In pulsed toxicant exposures, the concentration, duration, and frequency of pulses can change through time. However, the conventional median lethal concentration (LC50) method cannot adequately predict the effects of pulsed exposure, because it is associated with fixed exposure duration and constant concentration and does not include postexposure (latent) mortality. Many studies that tried to address the effects of pulsed exposure only provided qualitative or semiquantitative predictions. Survival time experiments conducted here quantified the effect of exposure duration on latent mortality, and the effect of recovery time between two pulses on mortality during a second pulse also was examined. This was done by exposing amphipods (Hyalella azteca) to two contrasting toxicants, copper sulfate (CuSO4) and sodium pentachlorophenol (NaPCP). In the exposure duration experiments, the amphipods were exposed to two toxicant concentrations for three durations. No significant effect of duration on latent mortality was detected within the experimental range; however, duration still may need to be considered under other conditions. In the recovery time experiments, the amphipods were provided four recovery times, and their survivals during the second exposure were modeled. Recovery time had a significant effect on the second-exposure mortality. Given enough time, the amphipods could recover to a state similar to their original toxicant resistance state. The complete recovery time for CuSO4 was fivefold longer than that for NaPCP. It is important to quantify the effects of latent mortality, pulse duration and concentration, and recovery time for pulsed exposures. Survival analysis provides a better way to address these issues than does the conventional LC50 method.
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