Acute and chronic sensitivity of white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to cadmium, copper, lead, or zinc in laboratory water-only exposures

Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5204
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Teck American, Inc.
By: , and 

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Abstract

White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) are experiencing poor recruitment in the trans boundary reach of the upper Columbia River in eastern Washington State. Limited toxicity data indicated that early life stages of white sturgeon are sensitive to metals. In acute 4-day (d) exposures with larval white sturgeon, previous studies have reported that the 4-day median lethal concentrations (LC50) based on biotic ligand model (BLM) normalization for copper were below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency national recommended acute water-quality criterion. In previously published chronic 66-d exposures starting with newly fertilized eggs of white sturgeon, 20-percent lethal effect concentrations (LC20s) for copper, cadmium, or zinc generally were within a factor of two of the chronic values of the most sensitive fish species in the databases of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality criteria (WQC) for the three metals. However, there were some uncertainties in the chronic exposures previously performed with white sturgeon, including (1) low control survival (37 percent), (2) more control fish tested in each replicate compared to other treatments, (3) limited replication of treatments (n=2), (4) lack of reported growth data (such as dry weight), and (5) wide dilution factors for exposure concentrations (6- to 8-fold dilutions). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that additional studies are needed to generate more toxicity data to better define lethal and sublethal toxicity thresholds for metals for white sturgeon.


The objective of the study was to further evaluate the acute and chronic toxicity of cadmium, copper, lead, or zinc to early life stages of white sturgeon in water-only exposures. Toxicity tests also were performed with commonly tested rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) under similar test conditions to determine the relative sensitivity between white sturgeon and rainbow trout to these metals. Toxicity data generated from this study were used to evaluate the sensitivity of early life stages of white sturgeon and rainbow trout relative to data published for other test organisms. Toxicity data generated from this study also were used to evaluate the level of protection of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WQC or Washington State water-quality standards (WQS) for copper, zinc, cadmium, or lead to white sturgeon inhabiting the upper Columbia River.


Chapter A of this report summarizes the results of acute toxicity tests performed for 4 d with white sturgeon and rainbow trout exposed to copper, cadmium, or zinc. Chapter B of this report summarizes the results of chronic toxicity tests performed for as many as 53 days with white sturgeon or rainbow trout exposed to copper, cadmium, zinc, or lead. Appendixes to the report are available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2013/5204. Supporting documentation for chapter A toxicity testing is provided in appendix 1. Supporting documentation for chapter B toxicity testing is provided in Appendix 2. Supporting documentation on analysis of water chemistry for chapter A and chapter B is provided in appendix 3 and 4. The rationale for applying corrections to measured copper and zinc values in water samples from some of the toxicity tests performed in chapter A is provided in appendix 5. A summary of dissolved organic carbon measurement variability and implications for biotic ligand model normalization for toxicity data summarized in chapter A and chapter B are provided in appendix 6. An evaluation of an interlaboratory comparison of analyses for dissolved organic carbon in water from the U.S. Geological Survey Columbia Environmental Research Center and University of Saskatchewan is provided in appendix 7. Finally, appendix 8 provides a summary of retesting of white sturgeon in 2012 to determine if improved survival of sturgeon would affect copper effect concentrations in 24-d copper exposures started with newly hatched larvae, and to evaluate the effect of light intensity or temperature on the response of newly hatched larvae during a 25-d study.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Acute and chronic sensitivity of white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to cadmium, copper, lead, or zinc in laboratory water-only exposures
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2013-5204
DOI 10.3133/sir20135204
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description Report: viii, 76 p.; Downloads Directory
Online Only (Y/N) Y