Meeting Abstract

48.6  Thursday, Jan. 5  Metabolic physiology of the stream minnow, Campostoma oligolepis, inhabiting a polluted stream. CORDLE, M.E.*; MEADE, M.E.; NICHOLS, A.; Jacksonville State University; Jacksonville State University; Jacksonville State University

Snow creek, Oxford, Alabama, was a victim of industrial heavy metal and PCB contamination in the 1970s. In those years, high concentrations of contaminants resulted in the death and/or migration of many aquatic organisms from the creek. Cleanup efforts began in the 1980s although mercury (Hg) and PCBs remain above EPA limits. A diversity of aquatic organisms currently inhabit the creek, although many sensitive species remain to be found. In this study we examined oxygen consumption rates in fishes inhabiting Snow creek and other unimpacted regional streams. Our goal was to determine if fishes inhabiting Snow creek had altered metabolic rates, as indicated by altered oxygen consumption rates. Fish examined from unimpacted streams included those inhabiting Shoal creek, a relatively pristine site in the Talladega National Forest, AL, and Mill creek, a relatively unimpacted site in Jacksonville, AL. Weight specific metabolic rates (MO2;mgO2/kg*hr ± S.D.)for fishes inhabiting Snow, Shoal, and Mill creeks, respectively, were 412.62±41.56, 298.67±57.57, and 312.24±36.38. Metabolic rates were therefore 25% higher in fishes inhabiting the contaminated site. Previous studies have demonstrated gill damage and osmoregulatory stress in fishes chronically exposed to Hg and PCBs. We hypothesize that osmoregulatory stress may be one factor contributing to the observed increased metabolism in fish from contaminated sites in this study.