Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 471
Title: Altered growth and related physiological responses in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) from dietary exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Author: J. P. Meador, F. C. Sommers, G. M. Ylitalo, C. A. Sloan
Publication Year: 2006
Journal: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume: 63
Pages: 2364-2376
Keywords: PAHs, salmon, fish growth, blood chemistry, lipid
Abstract: A dietary feeding study with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was conducted with juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) to mimic exposure from urban estuaries during their transition from freshwater to seawater. A significant reduction in mean fish dry weight was observed only for the highest doses; however, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using standard deviations and examination of the cumulative frequency plots revealed high variability among all treatments. The skewed fish weight distribution revealed a large number of small fish in several treatments compared to control fish. Analyses of whole-body lipids and several parameters in blood plasma related to growth and metabolism indicated alterations for most treatments. These results and trends in growth, plasma chemistry, and lipids as a consequence of PAH exposure were similar to those in fish exhibiting starvation, which we have termed toxicant-induced starvation. Based on these results, we conclude that PAHs are very toxic to salmonids at this life stage and the reduction in biomass and lipid stores observed here would have the potential to cause increased mortality for individuals during their first winter.