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Trophic transfer of cyanobacterial toxins from zooplankton to planktivores: consequences for pike larvae and mysid shrimps

Karjalainen, M., Reinikainen, M., Spoof, L., Meriluoto, J.A.O., Sivonen, K., Viitasalo, M.
Environmental toxicology 2005 v.20 no.3 pp. 354-362
Esox lucius, pike, fish larvae, shrimp, fish feeding, zooplankton, Nodularia spumigena, nodularin, food chain, radiolabeling, animal growth, carbon nitrogen ratio, molting, feces
The aim of this study was to evaluate the potentially harmful effects of zooplankton preexposed to cyanobacteria on two planktivorous animals: a fish larva (pike, Esox lucius) and a mysid shrimp (Neomysis integer). The planktivores were fed zooplankton from a natural community that had been preexposed to cell-free extract or to purified toxin (nodularin) of the cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena, and the growth, feeding, and pellet production of the planktivores, as well as the toxin content of the pellets, were measured. In addition, radiolabeled nodularin (3H-dihydronodularin) was used in separate experiments to measure the vector transfer of nodularin from zooplankton to their predators. During 11-day exposures, dissolved nodularin was transferred to pike larvae and N. integer via zooplankton at very low rates of accumulation. Treatment with N. spumigena extract decreased the ingestion and feces production rates of pike larvae. With purified nodularin alone, no such effect could be observed. No effect on molting cycle length, fecal pellet production, C:N ratio, or growth of N. integer was detected. The results suggest that dissolved cyanobacterial toxins released during bloom decay can have a negative impact on feeding and, hence, on the growth of fish larvae via zooplankton, even without direct contact between cyanobacteria and the fish.