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U.S. Department of the InteriorU.S. Geological Survey

Scientific Investigations Report 20115225

Prepared in cooperation with the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association

Toxicity of Nickel-Spiked Freshwater Sediments to Benthic InvertebratesSpiking Methodology, Species Sensitivity, and Nickel Bioavailability

Cover. Laboratory photographs (clockwise from upper left): Mixing composite sample of field-collected sediment; Adding nickel-spike solution to sediment in equilibration jars; Stocking invertebrates into test chambers with spiked sediment; Test chambers and water-delivery system during sediment toxicity test.

Toxicity of Nickel-Spiked Freshwater Sediments to Benthic InvertebratesSpiking Methodology, Species Sensitivity, and Nickel Bioavailability

By John M. Besser, William G. Brumbaugh, Nile E. Kemble, Chris D. Ivey, James L. Kunz, Christopher G. Ingersoll, and David Rudel

Prepared in cooperation with the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association

Scientific Investigations Report 20115225

U.S. Department of the InteriorU.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Department of the InteriorKEN SALAZAR, Secretary

U.S. Geological SurveyMarcia K. McNutt, Director

U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia: 2011

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Suggested citation:Besser, J.M., Brumbaugh, W.G., Kemble, N.E., Ivey, C.D., Kunz, J.L., Ingersoll, C.G., and Rudel, David, 2011, Toxicity of nickel-spiked freshwater sediments to benthic invertebratesSpiking methodology, species sensitivity, and nickel bioavailability: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 20115225, 53 p. plus appendixes.

http://www.usgs.govhttp://www.usgs.gov/pubprodhttp://store.usgs.gov

iii

Contents

Acknowledgments ........................................................................................................................................ixAbstract ...........................................................................................................................................................1Chapter 1Development of Methods for Preparation and Toxicity Testing of

Nickel-Spiked Freshwater Sediment ............................................................................................31.1 Introduction...............................................................................................................................................31.2 Methods.....................................................................................................................................................4

Sediment Selection ..............................................................................................................................4Spiking Methodologies ........................................................................................................................4Chemical Analyses ...............................................................................................................................5Toxicity Testing ......................................................................................................................................6

1.3 Results and Discussion ...........................................................................................................................6Equilibration of Nickel-Spiked Sediments ........................................................................................6Nickel Concentrations during Toxicity Testing ..............................................................................12Toxicity of Nickel-Spiked Sediments ...............................................................................................12

1.4 Conclusions.............................................................................................................................................19Chapter 2Sensitivity of Benthic Invertebrates to Toxicity of Nickel-Spiked

Freshwater Sediments ..................................................................................................................212.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................................................212.2 Methods...................................................................................................................................................21

Sediment Spiking Procedures ..........................................................................................................21Sediment Toxicity Tests......................................................................................................................22Water-Only Toxicity Tests ..................................................................................................................24Nematode Toxicity Tests ....................................................................................................................25Characterization of Sediment and Water .......................................................................................25Sediment Toxicity Testing Schedule ................................................................................................25Data Analysis and Interpretation .....................................................................................................25

2.3 Results and Discussion .........................................................................................................................27Sediment and Pore-Water Characteristics ....................................................................................27Nickel Concentrations .......................................................................................................................28Toxicity of Nickel-Spiked Sediments ...............................................................................................29Water-Only Toxicity Tests ..................................................................................................................32Nematode Toxicity Tests ....................................................................................................................34Concentration-Response Relations .................................................................................................36

2.4 Conclusions.............................................................................................................................................38Chapter 3Effect of Sediment Characteristics on Nickel Bioavailability .........................................393.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................................................393.2 Methods...................................................................................................................................................39

Sediment Spiking ................................................................................................................................39Toxicity Testing ....................................................................................................................................39Sediment Characterization ................................................................................................................40Data Analysis and Interpretation .....................................................................................................40

iv

3.3 Results and Discussion .........................................................................................................................40Sediment Characteristics and Nickel Concentrations .................................................................40Toxicity Tests and Endpoints .............................................................................................................41Relations of Nickel Bioavailability with Sediment Characteristics ............................................44

3.4 Conclusions.............................................................................................................................................48References Cited..........................................................................................................................................48Appendixes 13 ............................................................................................................................................53

Figures 1. Graphs showing target and measured nickel concentrations in nickel-spiked

sediments (Task 1) ........................................................................................................................8 2. Graphs showing acid-volatile sulfide concentrations in nickel-spiked sediments

during equilibration (Task 1) ........................................................................................................9 3. Graphs showing adjustment of pH in nickel-spiked sediments (Task 1) ...........................10 4. Graph sh

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