SREL Reprint #2545

 

 

 

Metabolic costs incurred by crayfish (Procambarus acutus) in a trace element-polluted habitat: further evidence of similar responses among diverse taxonomic groups

Christopher L. Rowe1, William A. Hopkins2, Caralyn Zehnder2, and Justin D. Congdon2

1University of Maryland Center for Enivironmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory,
P. O. Box 38, Solomons, MD 20688, USA
2University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

Abstract: Recent studies of several vertebrates and an invertebrate have shown elevated standard metabolic rate (SMR) following chronic exposure to a mixture of trace elements in a contaminated habitat. In this study, we examined whether another invertebrate, a crayfish (Procambarus acutus), also experienced elevated SMR in response to the same contaminants. We compared SMR of individuals inhabiting the contaminated site with SMR of individuals from uncontaminated reference sites. We also examined SMR of individuals collected from the reference areas and exposed in the laboratory for 50 days to sediment and food derived from the contaminated site. Individuals collected from the contaminated site had elevated SMR compared to individuals collected from the unpolluted areas (25.1 vs. 19.2 J g-1 day-1). Individuals exposed to contaminated sediment and food in the laboratory experienced elevations in SMR compared to controls after 27 days of exposure (35.2 vs. 29.4 J g-1 day-1), but after 50 days of exposure, metabolic rate no longer differed between treatments. Growth of contaminant-exposed individuals was lower than growth of reference animals throughout the laboratory study. Elevated SMR associated with contaminant exposure may reflect energy-demanding mechanisms required to combat deleterious effects of contaminants. Our results support the prediction that increases in energy expenditure in the contaminated habitat would negatively influence production processes, such as growth. Results from this study in conjunction with observations from other species suggest that increased SMR is a common response among several taxa to the mixture of contaminants in the study site.

Keywords: Coal ash; Contaminants; Energy budget; Growth; Heavy metals; Metabolic rate; Respiration; Sublethal stress; Trace elements

SREL Reprint #2545

Rowe, C. L., W. A. Hopkins, C. Zehnder, and J. D. Congdon. 2001. Metabolic costs incurred by crayfish (Procambarus acutus) in a trace element-polluted habitat: further evidence of similar responses among diverse taxonomic groups. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C 129:275-283.

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