Development of acute and chronic sediment bioassays with the harpacticoid copepod Quinquelaophonte sp

Tristan J. Stringer, Chris N. Glover, Vaughan Keesing, Grant L. Northcott, Sally Gaw, Louis A. Tremblay

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Reliable environmentally realistic bioassay methodologies are increasingly needed to assess the effects of environmental pollution. This study describes two estuarine sediment bioassays, one acute (96h) and one chronic (14d), with the New Zealand harpacticoid copepod Quinquelaophonte sp. utilising behavioural and reproductive endpoints. Spiked sediments were used to expose Quinquelaophonte sp. to three reference compounds representing important categories of estuarine chemical stressors: zinc (a metal), atrazine (a pesticide), and phenanthrene (a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon). Acute-to-chronic ratios (ACR) were used to further characterise species responses. Acute sediment (sandy and low total organic content) 96h EC50 values for the sublethal inhibition of mobility for zinc, atrazine and phenanthrene were 137, 5.4, and 2.6μg/g, respectively. The chronic EC50 values for inhibition of reproduction (total offspring) were 54.5, 0.0083, and 0.067μg/g for zinc, atrazine, and phenanthrene, respectively. For phenanthrene, a potentially novel mode of action was identified on reproduction. Quinquelaophonte sp. was found to be more sensitive than several other estuarine species indicating choice of test organism is important to characterising the effects of environmentally relevant levels of contamination. The bioassay sediment results demonstrate the sensitivity and suitability of Quinquelaophonte sp. as a tool for the assessment use of estuarine health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Jan. 2014


  • Estuary
  • New Zealand
  • Pollution
  • Reproduction
  • Toxicity


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