Lack of Biological Effects of Water Accommodated Fractions of Chemically- and Physically-Dispersed Oil on Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioral Traits of Juvenile Snapping Turtles Following Embryonic Exposure

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Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) eggs were exposed to two concentrations of chemically- or physically-dispersed water accommodated fractions of weathered Arabian light crude oil (Low = 0.5 and High = 10g oil/L water). Solutions were passed through nest substrate to simulate alterations in composition during percolation to egg depth. Hatchlings were raised for 13 months during which numerous endpoints were measured. Prior to percolation, total PAH ("tPAH"; the sum of 52 PAHs measured) in physically-dispersed oil fractions were similar (High, 43; Low 67 mg/L). Following percolation, tPAH was also similar in physically-dispersed fractions (High. 14; Low 24 mg/L). Addition of dispersant increased tPAH prior to percolation in the High treatment (302 mg/L) relative to Low (13 mg/L), but percolation resulted in nearly equal concentrations in both treatments (High. 30; Low, 22 mg/L) due to physical trapping of dispersed oil by the nest substrate. In both chemically- and physically-dispersed fractions, percolation reduced low molecular weight (MW) compounds such that embryos were exposed to primarily mid- to high MW compounds. Total PAH in eggs differed 15-fold between the chemically-dispersed High and physically-dispersed High treatments (560 and 36 mu g/kg respectively), the former characterized by higher MW compounds than the latter. While eggs accumulated up to 560 mu g/kg tPAH, we observed no effects on hatching success or hatchling/juvenile traits (DNA integrity, survival, growth, metabolism, energy storage, or behavior), our results demonstrate that PAH profiles are altered during percolation, suggesting that experiments with subsurface organisms should be designed to account for compositional changes that occur as the solutions percolate through the substrate.

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Science Of The Total Environment





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