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Toxicological Effects of Military Smokes and Obscurants on Aquatic Threatened and Endangered Species

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Conference paper

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The U.S. Army must continually maintain a state of high readiness and alertness based on current geographical uncertainties. Preparation for adverse and unknown battlefield conditions requires military training activities using smokes and obscurants SO, and the need to effectively quantify the emissions resulting from SO use and assess the potential health and environmental impact of these emissions has become a critical issue for the U.S. Army. Threatened and endangered species TES, particularly fish and mussels, cohabit training areas where SO are released therefore, the impact of SO on the vitality and survivability of aquatic TES must be ascertained. Fog oil, graphite smoke, and colored signal smokes are among the most commonly used SO. This paper details specific experiments within the larger framework of a multi-year project investigating the direct and indirect impacts of these SO on two potential prey of TE fish, Daphnia magna a filter feeding, planktonic crustacean and Chironomus tentans a benthic midge, using endpoints of mortality and fecundity. Characterization of the surface deposition and water column dissolution of these SO is necessary to understanding potential effects on aquatic biota. While the study aims at development of methodology for testing more specific hypotheses regarding SO impacts on aquatic TES, field measurement of relevant exposure concentrations to be presented separately in Cropek et al. 2005 complimented by simultaneous field toxicity testing is an essential component. Acute field toxicity data obtained for Daphnia magna and Chironomus tentans exposed to fog oil, fog oil plus graphite, and colored smoke grenades are presented here and will serve to calibrate future controlled laboratory exposures.

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  • Ecology

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