Assessment of Fish Embryo Survival and Growth by In Situ Incubation in Acidic Boreal Streams Undergoing Biomining Effluents

  • Hanna E. ArolaEmail author
  • Anna K. Karjalainen
  • Jukka T. Syrjänen
  • Maija Hannula
  • Ari Väisänen
  • Juha Karjalainen


The applicability of an in situ incubation method in monitoring the effects of metal mining on early life stages of fish was evaluated by investigating the impacts of a biomining technology utilizing mine on the mortality, growth, and yolk consumption of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) embryos. Newly fertilized eggs were incubated from autumn 2014 to spring 2015 in six streams under the influence of the mine located in North-Eastern Finland and in six reference streams. Although the impacted streams clearly had elevated concentrations of several metals and sulfate, the embryonic mortality of the two species did not differ between the impacted and the reference streams. Instead, particle accumulation to some cylinders had a significant impact on the embryonic mortality of both species. In clean cylinders, mortality was higher in streams with lower minimum pH. However, low pH levels were evident in both the reference and the mine-impacted groups. The embryonic growth of neither species was impacted by the mining activities, and the growth and yolk consumption of the embryos was mainly regulated by water temperature. Surprisingly, whitefish embryos incubated in streams with lower minimum pH had larger body size. In general, the applied in situ method is applicable in boreal streams for environmental assessment and monitoring, although in our study, we did not observe a specific mining impact differing from the effects of other environmental factors related to catchment characteristics.



This work was supported by Academy of Finland (Project No. 281800), the Finnish Doctoral Programme on Environmental Science and Technology (EnSTe), Emil Aaltonen Foundation and Olvi Foundation. The authors thank the local fishery associations, Metsähallitus and Talvivaara Sotkamo Mine, for the permits to conduct this research and the Natural Resources Institute Finland at Paltamo and Enonkoski for delivery of fertilized eggs of brown trout and whitefish. They thank N. Foore, O. Hewitt, O. Nousiainen and A. Eloranta for their contribution to the field work and the technicians and laboratory staff at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science for their contribution to the field work preparations and laboratory work. They also thank I. Rintala and A. Lensu for the map constructions.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 56 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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