results from sea urchin fertilization and embryological development tests for the same samples. Ulva fasciata zoospore germination was not affected by samples with high NH3 concentrations that were toxic in both sea urchin tests. Zoospore tolerance of NH3 and sensitivity to other contaminants indicate that their response may be useful in toxicity identification evaluation studies with pore-water samples that contain high concentrations of unionized NH3.
Additional publication details
Development and application of a marine sediment pore-water toxicity test using Ulva fasciata zoospores