Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Seasonal concentration, turnover and mode of accumulation of ³²P by the juvenile starry flounder Platichthys stellatus (Pallas) in the Columbia River Estuary

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  • The seasonal concentration, turnover and mode of accumulation of ³²P by the juvenile starry flounder in Alder Slough, a small eco-system in the Columbia River Estuary, was examined during 1969 and 1970. Levels of ³²P and concentrations of total P were measured to permit computation of specific activities (nCi³²P/g total P). Seasonal fluctuations of ³²P in flounder collected from Alder Slough were characterized by spring and summer highs and fall and winter lows with the difference between the least and most radioactive fish being approximately 500 pCi/g. The seasonality of ³²P in flounder can be attributed to low-high temperature effects on rates of metabolism and food intake. Concentrations of ³²P in fall and winter were primarily regulated by the temperature regime while the higher levels during spring and summer were modified by the annual spring freshet and subsequent oceanic influence on estuarine temperature and salinity structure. Uptake studies conducted in Alder Slough with caged fish and the use of an exponential model failed to produce a meaningful ³²P biological half-life for starry flounder. Failure of the model to describe ³²P accumulation is believed to be due to the assumptions inherent in its use. Retention experiments with flounder held in a sea water tank at Newport, Oregon and caged flounder in the Yaquina River yielded effective half-lives equal to or greater than the radionuclide's physical half-life. Large differences between the ³²P content of individual fish resulted in biological half-lives with large error terms and prevented drawing definite conclusions from these studies. The main pathway of ³²P accumulation by the juvenile flounder was determined by maintaining fish in Columbia River water and feeding radioactive and non-radioactive amphipod-isopod mixtures in the presence and absence of active sediment. Flounder populations fed active food, and active food with active sediment present accumulated 3.3 and 3.7 times the activity of flounder receiving ³²P from water alone. Radioactive sediment did not appear to contribute to the ³²P body burden of the fish. Phosphorus-32 uptake from water averaged 24% of that from food plus water. Flounder fed the radio-active amphipod-isopod mixtures assimilated an average of 16% of the ingested ³²P.
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