Early–life stage white sturgeon are sensitive to copper (Cu), with adverse behavioral responses observed during previous studies. The objectives of the present study were to quantify the effects of Cu exposure on white sturgeon swimming and feeding behaviors and determine their time to response. Larval sturgeon (1–2, 28, or 35 d posthatch [dph]) were exposed to Cu (0.5–8 μg/L) for 4 to 14 d. Abnormal behavioral changes were observed within the first few days of exposure including loss of equilibrium and immobilization. Digital video tracking software revealed decreased swimming activity with increasing Cu concentration. Significant changes in behavior and mortality occurred at concentrations of Cu between 1 and 8 μg/L. Juvenile white sturgeon, 58 dph, exposed to 12 μg/L Cu consumed 37 to 60% less food than controls after 3 d of exposure. The present results indicate that behavioral endpoints were more sensitive than some standard toxicity test endpoints and can effectively expand the sensitivity of standard toxicity tests for white sturgeon. Swimming behavior was impaired to the extent that survival in the field would likely be jeopardized. Such data would provide managers a useful metric for characterizing the risks of Cu contamination to white sturgeon.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Behavioral effects of copper on larval white sturgeon|
|Series title||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|Publisher||Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|Contributing office(s)||Columbia Environmental Research Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|