Effects of chronic internal alpha irradiation on physiology, growth and reproductive success of Daphnia magna
Journal title : aquatic toxicology
Volume : 80
Issue : 3
Pagination : 228-236
Publication date : 01/12/2006
Daphnids were chronically exposed to waterborne Am-241, an alpha emitting radionuclide, ranging in concentration from 0.4 to 40 Bq ml-1. Am-241 amounts were monitored in the medium, daphnid tissues and cuticles. Corresponding average dose rates of 0.02, 0.11 and 0.99 mGy h-1 were calculated for whole organisms with internal α-radiation contributing 99% of total dose rates. Effects of internal alpha irradiation on respiration and ingestion rates, adult, egg and neonate individual dry masses, fecundity and larval resistance to starvation were examined in 23-day experiments. Daphnids showed increased respiratory demand after 23 days at the highest dose rate, suggesting increased metabolic cost of maintenance due to coping with alpha radiological stress. Although no effect was detected on ingestion rates between contaminated and control daphnids, exposure to dose rates of 0.11 mGy h-1 or higher, resulted in a significant 15 %-reduction in body mass. Fecundity remained unchanged over the 23-day period, but individual masses of eggs and neonates were significantly smaller compared to the control. This suggested that increased metabolic expenditure in chronically alpha-radiated daphnids came at the expense of their energy investment per offspring. As a consequence, neonates showed significantly reduced resistance to starvation at every dose rate compared to the control. Our observations are discussed in comparison with literature results reported for cadmium, a chemical toxicant which affects feeding activity and strongly reduces individual energy uptake.