Locomotion-based behavioural endpoints have been suggested as suitable sublethal endpoints for human and environmental hazard assessment, as well as for biomonitoring applications. Larval stages of the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus
) possess a number of attractive qualities for experimental testing that make it a promising species in behavioural ecotoxicology. Here, we present a study aimed at developing a toolkit for using the sand goby as novel species for ecotoxicological studies and using locomotion as an alternative endpoint in toxicity testing. Exposure to three contaminants (copper (Cu), di-butyl phthalate (DBP) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was tested in the early life stages of the sand goby and the locomotion patterns of the larvae were quantified using an automatic tracking system. In a photo-motor test, sand goby larvae displayed substantially higher activity in light than in dark cycles. Furthermore, all tested compounds exerted behavioural alterations, such as hypo- and hyperactivity. Our experimental results show that sand goby larvae produce robust and quantifiable locomotive responses, which could be used within an ecotoxicological context for assessing the behavioural toxicity of environmental pollutants, with particular relevance in the Nordic region. This study thus suggests that sand goby larvae have potential as an environmentally relevant species for behavioural ecotoxicology, and as such offer an alternative to standard model species.
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