John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sublethal effects of the beta‐blocker sotalol at environmentally relevant concentrations on the New Zealand mud‐snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum

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Monitoring sublethal effects of pharmaceuticals on non‐target species in aquatic environments has become an important topic in ecotoxicology, yet there are few studies concerning the effects of beta‐blockers on aquatic organisms. We investigated the effects of the beta‐blocker sotalol at three environmentally relevant concentrations on life‐history traits of the New Zealand mud‐snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Based on the pharmacodynamic properties of sotalol, we hypothesized reduced numbers of embryos in the brood pouches, decelerated growth of adult snails, and smaller size of neonates, but no effect on mortality rates of adults. Contrary to our expectations, the total number of embryos was significantly higher after 56 days of exposure at nominal concentrations of 0.05 and 1.0 µg/L by 107 and 73%, respectively. No differences in embryo numbers were observed at earlier time‐points. Therefore, the mode of action seems to be an extension of the reproductive period rather than an increase of the embryo production. Furthermore, our results indicate a hormetic dose‐response‐relationship, as no effects were observed at the highest test‐concentration (6.5 µg/L). Mortality, growth of adult snails and neonate sizes were not affected by the beta‐blocker. Given the strong influence on reproduction, the effects of sublethal concentrations of sotalol and other beta‐blockers deserve better consideration in ecotoxicological risk assessment. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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