USE OF FISH BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES IN IDENTIFYING SUBLETHAL EXPOSURE TO POLLUTANTS

Gintaras SVECEVIČIUS, Nijolė KAZLAUSKIENĖ

Abstract

In present the controlling of pollution of aquatic environment is performed basically by use of analytical investigations. However, biological control of effluent toxicity before effluents are discharged into receiving waters is still seldom used. Therefore, the search into suitable, easy available and maintainable test-objects, their rapid, sensitive, and non-specific test-functions which provide information not only about lethal but also about sublethal effects of pollutants is needed. Fishes are considered to be among the best test-objects. Alterations in a number of fish behavioral responses are sensitive indicators of sublethal exposure to aquatic pollutants. These are no standardized procedures yet. Laboratory tests were conducted on rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. Behavioral responses, such as: leaving the nest, response to external stimuli and breathing rate in larvae as well as detection-avoidance, locomotor activity, gill ventilation frequency, and coughing rate in juveniles and adults were investigated. Obtained data showed that fish behavioral responses can be successfully applied in solving not only theoretical but also practical problems of aquatic toxicology, such as bioassay testing for hazard assessment of separate toxicants and their mixtures, industrial and municipal wastewaters as well as natural inland waters containing complexes of pollutants of different chemical origin.

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