Healthy Habitats Reduce Chemical Impacts On Aquatic Life

October 10, 1996

New testing methods utilized by South Carolina Sea Grant ecotoxologist Thomas Chandler show that thriving estuarine habitats can help absorb and reduce some impacts of toxic chemicals on aquatic creatures. Speaking of previous methods, Chandler says, "You can get an overestimate of a substance's toxicity to the multitude of species in an estuary based only on a single-species test in the lab." Chandler and his colleague, Bruce Coull, took an intact community of five species of copepods (tiny shrimp-like creatures) from an estuary and kept it in a healthy state. He then exposed the copepods to increasing doses of chlorpyrifos, a commonly used insecticide, looking for sublethal affects. "Chlorpyrifos can be very toxic to invertebrates such as shrimp and copepods, shutting down nerve function." Yet, they could find no effect on the copepods in an intact community at a dose that will kill 50 percent of the organisms in a lab single-species test. At higher levels, some problems began to develop, but in a natural environment where huge amounts of water heavily dilute chemicals, such levels are unlikely. "Perhaps the pesticide binds to carbon-rich particles in the sediment of the intact community, or bacteria break down the chemical making it less available," Chandler speculates. He hopes that his findings will lead to improved ecosystems-based approaches to pollution regulations and legislation.

CONTACT: Thomas Chandler, South
Carolina Sea Grant (O) 803-777-9481,

National Sea Grant College Program

Related Copepods Articles from Brightsurf:

Changing environment at home genetically primes invasive species to take over abroad
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists have found that a constantly fluctuating environment can enable some species to invade new areas by helping them maintain the genetic diversity they need to settle into their new homes.

Climate change has degraded productivity of shelf sea food webs
Released to coincide with World Oceans Day, new research led by the University of Plymouth has shown that a shortage of summer nutrients -- a result of our changing climate -- has contributed to a 50% decline in important North East Atlantic plankton over the past 60 years.

The North Atlantic right whale population is in poor condition
New research reveals that endangered North Atlantic right whales are in poorer body condition than individual whales from the three well recovering populations of Southern right whales.

Ecological impacts of palm stearin spill to the coastal ecosystem
In August 2017, a marine accident occurred in the Pearl River Estuary where a cargo vessel accidentally released about 1,000 tonnes of palm stearin into the sea, where over 200 tonnes reached the southwest coasts of Hong Kong.

Siberian blue lakes and their inhabitants
There are picturesque but poorly studied blue lakes situated in Western Siberia.

Climate change is reshaping communities of ocean organisms
Climate change is reshaping communities of fish and other sea life, according to a pioneering study on how ocean warming is affecting the mix of species.

For this ocean dweller, ability to respond to warming waters is about location
A new study by UConn researchers seeks to tease out some of the myriad pressures that drive adaptation in small, widely dispersed marine animals called copepods.

Dinoflagellate plankton glow so that their predators won't eat them
Some dinoflagellate plankton species are bioluminescent, with a remarkable ability to produce light to make themselves and the water they swim in glow.

Low oxygen levels could temporarily blind marine invertebrates
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have found that low oxygen levels in seawater could blind some marine invertebrates.

Small animals with big impact
Copepods, the world's most common animal, release unique substances into the oceans.

Read More: Copepods News and Copepods Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to