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Effects of increased temperature, drought, and an insecticide on freshwater zooplankton communities

The study evaluates the impact of high temperatures and extreme drought conditions on zooplankton communities, in combination with the toxic effect of an insecticide (lufenuron). The experiment was carried out for two months, assessing the effect on the structure of the zooplankton community and the capacity to recover under different environmental scenarios. The results show that lufenuron-related response was faster at high temperature, but the recovery capacity of the community resisting these conditions was higher too. Still, enhanced effects were observed on some taxa (Daphnia sp., Cyclopoida, and Copepoda nauplii), which may need consideration in further studies. The tested zooplankton community had a high resilience to drought, although some particular taxa were severely affected after desiccation (Calanoida). Drought and complete desiccation were the main drivers when assessed in combination with the insecticide, but rewetting after desiccation contributed to lufenuron remobilization from sediments and resulted in a slight Cyclopoida population decline at high exposure concentrations. The study shows how environmental conditions related to global change in (semi-)arid regions may influence the vulnerability of zooplankton communities to chemical stress.

The article written by the Ecotoxicology group of IMDEA Agua in collaboration with the analytical lab, as part of the research project of the pre-doctoral researcher Alba Arenas on the effect of multiple stressors on Mediterranean aquatic communities, has been selected as February’s spotlight of the editor of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (linked journal to the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, SETAC).

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