John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Temporal changes in the sensitivity of coastal Antarctic zooplankton communities to diesel fuel: A comparison between single‐ and multi‐species toxicity tests

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Despite increasing human activity and risk of fuel spills in Antarctica, little is known about the impact of fuel on Antarctic marine fauna. The authors performed both single‐ and multi‐species (whole community) acute toxicity tests to assess the sensitivity of an Antarctic coastal zooplankton community to the water‐accommodated fraction of Special Antarctic Blend diesel. Single‐species tests using abundant copepods Oncaea curvata, Oithona similis, and Stephos longipes allowed comparisons of sensitivity of key taxa and of sensitivity estimates obtained from traditional single‐species and more novel multi‐species tests. Special Antarctic Blend diesel caused significant mortality and species compositional change in the zooplankton community within 4 d to 7 d. The sensitivity of the community also increased across the summer sampling period, with decreasing 7‐d median lethal concentration (LC50) values for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH): 1091 µg TPH/L in early January 2011, 353 µg TPH/L in mid January 2011, and 186 µg TPH/L in early February 2011. Copepods showed similar sensitivities to Special Antarctic Blend diesel in single‐species tests (7‐d LC50s: O. curvata, 158 µg TPH/L; O. similis, 176 µg TPH/L; S. longipes, 188 µg TPH/L). The combined use of single‐ and multi‐species toxicity tests is a holistic approach to assessing the sensitivity of key species and the interactions and interdependence between species, enabling a broader understanding of the effects of fuel exposure on the whole zooplankton community. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;9999:1–9. © 2014 SETAC

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