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Chloride and sulphate toxicity to Hydropsyche exocellata (Trichoptera, Hydropsychidae): Exploring intraspecific variation and sub-lethal endpoints

, : Chloride and sulphate toxicity to Hydropsyche exocellata (Trichoptera, Hydropsychidae): Exploring intraspecific variation and sub-lethal endpoints. Science of the Total Environment 566-567: 1032-1041

The rivers and streams of the world are becoming saltier due to human activities. In spite of the potential damage that salt pollution can cause on freshwater ecosystems, this is an issue that is currently poorly managed. Here we explored intraspecific differences in the sensitivity of freshwater fauna to two major ions (Cl(-) and SO4(2-)) using the net-spinning caddisfly Hydropsyche exocellata Dufour 1841 (Trichoptera, Hydropsychidae) as a model organism. We exposed H. exocellata to saline solutions (reaching a conductivity of 2.5mScm(-1)) with Cl(-):SO4(2-) ratios similar to those occurring in effluents coming from the meat, mining and paper industries, which release dissolved salts to rivers and streams in Spain. We used two different populations, coming from low and high conductivity streams. To assess toxicity, we measured sub-lethal endpoints: locomotion, symmetry of the food-capturing nets and oxidative stress biomarkers. According to biomarkers and net building, the population historically exposed to lower conductivities (B10) showed higher levels of stress than the population historically exposed to higher conductivities (L102). However, the differences between populations were not strong. For example, net symmetry was lower in the B10 than in the L102 only 48h after treatment was applied, and biomarkers showed a variety of responses, with no discernable pattern. Also, treatment effects were rather weak, i.e. only some endpoints, and in most cases only in the B10 population, showed a significant response to treatment. The lack of consistent differences between populations and treatments could be related to the high salt tolerance of H. exocellata, since both populations were collected from streams with relatively high conductivities. The sub-lethal effects tested in this study can offer an interesting and promising tool to monitor freshwater salinization by combining physiological and behavioural bioindicators.


PMID: 27312271

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.121

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