Laboratory-based comparison for the effects of environmental stressors supports field evidence for the relative importance of pollution on life history and behavior of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis

Emily M. Moore*, Mhairi E. Alexander, Katherine A. Sloman, M. Glória Pereira, Sarah A. Thacker, Frances Orton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate globally, with freshwater ecosystems particularly threatened. Field-based correlational studies have "ranked" stressors according to their relative effects on freshwater biota, however, supporting cause-effect data from laboratory exposures are lacking. Here, we designed exposures to elicit chronic effects over equivalent exposure ranges for three ubiquitous stressors (temperature: 22-28 °C; pollution [14 component mixture]: 0.05-50 μg/L; invasive predator cue [signal crayfish, Pacifasticus leniusculus]: 25-100% cue) and investigated effects on physiological end points in the pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis). All stressors reduced posthatch survival at their highest exposure levels, however, highly divergent effects were observed at lower test levels. Temperature stimulated hatching, growth, and reproduction, whereas pollution delayed hatching, decreased growth, reduced egg number/embryo viability, and induced avoidance behavior. The invasive predator cue stimulated growth and reduced embryo viability. In agreement with field-based ranking of stressors, pollution was identified as having the most severe effects in our test system. We demonstrate here the utility of laboratory studies to effectively determine hierarchy of stressors according to their likelihood of causing harm in the field, which has importance for conservation. Finally, we report negative impacts on life-history traits central to population stability (survival/reproduction) at the lowest pollution level tested (0.05 μg/L).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8806-8816
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume55
Issue number13
Early online date25 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • pollution
  • temperature
  • climate change
  • invasive species
  • freshwater
  • Mollusca
  • multiple stressor
  • ecotoxicology

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