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Monday, January 28 • 11:20am - 11:40am
(FISHERIES: BEHAVIOR & PHYSIOLOGY) Effects of Wastewater Effluent on Fin Length and Body Condition of Fathead Minnows

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AUTHORS: Seth M. Bogue; Cassi Moody-Carpenter; Anabela Maia; Robert E. Colombo – Biological Sciences Department, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The Sangamon River flows approximately 396 kilometers through central Illinois and is impounded in the city of Decatur for municipal use. The Sanitary District of Decatur (SDD) processes residential, medical, and industrial waste before releasing effluent into the river downstream of the dam. Discharge from the dam is significantly reduced during periods of low precipitation. As a result, the downstream stretch of the river is dominated by wastewater effluent. A high density of fish exhibiting elongated fins reside in this stretch of the river. To assess the relationship between effluent and fin elongation, Fathead minnows were exposed to wastewater effluent in microcosms at SDD and at a second wastewater treatment plant located in Charleston, Illinois. In addition, two control groups were exposed to dechlorinated tap water. Standard length, individual fin lengths, and weight was recorded for a total of 32 fish from each treatment during an 8-week time span. SDD treatment fish had significantly longer fins and exhibited better condition and faster growth in comparison to all other treatments. Our results are indicative of a causal relationship between SDD wastewater effluent and the fin elongation observed in fish of the Sangamon River. We hypothesize that fin elongation is the result of chronic exposure to contaminants and heavy metals present in the effluent.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am

Attendees (15)