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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Wastewater effluent affects behaviour and metabolomic endpoints in damselfly larvae

Spath, Jana; Fick, Jerker; McCallum, Erin; Cerveny, Daniel; Nording, Malin L.; Brodin, Tomas

Abstract

Wastewater treatment plant effluents have been identified as a major contributor to increasing anthropogenic pollution in aquatic environments worldwide. Yet, little is known about the potentially adverse effects of wastewater treatment plant effluent on aquatic invertebrates. In this study, we assessed effects of wastewater effluent on the behaviour and metabolic profiles of damselfly larvae (Coenagrion hastulatum), a common aquatic invertebrate species. Four key behavioural traits: activity, boldness, escape response, and foraging (traits all linked tightly to individual fitness) were studied in larvae before and after one week of exposure to a range of effluent dilutions (0, 50, 75, 100%). Effluent exposure reduced activity and foraging, but generated faster escape response. Metabolomic analyses via targeted and non-targeted mass spectrometry methods revealed that exposure caused significant changes to 14 individual compounds (4 amino acids, 3 carnitines, 3 lysolipids, 1 peptide, 2 sugar acids, 1 sugar). Taken together, these compound changes indicate an increase in protein metabolism and oxidative stress. Our findings illustrate that wastewater effluent can affect both behavioural and physiological traits of aquatic invertebrates, and as such might pose an even greater threat to aquatic ecosystems than previously assumed. More long-term studies are now needed evaluate if these changes are linked to adverse effects on fitness. The combination of behavioural and metabolomic assessments provide a promising tool for detecting effects of wastewater effluent, on multiple biological levels of organisation, in aquatic ecosystems.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2022, volume: 12, article number: 6830
Publisher: NATURE PORTFOLIO

Authors' information

Spath, Jana
Umeå University
Fick, Jerker
Umeå University
McCallum, Erin (Mc Callum, Erin)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
University of South Bohemia Ceske Budejovice
Nording, Malin L.
Umeå University
Umeå University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water
SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science
Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-10805-9

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/117166