Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2021 Veronica A. Chua. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kit Yu Karen Chan


Emerging pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals from human waste, are continuously released into aquatic systems. Although pharmaceuticals alone can adversely impact marine organisms, the bioavailability of many pharmaceuticals are dependent on ambient physical conditions, like pH. As few studies have considered the interactive effects of pharmaceutical pollution and anthropogenic ocean acidification, this study investigated the behavioral response of larval sea urchins (Heliocidaris crassispina) and ascidians (Styela plicata) to environmentally-relevant concentrations of fluoxetine (10 and 100 ng L⁻¹) under ambient (pH 8.0) and acidified conditions (pH 7.7). Larval ascidians reared at pH 8.0 exhibited swam in slower, more directed paths with increasing fluoxetine. Interestingly, this effect was absent at pH 7.7. On the other hand, I only observed independent effects of fluoxetine and acidification on urchin swimming behavior. My findings highlight the importance of using behavioral endpoints when assessing the realistic sub-lethal organismal and ecological impacts of anthropogenic stressors, and that considering differences in species traits may allow for the generation of more realistic predictions of the impact of emerging pollutants under future climate scenarios.

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