Assessing the responses of creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) and pearl dace (Semotilus margarita) to metal mine effluents using in situ artificial streams in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 25:18-28.
Dubé, M.G., MacLatchy, D.L., Hruska, K.A. and Grozier, N.E.
published: 2006 | Research publication | 2006
Mining of the world's second-largest nickel deposits in the area of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, has caused acidification and metal saturation of some catchments. We conducted artificial stream studies in the years 2001 and 2002 to assess the effects of treated metal mine effluents (MMEs) from three different mining operations discharging to Junction Creek, Sudbury, on two fish species, creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) and pearl dace (Semotilus margarita). Treatments tested for 35 to 41 d included reference water, Garson MME (30%), Nolin MME (20%), and Copper Cliff MME (45%). In 2001, effects on chub included reduced survival and depressed testosterone levels (fivefold reduction) after exposure to all MMEs. In 2002, chub and dace survival were reduced to less than 60% in the Copper Cliff and Garson treatments. In addition, the total body weights of male and female dace were reduced after exposure to the Garson and Copper Cliff treatments. In 2001 and 2002, responses were most common to the 45% Copper Cliff and 30% Garson effluents, with consistent increases in nickel, rubidium, strontium, iron, lithium, thallium, and selenium observed across treatment waters and body tissues. More work is required to link observed effects to field effects and to identify multitrophic level responses of the ecosystem to the MMEs. The artificial stream studies provided a mechanism to identify changes in the endpoints of relevant fish species exposed to present-day metal mine discharges independent of historical depositions of metals in the Sudbury area.
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