We selected four metrics of swimming behavior (distance swam, speed, rate of turning, and tortuosity of path) and the commonly used biochemical marker, brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity, to assess (1) the sensitivity and reliability of behavior as a potential biomarker in monitoring work, (2) the potential for these endpoints to be used in automated monitoring, and (3) the linkage between behavior and its underlying biochemistry. Malathion-exposed fish exhibited large decreases in distance and speed and swam in a more linear path than control fish after 24 h exposure. By 96 h exposure, fish still swam slower and traveled less distance; fish fully recovered after 48 h in clean water. Diazinon-exposed fish exhibited decreases in distance, speed, and turning rate compared to controls. After 48 h recovery in clean water, fish exposed to diazinon had not recovered to control levels. The behavioral responses provided measures of neurotoxicity that were easily quantifiable by automated means, implying that the inclusion of behavior in monitoring programs can be successful. Furthermore, correlations between behavior and biochemical endpoints, such as ChE inhibition, suggest that this approach can provide a meaningful link between biochemistry and behavior and can provide useful information on toxicant impacts.
Additional publication details
Behavioral dysfunctions correlate to altered physiology in rainbow trout (Oncorynchus mykiss) exposed to cholinesterase-inhibiting chemicals
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology