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Title: Etiology of gas bubble disease

Abstract

Gas bubble disease is a noninfectious, physically induced process caused by uncompensated hyperbaric pressure of total dissolved gases. When pressure compensation is inadequate, dissolved gases may form emboli (in blood) and emphysema (in tissues). The resulting abnormal physical presence of gases can block blood vessels (hemostasis) or tear tissues, and may result in death. Population mortality is generally skewed, in that the median time to death occurs well before the average time to death. Judged from mortality curves, three stages occur in gas bubble disease: (1) a period of gas pressure equilibrium, nonlethal cavitation, and increasing morbidity; (2) a period of rapid and heavy mortality; and (3) a period of protracted survival, despite lesions, and dysfunction that eventually terminates in total mortality. Safe limits for gas supersaturation depend on species tolerance and on factors that differ among hatcheries and rivers, between continuous and intermittent exposures, and across ranges of temperature and salinity.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Fish and Wildlife Service, Seattle, WA
OSTI Identifier:
6642479
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 6642479
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Trans. Am. Fish. Soc.; (United States); Journal Volume: 109:6
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; FISHES; SENSITIVITY; GAS BUBBLE DISEASE; ETIOLOGY; AIR; AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS; ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; EMBOLI; EMPHYSEMA; FRESH WATER; MORTALITY; POPULATIONS; SOLUBILITY; SUPERSATURATION; SURVIVAL CURVES; TOLERANCE; ANIMALS; AQUATIC ORGANISMS; DISEASES; ECOSYSTEMS; FLUIDS; GASES; HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; RESPIRATORY SYSTEM DISEASES; SATURATION; VASCULAR DISEASES; VERTEBRATES; WATER 560204* -- Thermal Effects-- Invertebrates-- (-1987); 550900 -- Pathology; 560400 -- Other Environmental Pollutant Effects

Citation Formats

Bouck, G.R. Etiology of gas bubble disease. United States: N. p., 1980. Web. doi:10.1577/1548-8659(1980)109<703:EOGBD>2.0.CO;2.
Bouck, G.R. Etiology of gas bubble disease. United States. doi:10.1577/1548-8659(1980)109<703:EOGBD>2.0.CO;2.
Bouck, G.R. Sat . "Etiology of gas bubble disease". United States. doi:10.1577/1548-8659(1980)109<703:EOGBD>2.0.CO;2.
@article{osti_6642479,
title = {Etiology of gas bubble disease},
author = {Bouck, G.R.},
abstractNote = {Gas bubble disease is a noninfectious, physically induced process caused by uncompensated hyperbaric pressure of total dissolved gases. When pressure compensation is inadequate, dissolved gases may form emboli (in blood) and emphysema (in tissues). The resulting abnormal physical presence of gases can block blood vessels (hemostasis) or tear tissues, and may result in death. Population mortality is generally skewed, in that the median time to death occurs well before the average time to death. Judged from mortality curves, three stages occur in gas bubble disease: (1) a period of gas pressure equilibrium, nonlethal cavitation, and increasing morbidity; (2) a period of rapid and heavy mortality; and (3) a period of protracted survival, despite lesions, and dysfunction that eventually terminates in total mortality. Safe limits for gas supersaturation depend on species tolerance and on factors that differ among hatcheries and rivers, between continuous and intermittent exposures, and across ranges of temperature and salinity.},
doi = {10.1577/1548-8659(1980)109<703:EOGBD>2.0.CO;2},
journal = {Trans. Am. Fish. Soc.; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 109:6,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 1980},
month = {Sat Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 1980}
}
  • Chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta alevin developing in gravel habitats downstream of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River are exposed to elevated levels of total dissolved gas (TDG) when water is spilled at the dam to move migrating salmon smolts downstream to the Pacific Ocean. Current water quality criteria for the management of dissolved gas in dam tailwaters were developed primarily to protect salmonid smolts and are assumed to be protective of alevin if adequate depth compensation is provided. We studied whether chum salmon alevin exposed to six levels of dissolved gas ranging from 100% to 130% TDG at three developmentmore » periods between hatch and emergence (hereafter early, middle, and late stage) suffered differential mortality, growth, gas bubble disease, or seawater tolerance. Each life stage was exposed for 50 d (early stage), 29 d (middle stage), or 16 d (late stage) beginning at 13, 34, and 37 d post-hatch, respectively, through 50% emergence. The mortality for all stages from exposure to emergence was estimated to be 8% (95% confidence interval (CI) of 4% to 12%) when dissolved gas levels were between 100% and 117% TDG. Mortality significantly increased as dissolved gas levels rose above 117% TDG,; with the lethal concentration that produced 50% mortality (LC50 ) was estimated to be 128.7% TDG (95% CI of 127.2% to 130.2% TDG) in the early and middle stages. By contrast, there was no evidence that dissolved gas level significantly affected growth in any life stage except that the mean wet weight at emergence of early stage fish exposed to 130% TDG was significantly less than the modeled growth of unexposed fish. The proportion of fish afflicted with gas bubble disease increased with increasing gas concentrations and occurred most commonly in the nares and gastrointestinal tract. Early stage fish exhibited higher ratios of filament to lamellar gill chloride cells than late stage fish, and these ratios increased and decreased for early and late stage fish, respectively, as gas levels increased; however, there were no significant differences in mortality between life stages after 96 h in seawater. The study results suggest that current water quality guidelines for the management of dissolved gas appear to offer a conservative level of protection to chum salmon alevin incubating in gravel habitat downstream of Bonneville Dam.« less
  • In 1975 and 1976, 179 smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) and 85 northern squawfish (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) were collected by angling from the lower Snake and mid-Columbia rivers, southeastern Washington. All fish were examined externally for gas bubble syndrome. Emboli were found beneath membranes of the opercula, body, and fins of 72% of the smallmouth bass and 84% of the northern squawfish. Hemorrhage was also noted on the caudal, anal, and pectoral fins of several smallmouth bass. Presence of gas bubble syndrome corresponded to the spring runoff when total dissolved gas supersaturations in river water exceeded 115%.
  • Gas bubble disease below Harry S. Truman Dam, sited on the upper Osage River and spilling into Lake of the Ozarks, caused the largest fish kill on record in Missouri. This is the first recorded evidence of serious supersaturation in the Midwest. Total gas saturation levels up to 139% killed nearly a half million fish in the upper 85 km of the Osage Arm, Lake of the Ozarks, during April to June, 1978 and 1979. Gas supersaturation occurred throughout the 150 km of this main-stem reservoir. Nitrogen was the primary gas responsible for gas bubble disease mortalities. Pelagic and near-shoremore » species suffered the earliest and heaviest mortalities, but fish characteristic of deeper waters were increasingly killed as supersaturation persisted. Instream cage bioassays defined the zone of lethal supersaturation. Significant mortality occurred in bottom-dwelling fish of several species, due to long-term intermittent exposure. Susceptibility to gas bubble disease was related to fish size.« less
  • The occurrence of gas-bubble disease in fish in the heated effluents from power plants has been well documented. The cause of the disease has been ascribed to oxygen and nitrogen supersaturation of the heated discharge (Adair and Hains, 1974; Miller, 1974). It is the author's hypothesis that gas supersaturation is a necessary condition but that the disease is triggered by cold stress. Osmoregulatory failure occurs in cold-stressed fish (Block, 1974). Variations in plasma proteins, osmolarity, glucose, chloride, and hematocrit values in fish after exposure to acute cold stress should be sufficient to release dissolved gases in the blood from solution.more » All reported incidents of gas-bubble disease at thermal-electric stations have occurred in the winter when the possibility of cold stress existed. Field observations (Miller, 1974; Demont and Miller, 1971) have indicated that the frequency of gas-bubble disease varies greatly. A possible cause of this wide range of occurrence is the relationship of natural fluctuations in ambient winter water temperatures to the operating regime of the associated thermal-electric stations. These variations in water temperature affect the probability of an organism, acclimated to temperatures of the discharge plume, leaving the plume long enough to become cold stressed. Observation of apparently healthy tiger barbs (Barbus spp.) subjected to cold stress showed a high incidence of pop-eye, a symptom of gas-bubble disease. Experimentation is needed to determine which physiological response actually results in the release of gas from solution. Without this basic knowledge, attempts to alleviate the problem may be unnecessarily expensive; Entire note, except citations.« less
  • Supersaturation of the Columbia and Snake River systems was caused by entrainment of air into water spilling over hydroelectric dams. Total gas saturations of 100% or more have occurred during the spring in each river system. External signs of gas bubble diseases were noted in adult Smallmouth bass and northern squawfish collected from the lower Snake and mid-Columbia rivers during 1975-76. Emboli occurred beneath membranes of the opercula body, and fins of 72% of the smallmouth bass and 84% of the northern squawfish. Hemorrhage was also noted on the caudal, anal, and pectoral fins of several fish.