Physiological stress in native southern brook trout during episodic stream acidification in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Keil J. Neff, John S. Schwartz, Theodore B. Henry, R. Bruce Robinson, Stephen E. Moore, Matt A. Kulp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Episodic stream acidification from atmospheric deposition is suspected to detrimentally impact native southern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) headwater streams. To test the hypothesis that episodes of stream acidification cause physiological distress to native trout, caged fish at three sites were exposed to acid episodes during in situ bioassays conducted in June 2006 and March 2007. Stream pH decreased (> 0.7 pH units) and total dissolved aluminum (Al(TD)) increased (> 175 mu g/L) at all three sites during acid episodes in both bioassays. Whole-body sodium concentrations were significantly reduced (10-20%) following the acid episodes, when preceding 24-h mean pH values of 4.88, 5.09, and 4.87 and corresponding 24-h time-weighted average Al(TD) concentrations of 210, 202, and 202 mu g/L were observed. Lower whole-body sodium concentrations were correlated with elevated H(+) and Al(TD) concentrations. Loss of sodium ions in native southern brook trout was consistent with physiological distress resulting from acid exposure reported in salmonids in other investigations. Further research is necessary to conclude whether acid episodes are responsible for extirpation of brook trout from headwater streams in the GRSM.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)366-376
    Number of pages11
    JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
    Volume57
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

    Keywords

    • ATMOSPHERIC DEPOSITION
    • ELEVATED ALUMINUM
    • LOW PH
    • DACE RHINICHTHYS-ATRATULUS
    • SALVELINUS-FONTINALIS
    • WHOLE-BODY IONS
    • NORTHEASTERN UNITED-STATES
    • RAINBOW-TROUT
    • APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS
    • FISH POPULATIONS

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