Toxicity of carbon dioxide to freshwater fishes: implications for aquatic invasive species management.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a new aquatic pesticide to control invasive Asian carps and other aquatic nuisance species in the United States. However, limited CO2 toxicity data could make it challenging for resource managers to characterize the potential risk to nontarget species during CO2 applications. The present study quantified the toxicity of CO2 to 2 native riverine fishes, bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), using 12-h continuous flow-through CO2 exposure at 5, 15, and 25°C water temperatures. Resulting survival indicated that bluegill (median lethal concentration [LC50] range 91-140 mg/L CO2) were more sensitive to CO2 than fathead minnow (LC50 range 235-306 mg/L CO2) across all water temperatures. Bluegill were also more sensitive to CO2 at 5°C (LC50 91 mg/L CO2, 95% CI 85-96 mg/L CO2) than at 25°C (LC50 140 mg/L CO2, 95% CI 135-146 mg/L CO2). Fathead minnow showed an opposite response and were less sensitive at 5°C (LC50 306 mg/L CO2, 95% CI 286-327 mg/L CO2) relative to 25°C (LC50 235 mg/L CO2, 95% CI 224-246 mg/L CO2). Our results show that CO2 toxicity can differ by species and water temperature. Data from the present study may inform decisions related to the use of CO2 as a control tool. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:2247-2255. Published 2020. This article is a U.S. government work and is in the public domain in the USA.