Interactive effects of contaminants and climate-related stressors: High temperature increases sensitivity to cadmium

Authors

  • David A. Kimberly,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Environmental Toxicology, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA
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  • Christopher J. Salice

    1. Department of Environmental Toxicology, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA
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Address correspondence to david.kimberly@tiehh.ttu.edu.

Abstract

An emerging issue in environmental toxicology is in understanding how climate change will alter responses of organisms to chemical contaminants. The objective of the present study was to characterize the interactive effects of cadmium and elevated temperature on life-stage-specific responses in the freshwater snail Physa pomilia. We exposed developing eggs, juveniles, and adults to Cd (5 µg/L, 15 µg/L, and 25 µg/L for eggs, and 250 µg/L for juveniles and adults) and 2 temperatures of 25 °C (control) and 35 °C (upper range of tolerance). In the absence of Cd, time to hatch was shorter at 35 °C compared with 25 °C, demonstrating a stimulatory effect of the higher temperature. However, when egg masses were reared at 35 °C and exposed to Cd, hatching success was significantly lower, and time-to-hatching was significantly longer. The effects of the higher temperature and Cd on newly hatched neonate survival were additive, except at the highest Cd concentration, at which effects of the 2 stressors were greater than additive. Overall, within the combined stressor treatments, adult snails generally survived significantly longer than did juvenile snails, and both were more tolerant than developing snails. Many climate projection models predict future increases in global temperatures. The present study shows that combined stressors may produce greater-than-additive effects, challenging predictive power. More studies are needed to better characterize the interactive effects of chemical contaminants and stressors related to climate change. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:1337–1343. © 2013 SETAC

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