Is developmental instability in chironomids a sensitive endpoint for testing uranium mine-affected sediments?
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CitationMajlesi, Soroush. Carrasco-Navarro, Victor. Sorvari, Jouni. Panzuto, Sara. Naarala Jonne. Akkanen, Jarkko. Juutilainen, Jukka. (2020). Is developmental instability in chironomids a sensitive endpoint for testing uranium mine-affected sediments?. Science of the total environment, 720, 137496. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137496.
There is increasing interest in effects of radionuclides on non-human species, but methods for studying such effects are not well developed. The aims of the current study were to investigate the effects of uranium mine-affected sediments on non-biting midge Chironomus riparius and to compare sensitivity of different endpoints. The midge larvae were exposed in controlled laboratory conditions to sediments from two ponds downstream from an abandoned uranium mine and a reference pond not receiving water from the mining site. Quartz sand was used as an additional control. Developmental effects were assessed by evaluating emergence of adult midges, body mass, and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in the length of wing upper vein. FA has been suggested to be a sensitive indicator of developmental instability, but the results of previous studies are inconsistent. In the present study, no difference in FA was observed between the treatment groups, but time to emergence was significantly delayed in the contaminated sediments. The approach used in this study (laboratory experiments with sediments from a contaminated site) avoids confounding due to uncontrolled environmental variables and adaptation to long-term contamination, which may mask effects on natural populations. Using this approach, we found no effects on FA of wing length. Time to emergence, in contrast, was found to be a more sensitive endpoint.