Nothobranchius furzeri is a promising model for ecotoxicological research due to the species’ short life cycle and the production of drought-resistant eggs. Although the species is an emerging vertebrate fish model for several fundamental as well as applied research domains, its potential for ecotoxicological research has not yet been tested.The aim of this study was to characterise the acute and chronic sensitivity of this species to copper as compared to other model organisms. Effects of both acute and chronic copper exposure were tested on survival, life history and physiological traits. We report a 24h-LC50 of 53.93µg Cu/L, which is situated within the sensitivity range of other model species such as Brook Trout, Fathead Minnow and Rainbow Trout. Moreover, in the full life cycle exposure, we show that an exposure concentration of 10.27µg/L did not cause acute adverse effects (96h), but did cause mortality after prolonged exposure (3–4 weeks). Also chronic, sublethal effects were observed, such as a reduction in growth rate, delayed maturation and postponed reproduction. Based on our results, we define the NOEC at 6.68µg Cu/L, making N. furzeri more sensitive to copper as compared to Brook Trout and Fathead Minnow. We found stimulatory effects on peak fecundity at subinhibitory levels of copper concentrations (hormesis). Finally, we found indications for detoxifying and copper-excreting mechanisms, demonstrating the ability of the fish to cope with this essential metal, even when exposed to stressful amounts. The successful application of current ecotoxicological protocols on N. furzeri and its sensitivity range comparable to that of other model organisms forms the basis to exploit this species in further ecotoxicological practices.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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