John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Living on the edge: Populations of two zooplankton species living closer to agricultural fields are more resistant to a common insecticide

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ecological communities across the globe are exposed to a diversity of natural and anthropogenic stressors and disturbances that can lead to community‐wide impacts. Contaminants are a group of anthropogenic disturbances that are ubiquitous in the environment and can trigger trophic cascades, increased susceptibility to pathogens, reduced biodiversity, and altered ecosystems. In these ecosystems, there has been a lot of attention given to evolved resistance in targeted pest species, but little attention has been given to the evolution of resistance in non‐target species in nature. We used laboratory toxicity tests to determine if two common, co‐occurring species of freshwater zooplankton (Simocephalus vetulus and Daphnia pulex) showed population‐level variation in sensitivity to a common insecticide (chlorpyrifos). For both species, we found that populations living near agricultural fields—a proxy for pesticide use—were more resistant to chlorpyrifos than populations collected from ponds far from agriculture, which is consistent with the evolution of resistance to pesticides. To our knowledge, only one previous study (using Daphnia magna) has demonstrated this relationship. Collectively, these results suggest that evolved resistance may be common in zooplankton populations located near agriculture. Moreover, because zooplankton play a key role in aquatic food webs, we would expect population variation in resistance to dramatically alter aquatic food webs, particularly when exposed to low concentrations of insecticides. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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