3 years ago

A comparative experimental approach to ecotoxicology in shallow-water and deep-sea holothurians suggests similar behavioural responses

Exploration of deep-sea mineral resources is burgeoning, raising concerns regarding ecotoxicological impacts on deep-sea fauna. Assessing toxicity in deep-sea species is technologically challenging, which promotes interest in establishing shallow-water ecotoxicological proxy species. However, the effects of temperature and hydrostatic pressure on toxicity, and how adaptation to deep-sea environmental conditions might moderate these effects, are unknown. To address these uncertainties we assessed behavioural and physiological (antioxidant enzyme activity) responses to exposure to copper-spiked artificial sediments in a laboratory experiment using a shallow-water holothurian (Holothuria forskali), and in an in situ experiment using a deep-sea holothurian (Amperima sp.). Both species demonstrated sustained avoidance behaviour, evading contact with contaminated artificial sediment. However, A. sp. demonstrated sustained avoidance of 5mgl−1 copper-contaminated artificial sediment whereas H. forskali demonstrated only temporary avoidance of 5mgl−1 copper-contaminated artificial sediment, suggesting that H. forskali may be more tolerant of metal exposure over 96h. Nonetheless, the acute behavioural response appears consistent between the shallow-water species and the deep-sea species, suggesting that H. forskali may be a suitable ecotoxicological proxy for A. sp. in acute (≤24h) exposures, which may be representative of deep-sea mining impacts. No antioxidant response was observed in either species, which was interpreted to be the consequence of avoiding copper exposure. Although these data suggest that shallow-water taxa may be suitable ecotoxicological proxies for deep-sea taxa, differences in methodological and analytical approaches, and in sex and reproductive stage of experimental subjects, require caution in assessing the suitability of H. forskali as an ecotoxicological proxy for A. sp. Nonetheless, avoidance behaviour may have bioenergetic consequences that affect growth and/or reproductive output, potentially impacting fecundity and/or offspring fitness, and thus influencing source-sink dynamics and persistence of wider deep-sea populations.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0166445X17301820

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.