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Effects of Sublethal Cadmium Exposure on Antipredator Behavioural and Antitoxic Responses in the Invasive Amphipod Dikerogammarus villosus

Abstract : Amphipods are recognised as an important component of freshwater ecosystems and are frequently used as an ecotoxicological test species. Despite this double interest, there is still a lack of information concerning toxic impacts on ecologically relevant behaviours. The present study investigated the influence of cadmium (Cd), a non-essential heavy metal, on both antipredator behaviours and antitoxic responses in the invasive amphipod Dikerogammarus villosus under laboratory conditions. Amphipod behaviour (i.e. refuge use, aggregation with conspecifics, exploration and mobility) was recorded following a 4-min test-exposure to 500 mg Cd/L with or without a 24-h Cd pre-exposure and in the presence or absence of a high perceived risk of predation (i.e. water scented by fish predators and injured conspecifics). Following behavioural tests, malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, a biomarker for toxic effect, and energy reserves (i.e. lipid and glycogen contents) were assessed. Cd exposures induced (1) cell damage reflected by high MDA levels, (2) erratic behaviour quantified by decreasing refuge use and exploration, and increasing mobility, and (3) a depletion in energy reserves. No significant differences were observed between 4-min test-exposed and 24-h pre-exposed individuals. Gammarids exposed to Cd had a disturbed perception of the alarm stimuli, reflected by increased time spent outside of refuges and higher mobility compared to gammarids exposed to unpolluted water. Our results suggest that Cd exposure rapidly disrupts the normal behavioural responses of gammarids to alarm substances and alters predator-avoidance strategies, which could have potential impacts on aquatic communities.
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[17] Sornom et al 2012.pdf
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Pascal Sornom, Eric Gismondi, Céline Vellinger, Simon Devin, Jean-François Ferard, et al.. Effects of Sublethal Cadmium Exposure on Antipredator Behavioural and Antitoxic Responses in the Invasive Amphipod Dikerogammarus villosus. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (8), pp.e42435. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0042435⟩. ⟨hal-01726629⟩



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