Sediment bioturbators play an important ecological role and may both be affected by contaminants in the sediment and affect the fate and distribution of these contaminants. This is especially important for the many contaminants, like lead, for which sediments serve as a sink upon the contaminants’ release into the environment. In this study, I investigated the toxicity of sediment Pb to a freshwater bioturbator, the effect of bioturbation on the environmental distribution of the Pb, the effect of sediment characteristics on the bioturbation-mediated transfer of Pb from the sediment to the water column, and this transfer’s toxicological consequences for planktonic organisms. Experiments were conducted in microcosms with control sediment or Pb-spiked sediment, the freshwater oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus served as the model bioturbator, and the water flea Daphnia magna served as the model planktonic organism. The rate of bioturbation of the oligochaete was quantified using luminophores.
The bioturbation resulted in the transfer of Pb from the sediment to the water column. However, it did not affect Pb levels in the worm tissue or in the sediment. The environmental distribution of Pb among water column, biota, and sediment in the presence of the bioturbator was dependent on sediment characteristic like organic content, silt/clay content, and the pH of the sediment. Bioturbation by L. variegatus increased bioaccumulation of Pb in D. magna; however, this Pb had no toxic effect on survival, reproduction, and biomass of D. magna under the specific conditions used here. Quantification of the bioturbation rates of L. variegatus showed that the intensity of the bioturbation was enhanced at higher densities of the oligochaete but reduced at high sedimentary Pb concentrations. Overall this study demonstrated that bioturbation by L. variegatus can transfer Pb from the sediment to the water column, and that this transfer is dependent on sediment characteristics. The Pb transferred as a result of the bioturbation can enhance Pb availability to organisms in the water column, and potentially cause toxic effects in these organisms.
|Advisor:||Klerks, Paul L.|
|Commitee:||Bianchi, Thomas S., Chistoserdov, Andrei Y., Duke-Sylvester, Scott M., Felder, Darryl L.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|Department:||Environmental and Evolutionary Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Toxicology, Surgery, Biogeochemistry, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||Bioturbation, Daphnia magna, Environmental distribution, Lead, Lumbriculus variegatus, Sediment characteristics|
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