The aquatic automated dosing and maintenance system (AADAMS)

David I. Kline, John Bryant, Eddie Kisflaudy, Gary Rohwer, Fernando Nostropaur, Jodi Grayson, Nancy Knowlton,Forest Rohwer

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 4:184-192 (2006) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2006.4.184

ABSTRACT: The maintenance and dosing of aquatic organisms, such as corals and mollusks, are essential for ecotoxicology studies, yet it is difficult to maintain many of these sensitive organisms for an extended period. Consequently, many previous aquatic ecotoxicology experiments have been limited in their number of replicates and maintained in one or a few experimental aquaria, with only a limited number of stressors tested in each experiment. Here we describe a modular system that overcomes many of the difficulties of maintaining large numbers of sensitive aquatic organisms in separate containers, and allows testing of a large suite of stressors in each experiment. The AADAMS (aquatic automated dosing and maintenance system) allows testing of 40 independent stressors with 10 independent replicates per stressor (400 individuals total). The AADAMS provides surge and regular water changes simultaneously with accurate dosing via Venturi valves. In a series of experiments over a 1-year period, the AADAMS was used to test the effects of various factors affecting water quality on Caribbean coral reefs. Roofing tar and road asphalt were two of the most damaging pollutants tested, with LD50 values (lethal dose that killed 50% of the corals) of 0.013 g L–1 and 0.079 g L–1, respectively, thus suggesting that runoff from roads and near-shore construction could be contributing to reef decline. The AADAMS is an accurate, reliable system for highly replicated ecotoxicological studies of sensitive aquatic organisms, which are important indicators of ecosystem health.