Sensitivity of a green alga to atrazine is not enhanced by previous acute exposure Academic Article uri icon

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  • Exposure to atrazine in small lotic systems can be episodic, with short-term pulses (peaks) followed by lower, decreasing concentrations. Algae and macrophytes recover rapidly from pulsed exposure to atrazine, but reported observations of population response to subsequent exposures are minimal and inconclusive. Consequently, the sensitivity of Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata to atrazine following a pulsed exposure was assessed. Exposure concentrations reflected amplifications of those observed in streams from highly vulnerable watersheds in regions of intense use. Initial pulsed atrazine exposure at 0, 150 or 300 μg/L for 24-h was followed by 72-h exposure to 0, 5, 10, 25, or 50 μg/L. Measured responses were cell density, growth rate, chlorophyll-a, and maximum quantum yield of photosystem II. Algal recovery was rapid and prior pulsed exposure to atrazine did not significantly affect subsequent sensitivity (EC10s, EC25s) for any endpoint, indicating no changes in tolerance at the population level for this species.


  • Baxter, Leilan
  • Brain, Richard
  • Prosser, Ryan
  • Solomon, Keith
  • Hanson, Mark

publication date

  • October 2013