Postexposure feeding depression: A new toxicity endpoint for use in laboratory studies with Daphnia magna

Authors

  • Ruth A. McWilliam,

    1. Environment Group, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA, United Kingdom
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  • Donald J. Baird

    Corresponding author
    1. Environment Group, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA, United Kingdom
    • Environment Group, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA, United Kingdom
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Abstract

In situ bioassays with daphnids currently employ lethality as an endpoint, and although sublethal responses (reproduction and feeding rate) can be measured in the field, such endpoints pose major practical challenges. Previous studies have indicated that Daphnia magna exposed to toxic substances can exhibit delayed recovery in feeding behavior (postexposure feeding depression). This simple, robust response has the potential to be an ecologically relevant and potentially diagnostic endpoint. This study developed and tested the use of postexposure feeding depression as a toxicity endpoint in the laboratory environment. First, replicate numbers were manipulated to produce statistically reliable results. Second, postexposure feeding depression in D. magna was studied under laboratory conditions, by employing toxic substances with differing modes of action. Although most substances caused feeding inhibition during direct exposure, not all substances produced postexposure feeding depression. However, the use of lethality as a supplementary endpoint provided an alternative measure when no feeding depression was apparent after exposure. In combination, these endpoints offer a potentially more sensitive, ecologically relevant alternative to the use of lethality alone for in situ bioassay studies.

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