Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



To evaluate the risks of metal mixture effects to natural stream communities under ecologically relevant conditions, the authors conducted 30-d tests with benthic macroinvertebrates exposed to cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in experimental streams. The simultaneous exposures were with Cd and Zn singly and with Cd+Zn mixtures at environmentally relevant ratios. The tests produced concentration–response patterns that for individual taxa were interpreted in the same manner as classic single-species toxicity tests and for community metrics such as taxa richness and mayfly (Ephemeroptera) abundance were interpreted in the same manner as with stream survey data. Effect concentrations from the experimental stream exposures were usually 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than those from classic single-species tests. Relative to a response addition model, which assumes that the joint toxicity of the mixtures can be predicted from the product of their responses to individual toxicants, the Cd+Zn mixtures generally showed slightly less than additive toxicity. The authors applied a modeling approach called Tox to explore the mixture toxicity results and to relate the experimental stream results to field data. The approach predicts the accumulation of toxicants (hydrogen, Cd, and Zn) on organisms using a 2-pKa bidentate model that defines interactions between dissolved cations and biological receptors (biotic ligands) and relates that accumulation through a logistic equation to biological response. The Tox modeling was able to predict Cd+Zn mixture responses from the single-metal exposures as well as responses from field data. The similarity of response patterns between the 30-d experimental stream tests and field data supports the environmental relevance of testing aquatic insects in experimental streams.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.3599
Volume 36
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 749
Last page 762
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