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Chemosphere. 2009 Feb;74(5):717-22. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.09.056. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Impacts of weathered tire debris on the development of Rana sylvatica larvae.

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Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, MD 21252-0001, USA.


Highway runoff has the potential to negatively impact receiving systems including stormwater retention ponds where highway particulate matter can accumulate following runoff events. Tire wear particles, which contain about 1% Zn by mass, make up approximately one-third of the vehicle derived particulates in highway runoff and therefore may serve as a stressor to organisms utilizing retention ponds as habitat. In this study, we focused on the potential contribution of tire debris to Zn accumulation by Rana sylvatica larvae and possible lethal or sublethal impacts resulting from exposure to weathered tire debris during development. Eggs and larvae were exposed to aged sediments (containing either ZnCl2 or tire particulate matter, both providing nominal concentrations of 1000 mg Zn kg(-1)) through metamorphosis. Water column Zn was elevated in both the ZnCl2 and tire treatments relative to the control treatment, indicating that aging allowed Zn leaching from tire debris to occur. Tissue Zn was also elevated for the ZnCl2 and tire treatments indicating that Zn in the treatments was available for uptake by the amphibians. Exposure to both ZnCl2 and tire treatments increased the time for larvae to complete metamorphosis in comparison with controls. We also observed that the longer the organisms took to complete metamorphosis, the smaller their mass at metamorphosis. Our results indicate that Zn leached from aged tire debris is bioavailable to developing R. sylvatica larvae and that exposure to tire debris amended sediments can result in measurable physiological outcomes to wood frogs that may influence population dynamics.

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