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Monday, February 6 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Technical Session. Pollutants Stress in the Maumee River: Impacted Physiology and Reproduction in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) and Sunfish (Lepomis spp.)

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AUTHORS: Nicholas Cipoletti, Heiko Schoenfuss - St. Cloud State University

ABSTRACT: Agricultural pollutants are an environmental health concern for receiving aquatic ecosystems, as precipitation events lead to runoff and subsequent pollutant stress for aquatic species. Complex mixtures of agricultural pollutants, such as pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and livestock pharmaceuticals, have yet to be studied in their biological impact on aquatic life. This study provided a field-based analysis of the environmental impacts of agricultural pollution on fish. As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), fish health was assessed in the Maumee River (Toledo, OH) through a 21-day fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas-FHM) exposure, caged sunfish deployment, and resident sunfish harvest.  The objective of the study was to determine whether the previously documented presence of agricultural pollutants could impact the physiology, reproduction, and population health of these three fish species. Analysis of laboratory reared FHM included behavioral testing, reproduction, and circulating sex hormone quantification (VTG, 11-KT, & E2). Resident and caged sunfish were analyzed for histology and sex hormone quantification (VTG). FHM reproduction indicates that fecundity was reduced in fish exposed to environmental water samples from some field sites. All male caged sunfish contained VTG levels significantly higher than the wild sunfish harvested at the same sites, most likely due to energy stores being greater in hatchery reared sunfish than wild harvested fish. Glucose measurements between caged and wild sunfish at four of the seven field sites, as well as between individual treatments varied significantly, indicating differing levels of stress possibly as the result of pollutant exposure. The data indicate that varying inputs into the aquatic ecosystem have an impact on the stress, sex hormone concentrations, and physiology of fish populations. Further research is underway to determine whether the observed physiological impacts have any effect at the organismal level.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Grand Ballroom C

Attendees (5)