Sensitivity of the Indo-Pacific coral Acropora millepora to aromatic hydrocarbons

Brinkman, Diane L., Flores, Florita, Luter, Heidi M., Nordborg, F. Mikaela, Brooks, Maxime, Parkerton, Thomas F., and Negri, Andrew P. (2023) Sensitivity of the Indo-Pacific coral Acropora millepora to aromatic hydrocarbons. Environmental Pollution, 332. 121963.

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The risks posed by petroleum spills to coral reefs are poorly understood and quantifying acute toxicity thresholds for aromatic hydrocarbons to reef-building corals is required to assess their sensitivity relative to other taxa. In this study, we exposed Acropora millepora to toluene, naphthalene and 1-methylnaphthalene (1-MN) in a flow-through system and assessed survivorship and sublethal responses including growth, colour and the photosynthetic performance of symbionts. Median 50% lethal concentrations (LC50s) decreased over the 7-d exposure period, reaching asymptotic values of 22,921, 5,268, 1167 μg L−1 for toluene, naphthalene and 1-MN, respectively. Corresponding toxicokinetic parameters (εLC50) defining the time progression of toxicity were 0.830, 0.692, and 0.256 d−1, respectively. Latent effects after an additional 7-d recovery in uncontaminated seawater were not observed. Effect concentrations (EC50s) for 50% growth inhibition were 1.9- to 3.6-fold lower than the LC50s for each aromatic hydrocarbon. There were no observed effects of aromatic hydrocarbon exposure on colour score (a proxy for bleaching) or photosynthetic efficiency. Acute and chronic critical target lipid body burdens (CTLBBs) of 70.3 ± 16.3 and 13.6 ± 18.4 μmol g−1 octanol (± standard error) were calculated for survival and growth inhibition based on 7-d LC50 and EC10 values, respectively. These species-specific constants indicate adult A. millepora is more sensitive than other corals reported so far but is of average sensitivity in comparison with other aquatic taxa in the target lipid model database. These results advance our understanding of acute hazards of petroleum contaminants to key habitat-building tropical coral reef species.

Item ID: 79191
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6424
Keywords: Coral, Great barrier reef, Petroleum hydrocarbons, Toxicity, Toxicokinetics
Copyright Information: © 2023 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license ( nc/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 22:56
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410504 Surface water quality processes and contaminated sediment assessment @ 70%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 20%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 80%
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