Interlaboratory evaluation of Hyalella azteca and Chironomus tentans short-term and long-term sediment toxicity tests.
ABSTRACT Methods for assessing the long-term toxicity of sediments to Hyalella azteca and Chironomus tentans can significantly enhance the capacity to assess sublethal effects of contaminated sediments through multiple endpoints. Sublethal tests allow us to begin to understand the relationship between short-term and long-term effects for toxic sediments. We present an interlaboratory evaluation with long-term and 10-d tests using control and contaminated sediments in which we assess whether proposed and existing performance criteria (test acceptability criteria [TAC]) could be achieved. Laboratories became familiar with newly developed, long-term protocols by testing two control sediments in phase 1. In phase 2, the 10-d and long-term tests were examined with several sediments. Laboratories met the TACs, but results varied depending on the test organism, test duration, and endpoints. For the long-term tests in phase 1, 66 to 100% of the laboratories consistently met the TACs for survival, growth, or reproduction using H. azrteca, and 70 to 100% of the laboratories met the TACs for survival and growth, emergence, reproduction, and hatchability using C. tentans. In phase 2, fewer laboratories participated in long-term tests: 71 to 88% of the laboratories met the TAC for H. azteca, whereas 50 to 67% met the TAC for C. tentans. In the 10-d tests with H. azteca and C. tentans, 82 and 88% of the laboratories met the TAC for survival, respectively, and 80% met the TAC for C. tentans growth. For the 10-d and long-term tests, laboratories predicted similar toxicity. Overall, the interlaboratory evaluation showed good precision of the methods, appropriate endpoints were incorporated into the test protocols, and tests effectively predicted the toxicity of sediments.