The use of WHAM-FTOX, parameterized with laboratory data, to simulate zooplankton species richness in acid- and metal- contaminated lakes

Tipping, E.; Lofts, S.; Keller, W.. 2021 The use of WHAM-FTOX, parameterized with laboratory data, to simulate zooplankton species richness in acid- and metal- contaminated lakes. Aquatic Toxicology, 231, 105708. 8, pp.

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The WHAM-FTOX model quantifies cation toxicity towards freshwater organisms, assuming an additive toxic response to the amounts of protons and metals accumulated by an organism. We combined a parameterization of the model, using data from multi-species laboratory toxicity tests, with a fitted field species sensitivity distribution, to simulate the species richness (nsp) of crustacean zooplankton in acid- and metal-contaminated lakes near Sudbury, Ontario over several decades, and also in reference (uncontaminated) lakes. A good description of variation in toxic response among the zooplankton species was achieved with a log-normal distribution of a new parameter, β, which characterizes an organism’s intrinsic sensitivity towards toxic cations; the greater is β, the more sensitive is the species. The use of β assumes that while species vary in their sensitivity, the relative toxicities of different metals are the same for each species (common relative sensitivity). Unbiased agreements between simulated and observed nsp were obtained with a high correlation (r2 = 0.81, p < 0.0001, n = 217). Variations in zooplankton species richness in the Sudbury lakes are calculated to be dominated by toxic responses to H, Al, Cu and Ni, with a small contribution from Zn, and negligible effects of Cd, Hg and Pb. According to the model, some of the Sudbury lakes were affected predominantly by acidification (H and Al), while others were most influenced by toxic heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Zn); for lakes in the latter category, the relative importance of heavy metals, compared to H and Al, has increased over time. The results suggest that, if common relative sensitivity operates, nsp can be modelled on the basis of a single set of parameters characterizing the average toxic effects of different cations, together with a species sensitivity distribution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0166-445X
Additional Keywords: chemical speciation, lakes, metals, species sensitivity, toxicity, WHAM, WHAMFTOX, zooplankton
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 21 Dec 2020 23:26 +0 (UTC)

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