Validity Of Laboratory Tests For Predicting Copper Toxicity In Streams

Geckler, Jack R.
Horning, William B.
Neiheisel, Timothy
Pickering, Quentin H.
Robinson, Ernest L.
Stephan, Charles E.
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A field study was conducted on Shayler Run, in Clermont County, Ohio, to determine the effects of copper on the stream biota. Copper was added to the stream for 33 months to maintain a concentration of 120 pg/z., a concentration that was expected to adversely affect some species of fish and not others. This natural stream received sewage effluent containing a variety of compounds known to affect acute copper toxicity. All but one abundant species of fish in the stream and four of the five most abundant macroinvertebrates were adversely affected by exposure to copper. Direct effects on fish were death, avoidance, and restricted spawning. To determine the usefulness of laboratory toxicity tests when establishing water quality criteria for an aquatic ecosystem, acute and chronic tests with copper were conducted at the Newtown Fish Toxicology Station and on-site at Shayler Run with stream species and the fathead minnow. The acute toxicity of copper varied widely because of water quality variations in the stream. The chronic tests underestimated the in-stream toxicity by about two times because only the effects of copper on survival, growth, and reproduction were measured. Agreement between the predictions from laboratory toxicity tests and the observed effect is surprisingly close considering the measurement errors involved.
Laboratory Tests , Copper Toxicity , Streams