The toxicity and physiological effects of oil and petroleum hydrocarbons on estuarine grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio (Holthuis).




Tatem, H.E.

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Texas A&M University.


Investigations of the effects of oils and petroleum hydrocarbons on Palaemonetes pugio (Holthuis) have revealed that they are susceptible to refined oils (No. 2 fuel oil and Bunker C residual oil) when exposed to sea water containing 1 to 4 ppm oil hydrocarbons. Four day old larvae (second zoea) were more susceptible than either postlarvae or adults. Kuwait and South Louisiana crude oils were found to be less toxic. Eight petroleum hydrocarbons were lethal to adult shrimp in 48h at levels below 35ppm. Of these, the naphthalenes were toxic at concentrations near 1 ppm. Environmental stresses of increased temperature and decreased salinity enhanced the toxicity of the hydrocarbons. Animals exposed to dodecyl sodium sulfate, a standard toxicant, varied their response with the season of capture and length of time in the laboratory. Shrimp collected from December to February were less vigorous than those collected at other times. Shrimp maintained for over two weeks in the laboratory were more sensitive to the toxicant than freshly collected organisms. Grass shrimp have been found to accumulate petroleum hydrocarbons from sea water. Ultraviolet spectrophotometry was utilized to determine the concentration of naphthalenes in sea water and shrimp tissue. This technique showed that hydrocarbons are accumulated in from 1 to 8 hours; depuration begins as water concentrations decrease to 0.1 ppm or less. Depuration usually occurs by 96h but may take up to 3 weeks. Uptake and depuration are dependent upon exposure concentration and length of exposure. The data suggests that organism activity also influences accumulation. Dimethylnaphthalene was the compound which remained associated with the tissues to the greatest extent. Shrimp fed hydrocarbon contaminated food failed to retain measurable concentrations of hydrocarbons. Individual respiratory rates were size dependent. At 20 degrees C, temperature and 15 o/oo salinity the rates ranged from 1.5 to 4.0 ml of oxygen per gram (dry weight) per hour. Sublethal concentrations of hydrocarbons from both crude and refined oils depressed respiratory rates. However, daily testing revealed these effects to be transitory. Crude oil had less affect than refined products and recovery to control respiratory rate was demonstrated in 72h. The effects of soluble hydrocarbons from the refined oils continued until 168h. Respiratory rate was not found to be a precise indicator of the sublethal effects of these pollutants. Shrimp respiratory rates were altered until complete release of the naphthalenes from the tissues. Petroleum hydrocarbons were shown to be detrimental to the hatching of P. pugio larvae. Infrared spectrophotometry was used to measure total oil hydrocarbons (including the naphthalenes) present in sea water mixed with known quantities of oil. Daily exposure to hydrocarbons (0.3-0.7 ppm) was more harmful than a single exposure to a higher concentration (1.5ppm). Larvae which did hatch and survive seemed to develop in a normal fashion. Those which had experienced a single exposure to the hydrocarbons weighed less than controls after 45 days development, but the difference was not significant. Other grass shrimp larvae reared during continuous exposure to hydrocarbons (0.5-0.8 ppm) grew at a significantly slower rate than control shrimp. Field samples of P. pugio tissues, water and sediments from Galveston Bay were found to contain petroleum hydrocarbons. Approximately 0.3 ppm naphthalenes were present in the tissues while water concentrations were generally very low (0.02-0.05). Bay sediments contained the majority of the contamination. Sediments near an oil separator platform revealed from 75 to 150 ppm naphthalenes. Other sediments contained from 2 to 5 ppm. Shrimp behavior was dramatically affected during initial exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons. Animals exhibited increased activity and disoriented swimming. These effects were more severe during exposure to the naphthalenes and the refined oils, which contain greater proportions of the naphthalenes.


142 p., Dissertation


oil pollution, petroleum hydrocarbons, Palaemonetes pugio, petroleum hydrocarbons, oil-in-water content, physiology, grass shrimp, naphthalene, sediment analysis, lethal effects