Differing behavioral changes in crayfish and bluegill under short- and long-chain PFAS exposures: Field study in Northern Michigan, USA

TitleDiffering behavioral changes in crayfish and bluegill under short- and long-chain PFAS exposures: Field study in Northern Michigan, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsCoy CO, Steele AN, Abdulelah SA, Belanger RM, Crile KG, Stevenson LM, Moore PA
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Date PublishedJan-12-2022

The emergent contaminant family, per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) has gained research attention due to their widespread detection and stability within the environment. Despite the growing amount of research on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluoro-n-octanoic acid (PFOA) in aquatic organisms, investigations detailing behavioral and physiological effects of aquatic organisms exposed to a mixture of PFAS analytes in the wild have been limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential behavioral and histological effects of environmental exposure to PFAS compounds within multiple trophic levels of aquatic ecosystems. The current study investigates effects of environmentally relevant PFAS concentration exposures in crayfish (Faxonius immunis, F. rusticus, F. virilis) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) sourced from four water bodies in Northern Michigan. Antipredator response and foraging behavioral assays were used to investigate potential effects on crayfish; a swimming speed behavioral assay and liver and gill histology analysis were used to investigate potential effects on fish. Linear mixed model and multiple regression analyses resulted in significant relationships between tissue accumulation levels of long chain PFAS compounds and crayfish foraging and fish critical swimming speed responses. Crayfish foraging decreased and fish critical swim speeds increased with PFAS exposure which may lead to energetic and population concerns. Antipredator response in crayfish and liver and gill histology in fish were not significantly related to PFAS tissue or water concentrations. The sensitivity of crayfish and bluegill behavior contributes to the growing body of research regarding the differential toxicity of short-chain and long-chain PFAS compounds. The sensitivity of some aquatic organism behaviors to PFAS accumulated in tissue may have implications for PFAS transfer and alterations to ecosystem functioning; based on the results of this field study, further laboratory research is recommended to further evaluate these relationships.

Short TitleEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
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