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The effects of the endocrine disrupter 4-nonylphenol on the behaviour of juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

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Endocrine-disrupting chemicals pose a serious threat to the health of animals, particularly those in aquatic ecosystems. One such chemical, the alkylphenolic compound 4-nonylphenol (4-NP), is used extensively as a surfactant in industrial and sewage-treatment processes and is thus extremely widespread in the aquatic environment. The impact of pollutants on organisms can be measured using a number of toxicological assays. The use of behavioural studies is one such tool, allowing a noninvasive, proximate assessment of the effects of exposure. In this study, we examined the effects of short-term exposure to 4-NP on the behaviour of juvenile female rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Fish that had been exposed to 4-NP over a 5-day period showed a decreased shoaling tendency, were more likely to be attacked by other fish, and were less successful when competing for food resources than control fish. Focal fish that had been exposed to 4-NP showed no decrease in swimming speed or response to a simulated predator strike compared with control fish. We discuss possible reasons for these changes in social behaviour.

Les produits chimiques qui perturbent le système endocrinien sont une menace sérieuse à la santé des animaux, particulièrement ceux des écosystèmes aquatiques. Un produit de ce type, le 4-nonylphénol (4-NP), un composé alkylphénolique, est très utilisé comme surfactant dans les procédés de traitement des égouts domestiques et industriels et est donc extrêmement répandu dans l'environnement aquatique. On peut mesurer l'impact de polluants sur les organismes à l'aide de nombreux tests toxicologiques. Parmi ceux-ci, les études comportementales permet une évaluation non invasive et immédiate des effets de l'exposition. Dans notre étude, nous examinons les effets d'expositions de courte durée au 4-NP sur le comportement de jeunes truites arc-en-ciel (Oncorhynchus mykiss) femelles. Les poissons exposés au 4-NP pendant une période de 5 jours ont moins tendance à se regrouper en bancs, sont plus vulnérables à l'attaque des autres poissons et ont moins de succès dans la compétition pour les ressources alimentaires que les poissons témoins. Par comparaison aux poissons témoins, les poissons ciblés exposés au 4-NP ne réduisent pas leur vitesse de nage ni leur réaction à une attaque simulée d'un prédateur. Les raisons possibles de ces changements de comportement social font l'objet d'une discussion.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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