The time taken for organisms to recover from a pulsed toxicant exposure is an important consideration when water quality guidelines are applied to intermittent events in the environment. Organisms may appear to have recovered by standard toxicity testing methods but could carry residual toxicant or damage that may make them more sensitive to subsequent pulses. Such cumulative effects may render guidelines underprotective. The present study evaluated recovery of the freshwater cnidarian Hydra viridissima following multiple pulse exposure to magnesium (Mg). The H. viridissima were exposed to 4-h pulses of 790 mg/L and 1100 mg/L separated by 2-h, 10-h, 18-h, 24-h, 48-h, and 72-h recovery periods. Twenty-four-hour pulses of 570 mg/L, 910 mg/L, and 940 mg/L were separated by 24-h, 96-h, and 168-h recovery periods. All treatments showed similar or reduced sensitivity to the second pulse when compared with the single pulse, indicating that full recovery occurred prior to a second pulse-exposure. Five variations of equivalent time-weighted average concentrations were used to compare sensitivity of Hydra with various pulse scenarios. The sensitivity of the organisms to the multiple pulses was significantly lower than the time-weighted average continuous exposure response in 3 of the 4 scenarios tested, indicating that the Hydra benefited from interpulse recovery periods. The findings will be utilized alongside those from other species to inform the use of a site-specific, duration-based water quality guideline for Mg, and they provide an example of the use of empirical data in the regulation of toxicant pulses in the environment.
Prouse, A., Hogan, A., Harford, A., Van Dam, R., & Nugegoda, D. (2015). Hydra viridissima (green Hydra) rapidly recovers from multiple magnesium pulse exposures. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34(8), 1734-1743. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.2966