Effects of dispersant treated oil upon exploratory behaviour in juvenile European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Type Article
Date 2021-01
Language English
Author(s) Aimon Cassandre1, 2, Lebigre Christophe3, Le Bayon Nicolas4, Le Floch Stephane2, Claireaux Guy1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université de Bretagne Occidentale, LEMAR (UMR 6539), Centre Ifremer de Bretagne, 29280 Plouzané, France
2 : CEDRE, Research Department, 715 rue Alain Colas, CS 41836, Brest 29218-Cedex 2, France
3 : Ifremer, Fisheries Science and Technology Unit (STH/LBH), Centre Ifremer de Bretagne, 29280 Plouzané, France
4 : Ifremer, LEMAR (UMR 6539), Cezon crude oil impacts the developing hearts of large predntre Ifremer de Bretagne, 29280 Plouzané, France
Source Ecotoxicology And Environmental Safety (0147-6513) (Elsevier BV), 2021-01 , Vol. 208 , P. 111592 (11p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111592
Keyword(s) Behaviour, Oil spill, Teleost fish, Exploration, Open field test, European sea bass

Accidental spills are pervasive pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Resorting to chemical dispersant is one of the most implemented strategies in response to oil spills, but it results in an increase in the bio-availability of oil compounds known to disturb fish neurosensory capacities and hence fish habitat use. While it has become well established that acute oil exposure can cause a range of physiological defects, sub-lethal consequences on animal behaviour have only received recent attention. Here we investigated the effect of an exposure to a 62 h- dispersant treated oil on the exploration tendency (exploratory activity, and avoidance of unfamiliar open areas) of juvenile European sea bass. Three different concentrations of chemically dispersed oil were tested, low and medium conditions bracketing the range of likely situations that fish encounter following an oil spill, the high dose representing a more severe condition. Fish recovery capacities were also evaluated during 2 weeks post-exposure. Our results suggest a dose-response relationship; the low dose (0.048 ± 0.007 g L-1 of total petroleum hydrocarbons ([TPH])) had no effect on sea bass behavioural response to a novel environment while medium (0.243 ± 0.012 g L-1 [TPH]) and high (0.902 ± 0.031 g L-1 [TPH]) doses altered fish exploratory activity and their typical avoidance of unfamiliar open areas. Our experiment also suggest signs of recovery capacities in the first 10 days following oil exposure even if fish might need more time to fully recover from observed alterations. We discuss the possibility that observed alterations may result from a neurosensory or physiological known defects of oil exposure, causing anaesthetic-like sedative behaviours. Altogether, this study shows that juvenile sea bass exposed to oil spill exhibit transient behavioural impairments that may have major population-level consequences given the high mortality experienced by juveniles.

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Supplementary material. 174 KB Open access
Fig. A. Pearson correlation between variables measured in the open field test. Pearson's coefficient of correlation between variables are indicated. 76 KB Open access
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