Assessing Contaminant Sensitivity of Endangered and Threatened Aquatic Species: Part III. Effluent Toxicity Tests pp
Toxicity tests using standard effluent test procedures described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were conducted with Ceriodaphnia dubia, fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), and seven threatened and endangered (listed) fish species from four families: (1) Acipenseridae: shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), (2) Catostomidae, razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), (3) Cyprinidae: bonytail chub (Gila elegans), Cape Fear shiner (Notropis mekistocholas) Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), and spotfin chub (Cyprinella monacha), and (4) Poecillidae: Gila topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis). We conducted 7-day survival and growth studies with embryo-larval fathead minnows and analogous exposures using the listed species. Survival and reproduction were also determined with C. dubia. Tests were conducted with carbaryl, ammonia—or a simulated effluent complex mixture of carbaryl, copper, 4-nonylphenol, pentachlorophenol and permethrin at equitoxic proportions. In addition, Cape Fear shiners and spotfin chub were tested using diazinon, copper, and chlorine. Toxicity tests were also conducted with field-collected effluents from domestic or industrial facilities. Bonytail chub and razorback suckers were tested with effluents collected in Arizona whereas effluent samples collected from North Carolina were tested with Cape Fear shiner, spotfin chub, and shortnose sturgeon. The fathead minnow 7-day effluent test was often a reliable estimator of toxic effects to the listed fishes. However, in 21 % of the tests, a listed species was more sensitive than fathead minnows. More sensitive species results varied by test so that usually no species was always more or less sensitive than fathead minnows. Only the Gila topminnow was consistently less sensitive than the fathead minnow. Listed fish species were protected 96% of the time when results for both fathead minnows and C. dubia were considered, thus reinforcing the value of standard whole-effluent toxicity tests using those two species. If the responses of specific listed species are important for management decisions, our study supports the value in developing culture and testing procedures for those species.