John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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

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An emerging issue in environmental toxicology is in understanding how climate change will alter responses of organisms to chemical contaminants. The objective of this 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 cadmium (5, 15, and 25 ug/L for eggs; 250 µg/L for juveniles and adults) and two temperatures of 25 (control) and 35° C (upper range of tolerance). In the absence of cadmium, time to hatch was shorter at 35° C compared to 25° C demonstrating a stimulatory effect of the higher temperature. However, when egg masses were reared at 35° C and exposed to cadmium, hatching success was significantly lower and time‐to‐hatching was significantly longer. The effects of the higher temperature and cadmium on newly hatched neonate survival were additive except at the highest cadmium concentration, where effects of the two 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. Our study showed that combined stressors may produce greater‐than‐additive effects, challenging our predictive power. More studies are needed to better characterize interactive effects of chemical contaminants and stressors related to climate change. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC

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