Water Pollution and Fish Physiology: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Water Pollution and Fish Physiology

2nd Edition

By Alan G. Heath

CRC Press

384 pages

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pub: 1995-09-14
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This book provides a concise synthesis of how toxic chemical pollutants affect physiological processes in teleost fish. This Second Edition of the well-received Water Pollution and Fish Physiology has been completely updated, and chapters have been added on immunology and acid toxicity. The emphasis, as in the first edition, is on understanding mechanisms of sublethal effects on fish and their responses to these environmental stressors.

The first chapter covers the basic principles involved in understanding how fish respond, in general, to environmental alterations. Each subsequent chapter is devoted to a particular organ system or physiological function and begins with a short overview of normal physiology of that system/function. This is followed by a review of how various toxic chemicals may alter normal conditions in fish. Chapters covering environmental hypoxia, behavior, cellular enzymes, and acid toxicity are also included. The book closes with a discussion on the practical application of physiological and biochemical measurements of fish in water pollution control in research and regulatory settings.

Table of Contents

Some Introductory Concepts

Types of Water Pollution

The Relationship Between Aquatic Toxicology and Fish Physiology

Levels of Biological Organization

Importance of Dose and Duration of Exposure


Toxic Mode of Action

Environmental Hypoxia

Minimum Levels of Oxygen Required for Fish Life

Interaction of Hypoxia and Toxicity of Pollutant Chemicals

Gill vs. Cutaneous Respiration

Adjustments in Ventilation

Adjustments by the Gills to Hypoxia

Transport of Oxygen by the Blood

Cardiovascular Changes During Hypoxia

Respiratory Regulation and Conformity

Anaerobic Metabolism

Swimming Speed


Blood and Urine


Acclimation to Hypoxia

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Responses

Overview of Normal Respiratory Physiology

Histopathology of Gill Lamellae Exposed to Pollutants

Ventilation Changes in Response to Pollutants

Physiological Mechanisms of Changes in Ventilation

Circulatory Physiology

Cardiac Responses to Pollutants


Fish Blood Cells and their Measurement

Chemicals that Cause Anemia

Chemicals Causing an Increase in Hematological Variables

Uptake, Accumulation, Biotransformation, and Excretion of Xenobiotics

Uptake from the Environment

Transport Within the Fish of Metals and Organics

Accumulation of Metals in Different Organs

Regulation of Metal Concentration

Glutathione and Metal Detoxification

Involvement of Metallothionein in Metal Accumulation and Acclimation to Metals

Bioconcentration of Organic Pollutants

Biotransformation of Organic Contaminants

Excretion of Organic Contaminants


Structure of Liver

Alterations of Liver/Somatic Index

Histopathological Effects of Pollutants

Major Functions of Liver

Effects of Pollutants on Liver Function

Ascorbic Acid and Pollutant Exposure

Osmotic and Ionic Regulation

Effects of Pollutants on Osmotic and Ionic Regulation


Chloride Cell Proliferation

Some Summary Comments Regarding Osmoregulatory and Electrolyte Alterations

Physiological Energetics

General Concepts

Methods for Measuring Energy Expenditure in Fish

Effects of Metals on Metabolic Rate

Gill Tissue Metabolism: Effects of Metals and Possible Relation of Gill Metabolism to Whole-Body Metabolic Rate

Effects of Pesticides on Whole-Body and Individual Tissue Respiration

Methods Applicable to Measurement of Energy Expenditure in the Field

Effects of Pollutants on Larval and Juvenile Growth

Swimming Performance

Changes in Carbohydrate, Lipid, and Protein Energy Stores

Alterations in Cellular Enzyme Activity, Antioxidants, Adenylates, and Stress Proteins

Some Comments About Enzyme Methodology

Alterations in Cellular Enzyme Activity from Metal Exposure

Enzyme Effects from Organic Chemicals

Concluding Remarks on Enzyme Effects



Stress Proteins

Acid Pollution


Embryonic Development and Hatching

Larvae from Hatching Through Swim-Up

Juvenile and Adult: Acid-Base Balance and Electrolyte Changes from Acute Exposures

Juvenile and Adult: Blood Changes from Chronic Exposures

Hormonal Responses

Adults: Ventilation and Blood Gases

Oxygen Consumption, Swimming Performance, and Swimbladder Inflation


Concluding Comment

The Immune System

Effects of Pollutants on Immune Function

Hormonal Modulation of Immune Response

Behavior and Nervous System Function

Locomotor Activity

Avoidance of or Attractance to Waterborne Chemicals

Sensory Receptors

Feeding and Predator-Prey Behavior



Optomotor Response


Concluding Comments


Overview of Fish Reproductive Physiology

Action of Pollutants on Reproductive Function

Use of Physiological and Biochemical Measures in Pollution Biology

Water Quality Criteria

Biomonitoring of Fish in the Field and Mesocosms

Early Warning Systems


Each chapter includes an introduction and/or overview and a list of relevant references.

About the Author

Heath\, Alan G.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Marine Biology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply