Assessment of the phototoxicity of weathered Alaska North Slope crude oil to juvenile pink salmon.
Petroleum products are known to have greater toxicity to the translucent embryos and larvae of aquatic organisms in the presence of ultraviolet radiation (UV) compared to toxicity determined in tests performed under standard laboratory lighting with minimal UV. This study assessed the acute phototoxicity of the water accommodated fractions of weathered Alaska North Slope crude oil (ANS) to juvenile pink salmon, which are a heavily pigmented life stage. Fish in the highest ANS treatments exhibited melanosis, less mobility, reduced startle response, erratic swimming, and loss of equilibrium. Gills from fish exposed to ANS had elevated levels of hydroperoxides in oil-only, UV-only, and oil+UV treatments compared to control fish, which was indicative of increased lipid peroxidation in gill tissue. Under the test conditions of moderate salinity, low UV and high short-term oil exposure there were no indications of photoenhanced toxicity as assessed by elevation of mortality, behavioral impairment, or gill lipid peroxidation in oil+UV treatments. The results of this study suggest that pink salmon may be at less risk from photoenhanced toxicity compared to the translucent early-life stages of several other Alaska species.
Barron, MG; Carls, MG; Short, JW; Rice, SD; Heintz, RA; Rau, M; Di Giulio, R
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