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Water quality limits for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) exposed to short term reductions in pH and increased aluminum simulating episodes

Author(s): F. Kroglund | B. O. Rosseland | H.-C. Teien | B. Salbu | T. Kristensen | B. Finstad

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
ISSN 1812-2108

Volume: 4;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 3317;
Date: 2007;
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Acidification has caused the loss or reduction of numerous Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) populations on both sides of the North Atlantic. Acid deposition peaked in the 1980's and resulted in both chronically and episodically acidified rivers. At present, water quality is improving in all affected rivers due to reduced acid deposition. However, spring snow melt, heavy rainfall and sea salt episodes can still cause short term drops in pH and elevated concentrations of bioavailable aluminum. Technical malfunction in lime dozers will cause short termed episodic spates in the limed rivers. The current situation has prompted a need for dose-response relationships based on short term exposures of Atlantic salmon to assess the potential population effects of episodic acidification. Water quality guidelines for salmon have been lacking, despite a large number of experiments, all demonstrating dose-response relationships between water chemistry and fish health. We have summarized results from 347 short-term (10 days) at an Al dose resulting in a gill Al concentration of up to 300 μg Alg−1 dw, a 3 day exposure resulting in a gill Al accumulation in the range of 25 to 60 μg Alg−1 dw reduces smolt to adult survival in a dose related manner by 20 to 50%. For smolt to adult survival, the biological significant response is delayed relative to the dose and occurs first after the fish enters the marine environment. In addition to exposure intensity and timing, exposure duration is important for the setting of critical limits.
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