West, D. W., Ling, N., Hicks, B. J., Tremblay, L. A., Kim, N. D. & Van Den Heuvel, M. R. (2006). Cumulative impacts assessment along a large river, using brown bullhead catfish (Ameiurus nebulosus) populations. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25(7), 1868-1880.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1514
The effects of point-source and diffuse discharges on resident populations of brown bullhead catfish (Ameiurus nebulosus (LeSueur, 1819)) in the Waikato River (New Zealand) were assessed at sites both upstream and downstream of point-source discharges. At each site, the population parameters, relative abundance, age structure, and individual indices, such as condition factor, organ (gonad, liver, and spleen) to somatic weight ratios, and number and size of follicles per female, were assessed. Physiological (blood), biochemical (hepatic ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase [EROD] and plasma steroids), and other indicators (bile chemistry and liver metals) of exposure or response also were measured. No impacts on brown bullhead health were obvious at individual geothermal, municipal sewage, or thermal discharge sites or cumulatively along the river. Brown bullhead from the bleached kraft mill effluent site showed elevated levels of EROD, decreased numbers of red blood cells, increased numbers of white blood cells, and depressed levels of sex steroids. However, growth rates, condition factor, age structure, and gonadosomatic index suggest that discharges with significant heat or nutrients benefit catfish despite physiological impairment at one site. Consideration of brown bullhead population-level responses to discharges in a monitoring framework revealed three different population-level response patterns resulting from the point-source discharges.
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