In this study, the amphipod Gammarus aequicauda was evaluated as a test organism for use in sediment toxicity bioassays. Sensitivity to noncontaminant variables, to the reference toxicants and to some contaminated field sediments was analysed. Amphipods were tolerant to various salinity and temperature combinations during a ten-day assay. The organisms tested with different type of diet showed highest survival on the natural diet.

The organism density effect on survival and growth of Gammarus aequicauda during a 28-day assay was examined. The results indicated that the density did not affect survival and production, but the effect of density was significant on the average weight.

No effect on survival was observed on three sediment types during the 10-day exposure. Sensitivity to contaminants was assessed using cadmium chloride and copper chloride as reference toxicants in a 96 h water-only test. Methods were developed for conducting a short-term toxicity test with cadmium chloride-spiked sediment using this species. Water-only testing revealed high sensitivity of amphipods to reference toxicants. Experiments conducted with organisms of four different size classes demonstrated no significant differences in sensitivity.

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