Short-term exposure to municipal wastewater influences energy, growth, and swimming performance in juvenile Empire Gudgeons (Hypseleotris compressa)

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Melvin, Steven D
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2016
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Abstract

Effectively treating domestic wastewater is paramount for preserving the health of aquatic ecosystems. Various technologies exist for wastewater treatment, ranging from simple pond-based systems to advanced filtration, and it is important to evaluate the potential for these different options to produce water that is acceptable for discharge. Sub-lethal responses were therefore assessed in juvenile Empire Gudgeons (Hypseleotris compressa) exposed for a period of two weeks to control, 12.5, 25, 50, and 100% wastewater treated through a multi-stage constructed wetland (CW) treatment system. Effects on basic energy reserves (i.e., lipids and protein), growth and condition, and swimming performance were quantified following exposure. A significant increase in weight and condition was observed in fish exposed to 50 and 100% wastewater dilutions, whereas whole-body lipid content was significantly reduced in these treatments. Maximum swimming velocity increased in a dose-dependent manner amongst treatment groups (although not significantly), whereas angular velocity was significantly reduced in the 50 and 100% dilutions. Results demonstrate that treated domestic wastewater can influence the growth and swimming performance of fish, and that such effects may be related to alterations to primary energy stores. However, studies assessing complex wastewaters present difficulties when it comes to interpreting responses, as many possible factors can contribute towards the observed effects. Future research should address these uncertainties by exploring interaction between nutrients, basic water quality characteristics and relevant contaminant mixtures, for influencing the energetics, growth, and functional performance of aquatic animals.

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Aquatic Toxicology

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170

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Chemical sciences

Environmental sciences

Environmental assessment and monitoring

Biological sciences

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