Development of native aquatic organisms and innovative methods for investigating ecotoxicity of Brazilian surface waters

Researcher at LAEG: Gisela de Aragão Umbuzeiro

Duration: 2014 – Present

Supported by: CNPq Project

Members: Gisela de Aragão Umbuzeiro and Theodore Burdick Henry

Support Type: Regular Research

Surface waters of Brazil contribute extremely important services that include provision of human water supplies; waters for use in industry, agriculture, and aquaculture; removal of waste, and generation of productive wild fisheries for commercial and recreational exploitation. Provision of these services is dependent on maintenance of water quality and ecological integrity of the aquatic environments. Inputs of anthropogenic pollutants are a major threat to aquatic resources and effective monitoring and protection of surface waters must include toxicity testing of representative organisms from these environments. For these test organisms to be most useful, standardized methods must be established and considerable information obtained on organism pathophysiology and toxicology. The objective of this project is to use state of the art techniques to develop standardized test methods and understanding of test organism pathophysiology for two critical organisms native to surface waters of Brazil. The first organism, the amphipod Parhyale hawaiensis, is a benthic invertebrate that feeds on detritus and is vulnerable to toxicants that tend to accumulate on the surface of sediments [e.g., engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), to be investigated in this proposal], and the second is a native freshwater fish, the curimbatá Prochilodus lineatus, which is a species of considerable ecological and economic (wild and aquaculture fisheries) importance. Curimbatá are abundant in reservoirs and associated aquaculture facilities that are frequently exposed to blooms of toxic cyanobacteria [(e.g., Microcystis sp.), toxin microcystin (MC) to be investigated in this proposal] that are a prominent consequence of anthropogenic eutrophication of Brazilian surface waters. The proposed research will build on our existing international research collaboration (Brazil, UK, and US) and expertise with P. hawaiensis and curimbatá to apply advanced techniques of toxicogenomics and organism pathophysiology to enhance the ability to link toxicological mechanisms of action with higher order biological responses. Specifically, we will investigate toxicological responses to ENMs and to MCs, which are prominent toxicants of concern. This research will develop these two aquatic organisms as ecotoxicity test models to enhance the ability to monitor and protect Brazilian surface waters.