The effects of temperature on nickel bioaccumulation and toxicity to the freshwater snail, Lymnaea stagnalis

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University of New Brunswick


Lymnaea stagnalis has been reported as the most sensitive freshwater species tested to date to chronic nickel (Ni) exposure. However, a wide range of Ni toxicity values have been observed for this species, in tests conducted at various temperatures from 18 to 26°C. This variability may be partially due to temperature effects on Ni bioaccumulation and toxicity. This research investigates temperature effects on chronic Ni bioaccumulation and toxicity to L. stagnalis. I assessed the effects of temperature and Ni on juvenile growth and survival over a 40-day toxicity test, and on Ni uptake and elimination rates in short-term tests. I observed an effect of temperature on juvenile growth and survival, with an optimum temperature of 27°C. Acute Ni toxicity was significantly exacerbated by an increase in temperature between 22 and 26°C, although this temperature change had limited effects on short-term Ni uptake and elimination rates, long-term bioaccumulation, and Ni-induced growth inhibition. Our results demonstrate that toxicity tests conducted at warmer temperatures may over-estimate Ni toxicity at colder temperatures, while guidelines based on those ran at 20°C may not be protective for snails exposed at higher temperatures.