News, Publications

Publicaton: Life-history effects of arsenic toxicity in clades of the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Kille have published in the journal Environmental Polution with their work on the effects of arsenic on the life-history of Lumbricus rubellus.


Exposures of Lumbricus rubellus to a series of arsenic concentrations in soil were used to assess life-stage (juvenile, adult) and genotype specific sensitivities, to calculate population growth rate (λ) and to assess patterns of As accumulation. Significant mortality was seen in juveniles at 125 mg/kg As, while growth and maturation was affected from 36 mg/kg and above.

In adults, cocoon production at the highest concentration (125 mg/kg) was significantly reduced. Phylogenetic analysis was performed by comparison of mitochondrial sequences to establish genotypic variation among juveniles. Three clades with more than 7.5% divergent were described, with 70% of earthworms belonging to a single clade. Date of and mass at maturation was significantly different between clades, but clades were not differentially As sensitive. Parameter λ was reduced at 36 mg/kg As and was negative at 125 mg/kg As, suggesting impacts and population stability and potential extinction at environmentally relevant concentrations.

Full texts is available here.