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Species sensitivity distributions for suspended clays, sediment burial, and grain size change in the marine environment
Smit, M.G.D.; Holthaus, K.I.E.; Trannum, H.C.; Neff, J.M.; Kjeilen-Eilertsen, G.; Jak, R.G.; Singsaas, I.; Huijbregts, M.A.J.; Hendriks, A.J. (2008). Species sensitivity distributions for suspended clays, sediment burial, and grain size change in the marine environment. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 27(4): 1006-1012.
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Setac Press: New York. ISSN 0730-7268; e-ISSN 1552-8618, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Dimensions > Size > Grain size
    Environmental impact
    Environments > Aquatic environment > Marine environment
    Hazard assessment
    Materials > Hazardous materials
    Minerals > Sulphate minerals > Barite
    Sediment load > Suspended load
    Sediments > Clastics > Bentonite
    Taxa > Species
Author keywords
    species sensitivity distributions; nontoxic stressors; marine sediments;drilling activities

Authors  Top 
  • Smit, M.G.D.
  • Holthaus, K.I.E.
  • Trannum, H.C., more
  • Neff, J.M.
  • Kjeilen-Eilertsen, G.
  • Jak, R.G., more
  • Singsaas, I.
  • Huijbregts, M.A.J., more
  • Hendriks, A.J., more

    Assessment of the environmental risk of discharges, containing both chemicals and suspended solids (e.g., drilling discharges to the marine environment), requires an evaluation of the effects of both toxic and nontoxic pollutants. To date, a structured evaluation scheme that can be used for prognostic risk assessments for nontoxic stress is lacking. In the present study we challenge this lack of information by the development of marine species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) for three nontoxic stressors: suspended clays, burial by sediment, and change in sediment grain size. Through a literature study, effect levels were obtained for suspended clays, as well as for burial of biota. Information on the species preference range for median grain size was used to assess the sensitivity of marine species to changes in grain size. The 50% hazardous concentrations (HC50) for suspended barite and bentonite based on 50% effect concentrations (EC50s) were 3,010 and 1,830 mg/L, respectively. For burial the 50% hazardous level (HL50) was 5.4 cm. For change in median grain size, two SSDs were constructed; one for reducing and one for increasing the median grain size. The HL50 for reducing the median grain size was 17.8 µm. For increasing the median grain size this value was 305 µm. The SSDs have been constructed by using information related to offshore oil- and gas-related activities. Nevertheless, the results of the present study may have broader implications. The hypothesis of the present study is that the SSD methodology developed for the evaluation of toxic stress can also be applied to evaluate nontoxic stressors, facilitating the incorporation of nontoxic stressors in prognostic risk assessment tools.

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