Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 5090
Title: Impaired growth in the polychaete Armandia brevis exposed to tributyltin in sediment
Author: J. P. Meador, Casey A. Rice
Publication Year: 2001
Journal: Marine Environmental Research
Volume: 51
Issue: 2
Pages: 113-129

Juveniles of the opheliid polychaete, Armandia brevis, were exposed to sediment-associated tributyltin (TBT) for 42 days to evaluate toxicity and bioaccumulation.  Growth in this species was inhibited in a dose–response fashion by increasing concentrations of TBT.  Even though the biota–sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) for TBT declined for the higher sediment concentrations, the total butyltins in tissue increased over all sediment concentrations.  At the highest sediment concentrations, polychaetes bioaccumulated less TBT than expected, which was most likely due to reduced uptake and continued metabolism of the parent compound.  The less than expected BSAF values exhibited by animals at the exposure concentrations causing severe effects are an important finding for assessing responses in the field.  It appears that severe biological effects can occur in long–term experiments without the expected high tissue concentrations; an observation likely explained by altered toxicokinetics.  Analysis of variance determined the lowest observed effect concentration for growth to be 191 ng/g sediment dry wt. for 21 days of exposure and 101 ng/g sediment dry wt. at day 42, indicating that 21 days was insufficient for delineating the steady-state toxicity response.  When based on regression analysis, the sediment concentration causing a 25% inhibition in growth at 42 days exposure was 93 ng/g dry wt. (total organic carbon = 0.58%).  A doseresponse association was also determined for polychaete net weight and TBT in tissue.  The tissue residue associated with a 25% reduction in growth was 2834 ng/g dry wt. at day 42.  A comparison of these results with previous work indicates that juveniles are approximately three times more sensitive than adults to TBT exposure.  The sediment concentrations affecting growth in this species are commonly found in urban waterways indicating potentially severe impacts for this and other sensitive species. 

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