John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Life stage sensitivity of the marine mussel Mytilus edulis to ammonia

Ammonia is an important contaminant to consider in all toxicity tests. It is especially important to consider the impacts of ammonia in test methods that use sensitive water column organisms exposed to sediments or sediment extracts, such as pore water and elutriate toxicity tests. Embryo‐larval development toxicity tests, such as the 48‐h method using Mytilus mussel species, are particularly sensitive to ammonia. To better understand the effect thresholds across different life stages of these mussels, six short‐term (48‐h) development toxicity tests and three 21d toxicity tests with different size juvenile mussels were conducted. Two of the juvenile mussel tests involved 21d continuous chronic exposure to ammonia, while the third involved an acute 2d ammonia exposure, followed by a 19d recovery period. The embryo‐larval development test method (50% Effect Concentration, EC50 = 0.14 to 0.18 mg/L unionized ammonia) was 2.5 times more sensitive than the juvenile mussel 21d survival endpoint (50% Lethal Concentration, LC50 = 0.39 mg/L unionized ammonia) and 2 times more sensitive than the most sensitive sublethal juvenile mussel endpoint (EC50 = 0.26 mg/L unionized ammonia). Further, it was found that the juveniles recovered from a 48‐h exposure to unionized ammonia of up to 1.1 mg/L. The data generated suggest that the embryo development endpoint was sufficiently sensitive to unionized ammonia to protect the chronically exposed (21d) juvenile mussels. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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