The community conditioning hypothesis and its application to environmental toxicology
community conditioning, jet fuels, microcosms, ecotoxicology
In this paper we present the community conditioning hypothesis, “ecological communities retain information about events in their history.” This hypothesis, which was derived from the concept of nonequilibrium community ecology, was developed as a framework for understanding the persistence of dose-related responses in multispecies toxicity tests. We present data from three standardized aquatic microcosm (SAM) toxicity tests using the water-soluble fractions from turbine fuels (Jet-A, JP- 4, and JP-8). In all three tests, the toxicants depressed the Daphnia populations for several weeks, which resulted in algal blooms in the dosed microcosms due to lower predation rates. These effects were short-lived, and by the second and third months of the experiments, the Daphnia populations appeared to have recovered. However, multivariate analysis of the data revealed dose/response differences that reappeared during the later part of the tests, often due to differences in other consumers (rotifers, ostracods, ciliates), or algae that are not normally consumed (filamentous green algae and bluegreen “algae”). Our findings are consistent with ecological theories that describe communities as the unique product of their etiologies. The implications of this to environmental toxicology are that almost all environmental events leave lasting effects, whether or not we have observed them.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Matthews, R.A., Landis, W.G. and Matthews, G.B. (1996), The community conditioning hypothesis and its application to environmental toxicology. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 15: 597-603. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5620150427
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