Commentary: selenium study on endangered razorback sucker is flawed

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety



The razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) is listed as federally endangered throughout its range. A massive recovery effort by the Recovery Implementation Program for Endangered Fish Species in the Upper Colorado River Basin has focused its efforts in the upper Colorado River. The upper Colorado River basin also has two locations that have been identified by the National Irrigation Water Quality Program as having substantial selenium contamination. Selenium is toxic to fishes, affecting reproductive success. Thus, there is concern about potential effects of selenium on the endangered razorback sucker. Two sets of studies have investigated the effects of selenium on razorback suckers, but study results are conflicting. This commentary evaluates studies that claim selenium is not a problem for razorback sucker. We find that study bias was so pervasive that purported conclusions were unwarranted. Contaminated control water, older life stages of fish tested, lack of methodology for analysis of selenium in water, diet, or fish, use of rotifer food, low feeding rates, low growth rates of fish, and improper storage of site waters resulted in an apparent erroneous linkage of high selenium in whole-body residues with no adverse effects.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Commentary: selenium study on endangered razorback sucker is flawed
Series title Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
DOI 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2004.11.010
Volume 61
Issue 3
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 14 p.
First page 313
Last page 326
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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