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Improving water quality does not guarantee fish health: Effects of ammonia pollution on the behaviour of wild-caught pre-exposed fish

AuthorsSoler, Patricia; Faria, Melissa CSIC ORCID CVN; Barata Martí, Carlos CSIC ORCID; García-Galea, Eduardo; Lorente, Beatriz; Vinyoles, Dolors
Aquatic ecosystems
Issue Date9-Aug-2021
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 16 (8): e0243404 (2021)
AbstractAmmonia is a pollutant frequently found in aquatic ecosystems. In fish, ammonia can cause physical damage, alter its behaviour, and even cause death. Exposure to ammonia also increases fish physiological stress, which can be measured through biomarkers. In this study, we analysed the effect of sublethal ammonia concentrations on the behaviour and the oxidative stress of Barbus meridionalis that had been pre-exposed to this compound in the wild. Wild-caught fish from a polluted site (pre-exposed fish) and from an unpolluted site (non-pre-exposed fish) were exposed, under experimental conditions, to total ammonia concentrations (TAN) of 0, 1, 5, and 8 mg/L. Swimming activity, feeding behaviour, and oxidative stress response based on biomarkers were analysed. Pre-exposed fish showed both an altered behaviour and an altered oxidative stress response in the control treatment (0 mg/L). Differences in swimming activity were also found as pre-exposed fish swam less. Lower feeding activity (voracity and satiety) and altered response to oxidative stress were also observed at ≥ 1 mg/L TAN. Biomarker results confirmed pre-exposed fish suffer from a reduction in their antioxidant defences and, hence, showed increased oxidative tissue damage. In summary, pre-exposed fish showed more sensitivity to ammonia exposure than fish from a pristine site.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0243404
Appears in Collections:(IDAEA) Artículos
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