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Modes of chemical exposure: Groundwater and surface water entry of atrazine and effects on social behavior
Aquatic organisms commonly encounter anthropogenic pollutants in their environment that induce negative physiological and behavioral changes. Previous work on chemical dispersion has established that exposure pattern of contaminants can differ depending on the method that the toxins are introduced to aquatic system (Edwards and Moore, 2015; Lahman and Moore, 2015; Sanford, 1997; Wolf, et al., 2014). The variation of chemical plume structure as a result of mode of entry may cause differing exposure regimes to a contaminant instigating varying effects to behavioral responses of aquatic organisms. The goal of this study is to understand how differing routes of exposure to toxins may alter social behaviors displayed by aquatic invertebrates. This study will use agonistic encounters in the native crayfish, Orconectes virilis, as a behavioral assay to investigate impact of sublethal concentrations of atrazine delivered in varying modes of introduction. Preceding research has shown that agonistic behavior, a social behavior commonly exhibited by crayfish, is important ecology and allocation resources for these keystone species (Bovbjerg, 1953; Martin and Moore, 2010; Wofford, Earley, and Moore, 2015). Given the dearth of research within this area of ecotoxicology, a significant gap in knowledge exists relating toxicant entry and organism behavior and I aim to fill this gap with my dissertation work.