Individual and Population-Level Effects of Solid Coal Combustion Residue on the Estuarine Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio)

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2006-01-19

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Burning coal for electricity produces solid coal combustion residue (CCR), which is rich in potentially toxic trace elements, and is frequently discharged into natural and man-made aquatic systems as a method of disposal. Lethal and sublethal effects of CCR on the estuarine grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, were assessed. Grass shrimp were exposed in the laboratory to CCR-enriched sediments and food over a full life cycle. Grass shrimp exposed to CCR significantly accumulated selenium and cadmium. Chronic CCR-exposure caused significantly decreased larval survival, increased time to metamorphosis, and increased DNA strand breaks in shrimp compared to non-exposed conditions. Stage-classified matrix population models were constructed to assess the population-level effects of CCR on grass shrimp. The population models suggested that CCR-exposed grass shrimp would experience a decreased population growth rate, altered stable stage structure, stage-specific reproductive value, and elasticity patterns relative to shrimp in reference conditions.

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