SREL Reprint #2330

 

 

 

Elevated standard metabolic rate in a freshwater shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) exposed to trace element-rich coal combustion waste

Christopher L. Rowe *

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

Received 15 April 1998; received in revised form 13 August 1998; accepted 31 August 1998

Abstract

I conducted a transplant experiment to determine whether standard metabolic rate (SMR) of a freshwater shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) would be affected by exposure to trace element-enriched coal combustion waste ('coal ash'). Shrimp were transplanted into replicate cages in a coal ash-polluted site and a reference site for 8 months. The coal ash-polluted site was characterized by elevated sediment concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Se compared to sediments in the reference site. After 8 months in the study sites, shrimp in the polluted site appeared to have accumulated As, Cd, and Se from the habitat, but there were no differences in survival between the study sites. However, mean SMR of shrimp (measured as 02 consumption at rest) held in the polluted site was 5]'X, higher than mean SMR of shrimp held in the reference site. The elevation in SMR indicates that the energetic costs of maintenance are greater for shrimp chronically exposed to the coal-ash polluted environment than shrimp in the reference site. It is likely, therefore, that other physiological or behavioral processes may be modified in the pollution-exposed individuals to compensate for the increased energy demands for maintenance. Recent studies have reported similar elevations in SMR in an amphibian and a reptile chronically exposed to coal ash. Analogous physiological responses in such taxonomically diverse animals (a crustacean, an amphibian, and a reptile) indicate that elevated SMR may be a general response by many types of organisms exposed to the mixture of trace elements characteristic of coal ash. The relationships among pollution-induced elevations in maintenance expenditures, long-term health of individuals, and population-level parameters require further attention.

Keywords: Coal ash; Heavy metals; Maintenance energetics; Oxygen consumption; Sublethal effectsCoal ash; Heavy metals; Maintenance energetics; Oxygen consumption; Sublethal effects

SREL Reprint #2330

Rowe, C.L. 1998. Elevated standard metabolic rate in a freshwater shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) exposed to trace element-rich coal combustion waste. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 121:299-304.

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