Copper-impaired chemosensory function and behavior in aquatic animals

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Pyle, Gregory
Mirza, Reehan S.
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Taylor & Francis
Chemosensation is one of the oldest and most important sensory modalities utilized by aquatic animals to provide information about the location of predators, location of prey, sexual status of potential mates, genetic relatedness of kin, and migratory routes, among many other essential processes. The impressive sophistication of chemical communication systems among aquatic animals probably evolved because of the selective pressures exerted by water as a “universal solvent.” Impairment of chemosensation by toxicants at the molecular or cellular level can potentially lead to major perturbations at higher levels of biological organization. We have examined the consequences of metal-impaired chemosensory function in a range of aquatic animals that represents several levels of a typical aquatic ecosystem. In each case, low, environmentally relevant metal concentrations were sufficient to cause chemosensory dysfunction. Because the underlying molecular signal transduction machinery of chemosensory systems demonstrates a high degree of phylogenetic conservation, we speculate that metal-impaired chemosensation among phylogenetically disparate animal groups probably results from a common mechanism of impairment. We propose developing a chronic chemosensory-based biotic ligand model (BLM) that maintains the advantages of the current BLM approach, while simultaneously overcoming known difficulties of the current gill-based approach and increasing the ecological relevance of current BLM predictions.
Sherpa Romeo green journal
Daphnia , Leeches , Fish , Chemosensory dysfunction , Metals
Pyle, G.G. and R.S. Mirza. 2007. Copper-impaired chemosensory function and behavior in aquatic animals. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment,13: 492-505. Invited contribution.