Larval development ratio test with the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa as a new bioassay to assess marine sediment quality.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2018 Mar; 149:1-9.EE
The copepod Acartia tonsa was used as a model species to assess marine sediment quality. Acute and chronic bioassays, such as larval development ratio (LDR) and different end-points were evaluated. As a pelagic species, A. tonsa is mainly exposed to water-soluble toxicants and bioassays are commonly performed in seawater. However, an interaction among A. tonsa eggs and the first larval stages with marine sediments might occur in shallow water environments. Here we tested two different LDR protocols by incubating A. tonsa eggs in elutriates and sediments coming from two areas located in Tuscany Region (Central Italy): Livorno harbour and Viareggio coast. The end-points analyzed were larval mortality (LM) and development inhibition (DI) expressed as the percentage of copepods that completed the metamorphosis from nauplius to copepodite. Aims of this study were: i) to verify the suitability of A. tonsa copepod for the bioassay with sediment and ii) to compare the sensitivity of A. tonsa exposed to different matrices, such as water and sediment. A preliminary acute test was also performed. Acute tests showed the highest toxicity of Livorno's samples (two out of three) compared to Viareggio samples, for which no effect was observed. On the contrary, LDR tests with sediments and elutriates revealed some toxic effects also for Viareggio's samples. Results were discussed with regards to the chemical characterization of the samples. Our results indicated that different end-points were affected in A. tonsa, depending on the matrices to which the copepods were exposed and on the test used. Bioassays with elutriates and sediments are suggested and LDR test could help decision-makers to identify a more appropriate management of dredging materials.