, 18:27 | Cite as

Comparison of the partitioning of pesticides relative to the survival and behaviour of exposed amphipods

  • Jocelyne Hellou
  • Jim Leonard
  • Art Cook
  • Ken Doe
  • Kathryn Dunphy
  • Paula Jackman
  • Laurie Tremblay
  • Joanna Mills Flemming


Pesticides sprayed on farmlands can end up in rivers and be transported into estuaries, where they could affect aquatic organisms in freshwater and marine habitats. A series of experiments were conducted using the amphipod Corophium volutator Pallas (Amphipoda, Corophiidae) and single pesticides, namely atrazine (AT), azinphos-methyl (AZ), carbofuran (CA) and endosulfan (EN) that were added to sediments and covered with seawater. Our goal was to compare the concentrations affecting the survival of the animals relative to potential attractant or repellent properties of sediment-spiked pesticides. The avoidance/preference of contaminated/reference sediments by amphipods was examined after 48 and 96 h of exposure using sediments with different organic carbon content. The octanol–water partition coefficients (log Kow) ranked the pesticides binding to sediments as EN > AZ > AT > CA. LC50 and LC20 covered a wide range of nominal concentrations and ranked toxicity as CA-AZ > EN > AT. Under the experimental set up, only EN initiated an avoidance response and the organic carbon normalised concentration provided consistent results. Using the present data with wide confidence limits, >20% of a population of C. volutator could perish due to the presence of EN before relocation or detecting CA or AZ in sediments by chemical analysis.


Amphipods Corophium volutator Behaviour Survival Pesticides 



We would like to thank our collaborators in this first year of the study, Mr. Lea Murphy, Deryck Mills, Delly Keen, John McKinnon, and Danny Geldert at DFO, PEI who facilitated our sampling in the Wilmot and Dunk Rivers, by providing a boat, GPS system, sampling experience and enthusiasm. We also wish to acknowledge funding from Health Canada through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans under the National Pesticide Research Fund.


  1. Ankley GT, Call DJ, Cox JS, Kahl MD, Hoke RA, Kosian PA (1994) Organic carbon partitioning as a basis for predicting the toxicity of chlorpyrifos in sediments. Environ Toxicol Chem 13:621–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergamaschi BA, Kuivila KM, Fram MS (2001) Pesticides associated with suspended sediments entering San Francisco Bay following the first major storm of water year 1996. Estuaries 24:368–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borgmann U (2005) Sediment toxicity testing with the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca: relevance and application. Chemosphere 61:1740–1743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chapman PM (1986) Sediment quality criteria from the sediment quality triad. An example. Environ Toxicol Chem 5:957–964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapman PM (2007) Determining when contamination is pollution—Weight of evidence determinations for sediments and effluents. Environ Int 33:492–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman PM, Hollert H (2006) Should the sediment quality triad become a tetrad, a pentad, or possibly even a hexad? J Soils Sediments 6:4–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapman PM, Swartz RC, Roddie B, Phelps HL, van den Hurk P, Butler R (1992) An international comparison of sediment toxicity tests in the North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 91:53–264Google Scholar
  8. De Bruin J, Busser F, Seinen W, Hermens J (1989) Determination of octanol/water partition coefficients for hydrophobic organic chemicals with the ‘slow-stirring’ method. Environ Toxicol Chem 8:499–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delle Site A (2001) Factors affecting sorption of organic compounds in natural sorbent/water systems and sorption coefficients for selected pollutants. A review. J Phys Chem Ref Data 30:187–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeLorenzo ME, Scott GI, Ross PE (2001) Toxicity of pesticides to aquatic microorganisms: a review. Environ Toxicol Chem 20:84–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunn AM (2004) A relative risk ranking of pesticides used in Prince Edward Island. Environment Canada, Dartmouth, NS. Report EPS-5-AR-04-03. p 41Google Scholar
  12. EC Environment Canada (2005) Guidance document on statistical methods for environmental toxicity tests EPS 1/RM/46, pp 241, section 4Google Scholar
  13. Esselink P, van Belkum J, Essink K (1989) The effect of organic pollution on the local distribution of Nereis diversicolor and C. volutator. Neth J Sea Res 23:323–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fisher SW, Lydy MJ, Berger J, Landrum PF (1993) Quantitative structure–activity relationships for predicting the toxicity of pesticides in aquatic systems with sediment. Environ Toxicol Chem 12:1307–1318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fuchsman PC, Barber TR (2000) Spiked sediment toxicity testing of hydrophobic organic chemicals: bioavailability, technical considerations, and applications. Soil Sed Contam 9:197–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hellou J, Steller S, Zitko V, Leonard J, King T, Milligan T, Yeats P (2002) Distribution of PACs in surficial sediments and bioavailability to mussels, Mytilus edulis, of Halifax Harbour. Mar Environ Res 53:327–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hellou J, Cook A, Ernst B, Leonard J, Steller S (2004) Pesticides in an estuary on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Proceedings of 6th bay of fundy ecosystem partnership workshop. Environment Canada, Atlantic Region, Occasional Report. 23:425–429Google Scholar
  18. Hellou J, Cheeseman K, Jouvenelle ML, Robertson S (2005) Behavioural response of Corophium volutator relative to experimental conditions, physical and chemical disturbances. Environ Toxicol Chem 24:3061–3068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hellou J, Cheeseman K, Desnoyers E, Johnston D, Jouvenelle ML, Leonard J, Robertson S, Walker P (2008) A non-lethal chemically based approach to investigate the quality of harbour sediments. Sci Tot Environ 389:178–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hughes RG, Horsfall IM (1990) Difference in the swimming behaviour of the amphipod Corophium volutator from different populations. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 70:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kamrin MA (ed) (1997) Pesticide profiles, toxicity, environmental impact and fate, Lewis Publishers. Boca Raton, FL, p 676Google Scholar
  22. Krang A-S, Baden SP (2004) The ability of the amphipod Corophium volutator (Pallas) to follow chemical signals from con-specifics. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 310:195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kravitz MJ, Lamberson JO, Ferraro SP, Swartz RC, Boese BL, Specht DT (1999) Avoidance response of the estuarine amphipod Eohaustorius estuarius to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-contaminated, field-collected sediments. Environ Toxicol Chem 18:1232–1235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lawrie SM, Raffaelli DG (1998) In situ behaviour of the amphipod Corophium volutator (Pallas). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 224:237–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mackay D (1991) Multimedia environmental models—the fugacity approach. Lewis Publishers Inc, Michigan, USA, p 257Google Scholar
  26. Murdoch MH, Chapman PM, Norman DM, Quintino VM (1997) Spiking sediment with organochlorines for toxicity testing. Environ Toxicol Chem 16:1504–1509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Percy J (1999) Keystone corophium. Master of the mudflats. Fundy issues. Issue 13, p 10Google Scholar
  28. Robinson PW (1999) The toxicity of pesticides and organics to Mysid shrimps can be predicted from Daphnia spp. toxicity data. Wat Res 33:1545–1549CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jocelyne Hellou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jim Leonard
    • 1
  • Art Cook
    • 3
  • Ken Doe
    • 3
  • Kathryn Dunphy
    • 4
  • Paula Jackman
    • 3
  • Laurie Tremblay
    • 5
  • Joanna Mills Flemming
    • 6
  1. 1.Fisheries and OceansDartmouthCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Chemistry and OceanographyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Environment CanadaMonctonCanada
  4. 4.Department of BiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  6. 6.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations