The effects of winter cold on acute copper bioaccumulation and toxicity in brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of New Brunswick


Freshwater fish that are acutely exposed to copper (Cu) can experience disturbances of ion regulation and ammonia excretion. Temperature has been shown to affect Cu bioaccumulation and toxicity in fish, but the focus has largely been on warm temperature effects. I investigated how winter cold affects acute Cu bioaccumulation and toxicity in brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis). Following acclimation to cold temperature (4 weeks at 3°C) vs. warm temperature (14°C) and following cold challenge (24 h at 3°C) vs. cold acclimation (13 weeks at 3°C), I measured gill-Cu bioaccumulation, net fluxes of ammonia (NH3), chloride (Cl- ) and net and unidirectional fluxes of sodium (Na+ ) over a 30-h Cu exposure. Contrary to my prediction, I found that Cu bioaccumulation over 30-h was not significantly affected by acclimation temperature and that effects of temperature on Cu toxicity were relatively limited with slightly greater toxic effects observed in warm-acclimated fish.