111 research outputs found

    Are ecosystem services provided by insects “bugged” by micro (nano)plastics?

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    Although the study of the effects of microplastics increased in the last years, terrestrial ecosystems remain less studied. In fact, the effects of microplastics in insects, the most abundant group of animals and major providers of key Ecosystem Services, are not well known despite the potential cascading negative effects on the ecosystems functioning in the habitats where they occur. In this paper, a revision on available studies on microplastics contamination is provided and potential consequences to major Ecosystem Services provided by insects are discussed, using the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) methodology. The revision underpinned probable and potential impacts for all tree CICES divisions, i.e.: Provision, Regulation and Maintenance and Cultural Services. The available studies seem to show that different groups react differently to microplastics contamination, which clearly indicates that the effects in Ecosystem Services provided by insects need a more empirical and targeted approach.publishe

    Impacts of the combined exposure to seawater acidification and arsenic on the proteome of Crassostrea angulata and Crassostrea gigas

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    Proteomic analysis was performed to compare the effects of Arsenic (As), seawater acidification (Low pH) and the combination of both stressors (Low pH + As) on Crassostrea angulata and Crassostrea gigas juveniles in the context of global environmental change. This study aimed to elucidate if two closely related Crassostrea species respond similarly to these environmental stressors, considering both single and combined exposures, to infer if the simultaneous exposure to both stressors induced a differentiated response. Identification of the most important differentially expressed proteins between conditions revealed marked differences in the response of each species towards single and combined exposures, evidencing species-related differences towards each experimental condition. Moreover, protein alterations observed in the combined exposure (Low pH + As) were substantially different from those observed in single exposures. Identified proteins and their putative biological functions revealed an array of modes of action in each condition. Among the most important, those involved in cellular structure (Actin, Atlastin, Severin, Gelsolin, Coronin) and extracellular matrix modulation (Ependymin, Tight junction ZO-1, Neprilysin) were strongly regulated, although in different exposure conditions and species. Data also revealed differences regarding metabolic modulation capacity (ATP β, Enolase, Aconitate hydratase) and oxidative stress response (Aldehyde dehydrogenase, Lactoylglutathione, Retinal dehydrogenase) of each species, which also depended on single or combined exposures, illustrating a different response capacity of both oyster species to the presence of multiple stressors. Interestingly, alterations of piRNA abundance in C. angulata suggested genome reconfiguration in response to multiple stressors, likely an important mode of action related to adaptive evolution mechanisms previously unknown to oyster species, which requires further investigation. The present findings provide a deeper insight into the complexity of C. angulata and C. gigas responses to environmental stress at the proteome level, evidencing different capacities to endure abiotic changes, with relevance regarding the ecophysiological fitness of each species and competitive advantages in a changing environment.Centro-01-0145-FEDER-000018info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Histological evaluation of the exposure to 3,4-dichloroaniline in the estuarine mysid mesopodopsis slabberi, under experimental conditions

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    This work presents an experimental approach to test Mesopodopsis slabberi as a potential indicator of pollution. The toxic effects of 3,4-dichloroaniline (DCA) on the histology of this estuarine mysid were studied. After an acclimation period of two days, the mysids were exposed to different sublethal 3,4-DCA concentrations (0.10, 0.30, 0.50, 0.90, 1.00, 1.10, 1.20, 1.30 and 1.40 mg/L), for a period of 48 h. Each concentration had seven replicates, and one control. After the exposure period, organisms were sacrificed and submitted to a standard histological proce- dure with some modifications. Histological effects were analyzed in several tissues and damages were found in organisms exposed to concentrations higher then 0.30 mg/L. Muscular tissue, cuticular lens and gonads were clearly affected by 3,4-DCA, presenting accumulations of this toxic substance and lesions on the structures

    Ecosystem Services Provided by the Little Things That Run the World

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    Highest extinction risk and consequently biodiversity loss are predicted to occur in invertebrates, specifically insects, and these declines are expected to cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Although this knowledge is intrinsically present in more traditional communities, in more urban environments, mapping ecosystem services can be an important tool to raise people’s awareness on the importance of preserving insect diversity. After an extensive revision of the available literature, we used a rule-based approach to assess the provisioning, regulating and maintenance, and cultural services delivered by insects. We followed the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) and identified several potential indicators that may help underpin the mapping and valuation of the services delivered by insects. From our search, we extracted a total of 73 indicators, divided as 17 Provisional indicators, 27 Regulation and Maintenance indicators, and 29 Cultural indicators. We concluded that insects are providers of services in the three major ‘Sections’ of ecosystem services defined by CICES. Despite the lack of recognition of provisioning and cultural services, the indicators provided may help to raise awareness on the importance of the little things the run the world, in order to preserve traditional and technological uses of insects and their services

    Spillover effects of a community-managed marine reserve

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    The value of no-take marine reserves as fisheries-management tools is controversial, particularly in high-poverty areas where human populations depend heavily on fish as a source of protein. Spillover, the net export of adult fish, is one mechanism by which no-take marine reserves may have a positive influence on adjacent fisheries. Spillover can contribute to poverty alleviation, although its effect is modulated by the number of fishermen and fishing intensity. In this study, we quantify the effects of a community-managed marine reserve in a high poverty area of Northern Mozambique. For this purpose, underwater visual censuses of reef fish were undertaken at three different times: 3 years before (2003), at the time of establishment (2006) and 6 years after the marine reserve establishment (2012). The survey locations were chosen inside, outside and on the border of the marine reserve. Benthic cover composition was quantified at the same sites in 2006 and 2012. After the reserve establishment, fish sizes were also estimated. Regression tree models show that the distance from the border and the time after reserve establishment were the variables with the strongest effect on fish abundance. The extent and direction of the spillover depends on trophic group and fish size. Poisson Generalized Linear Models show that, prior to the reserve establishment, the survey sites did not differ but, after 6 years, the abundance of all fish inside the reserve has increased and caused spillover of herbivorous fish. Spillover was detected 1km beyond the limit of the reserve for small herbivorous fishes. Six years after the establishment of a community-managed reserve, the fish assemblages have changed dramatically inside the reserve, and spillover is benefitting fish assemblages outside the reserve

    Molecular mechanisms of zinc toxicity in the potworm Enchytraeus crypticus, analysed by high-throughput gene expression profiling

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    Zinc (Zn) is known to be relatively toxic to some soil-living invertebrates including the ecologically important enchytraeid worms. To reveal the molecular mechanisms of zinc toxicity we assessed the gene expression profile of Enchytraeus crypticus (Enchytraeidae), exposed to the reproduction effect concentrations EC10 and EC50, over 4 consecutive days, using a high-throughput microarray (species customized). Three main mechanisms of toxicity to Zn were observed: 1) Zn trafficking (upregulation of zinc transporters, a defence response to regulate the cellular zinc level), 2) oxidative stress (variety of defence mechanisms, triggered by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)), and 3) effects on the nervous system (possibly the primary lesion explaining the avoidance behaviour and also why enchytraeids are relatively susceptible to Zn). The adverse outcome at the organism level (reproduction EC50) could be predicted based on gene expression (male gonad development, oocyte maturation), with Zn at the EC50 affecting processes related to higher stress levels. The gene expression response was time-dependent and reflected the cascade of events taking place over-time. The 1 to 4 days of exposure design was a good strategy as it captured the time for sequence of events towards zinc adverse outcomes in E. crypticus

    Bioaccumulation and biochemical patterns of Ruditapes philippinarum clams: responses to seasonality and low contamination levels

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    Shellfish farming and shellfish harvesting have been practiced for a long time in the Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal). Among commercial bivalves, Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum represents one of the most important species inhabiting this coastal system. Introduced in Portugal in 1984, naturalised R. philippinarum clam populations have been subjected to several pressures that may threaten this resource sustainable management: illegal fishing, harvesting in chemically polluted sites with impacts on human health and lack of control in terms of productivity with the risk of a progressive decline of the biomass. On behalf of the ASARISAFE project (with the title Safety and sustainable management of valuable clam product in Portugal and China) the environmental quality of Manila clam harvesting sites was evaluated, focusing on inorganic pollution and health status of clams in terms of bioaccumulation as well as biochemical performance. Seasonal sampling campaigns were conducted in six R. philippinarum harvesting areas evaluating inorganic pollution levels, in clam's tissues, sediment and water. Clams biochemical performance in terms of metabolism, energy reserves and oxidative stress was also assessed. The results obtained showed that mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As) were the elements with the highest BAF (Bioaccumulation factor) values, but contamination levels in tissues and sediments varied among sampling areas and seasonal campaigns. The amount of clams consumed per week to exceed Provisional Tolerable Week Intake (PTWI, kg) was the lowest for As, revealing that less 0.05 kg of clams was enough to exceed PTWI. However, the results obtained further demonstrated that the clam's biochemical performance was not responding to tissues contamination levels but were closely related to seasons, with distinct metabolic capacity and oxidative stress levels among distinct sampling periods during the year.publishe

    The use of comet assay to assess global DNA methylation in human biomonitoring studies

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    The Comet assay is a valuable tool for the detection of DNA damage in genotoxicity and human biomonitoring studies. Throughout the years, this biomarker has undergone several adaptations in their protocol in order to increase its sensitivity and the possible outcomes. By including an additional step of DNA digestion with lesion-specific endonucleases, the comet assay can provide information regarding the type of DNA damage detected in cells. The use of these enzymes has also allowed the development of a methylation-sensitive modified version of the comet assay. This version enables the routine measurement of global methylation, as well as CpG island DNA methylation in a variety of cells while simultaneously determining the genetic integrity of examined cells (Wentzel, 2012). Briefly, it makes use of isochizomeric restriction enzymes HpaII and MspI (that display differential sensitivity to DNA methylation) to characterize methylation outside CpG islands and restriction enzyme NotI to determine DNA methylation in CpG islands. The technique has been recently adapted to a medium-throughput version (Lewies, 2014) that allows the simultaneous analysis of a larger number of samples and overcomes some technical problems. Nevertheless, this technique has not yet been carried out in human biomonitoring studies. In this context, the aim of this work was to make use of this version of the comet assay to characterize global DNA methylation in approximately 50 human samples. Samples were analysed by the methylation-sensitive modified version of the comet assay (medium-throughput) and by ELISA based assay. Data obtained with both methods were compared and reproducibility of the methylation-sensitive modified version of the comet assay determined. Results obtained contribute to knowledge on the feasibility of this version of the comet assay and its possible usage in human biomonitoring studies as an epigenetic biomarker.This work was supported by The Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) through CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2013) and CNRS/INEE - National Center for Scientific Research/Institute of Ecology and Environment, via OHMI – International Observatory Hommes-Millieux. Carla Costa and Marta S. Monteiro are supported by the grants SFRH/BPD/96196/2013 and SFRH/BPD/45911/2008, respectively, funded by FCT (QREN – POPH – Type 4.1 – Advanced training, subsidized by the European Social Fund and national funds of MEC)

    Toxicokinetics of Ag in the terrestrial isopod Porcellionides pruinosus exposed to Ag NPs and AgNO3 via soil and food

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    Silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) have been used in numerous consumer products and may enter the soil through the land application of biosolids. However, little is known about the relationship between Ag NP exposure and their bioavailability for soil organisms. This study aims at comparing the uptake and elimination kinetics of Ag upon exposures to different Ag forms (NPs and ionic Ag (as AgNO3)) in the isopod Porcellionides pruinosus. Isopods were exposed to contaminated Lufa 2.2 soil or alder leaves as food. Uptake and elimination rate constants for soil exposure did not significantly differ between Ag NPs and ionic Ag at 30 and 60 mg Ag/kg. For dietary exposure, the uptake rate constant was up to 5 times higher for Ag NPs than for AgNO3, but this was related to feeding activity and exposure concentrations, while no difference in the elimination rate constants was found. When comparing both routes, dietary exposure resulted in lower Ag uptake rate constants but elimination rate constants did not differ. A fast Ag uptake was observed from both routes and most of the Ag taken up seemed not to be eliminated. Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence showed Ag in the S-cells of the hepatopancreas, thus supporting the observations from the kinetic experiment (i.e. low elimination). In addition, our results show that isopods have an extremely high Ag accumulation capacity, suggesting the presence of an efficient Ag storage compartment
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