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Testing hypotheses on the resistance to metals by Daphnia longispina: Differential acclimation, endpoints association, and fitness costs



Pollution by metals may lead to an increased tolerance in the exposed population through adaptive microevolution, with resistant genotypes becoming more abundant than in reference sites. This work investigated the outcomes associated with selection for resistance by testing three hypotheses to assess the following: Do resistant versus sensitive clonal lineages of Daphnia longispina differentially acclimate to metals during a long-term sublethal exposure, is there a significant correlation between lethal and sublethal responses, and does resistance to metals entail costs to fitness under uncontaminated conditions? No evidence of acclimation was observed. The median effective dilutions of acid mine drainage for reproduction were similar for successive broods within clones during long-term exposures. Lethal and sublethal responses were not correlated, indicating that mechanisms regulating the two types of response were more than likely different. Finally, fitness costs associated with the resistance to lethal levels of metals were not detected, but resistance to sublethal levels of Cu was found to be correlated with a lower intrinsic growth rate under control conditions. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:909–915. © 2012 SETAC