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Community Interactions Modify the Effects of Pharmaceutical Exposure: A Microcosm Study on Responses to Propranolol in Baltic Sea Coastal Organisms
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
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2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 4, e93774Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigated the uptake and effects of a common human pharmaceutical, propranolol, on the structure and function of a coastal Baltic Sea model community consisting of macroalga (Ceramium tenuicorne), mussels (Mytilus edulis trossulus), amphipods (Gammarus spp.), water and sediment. The most sensitive species, the mussel, was affected to the same extent as in previous single species studies, while the effects on the amphipod and alga were smaller or even positive compared to experiments performed in less complex test systems. The observed cascade of beneficial effects was a result of inter-specific species interactions that buffered for more severe effects. The poor condition of the mussel led to a feeding shift from alga to mussel by the amphipods. The better food quality, due to the dietary shift, counteracted the effects of the exposure. Less amphipod grazing, together with increased levels of nutrients in the water was favourable for the alga, despite the negative effects of propranolol. This microcosm study showed effects on organisms on different organizational levels as well as interactions among the different components resulting in indirect exposure effects of both functional and structural nature. The combination of both direct and indirect effects would not have been detected using simpler single- or even two-species study designs. The observed structural changes would in the natural environment have a long-term influence on ecosystem function, especially in a low-biodiversity ecosystem like the Baltic Sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 4, e93774
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103957DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093774ISI: 000334160900047OAI: diva2:722879


Available from: 2014-06-09 Created: 2014-05-27 Last updated: 2016-05-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Pharmaecological perspectives: Exposure studies using coastal Baltic Sea organisms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pharmaecological perspectives: Exposure studies using coastal Baltic Sea organisms
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the effects of pharmaceutical substances on coastal Baltic Sea organisms. Despite an increasing awareness of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in various aquatic compartments, current knowledge of their possible effects on non-target organisms is limited. Especially scarce is the knowledge concerning possible long-term effects, mixture-effects, effects on non-standard test organisms and indirect effects from interactions among organisms. Also the environmental fate, availability and distribution of pharmaceuticals between sediment, water and biota is only rarely investigated.

The aim of this thesis was therefore to investigate the biological effects of pharmaceuticals, and their distribution in organisms of a coastal Baltic Sea community. In four studies, blue mussels, amphipods and macroalgae were exposed to pharmaceuticals in laboratory experiments. The effects from exposure, as well as recovery from the same, were studied on different physiological variables. With increasing complexity of experiment designs, the tested substances were found to affect aquatic organisms from different hierarchical levels both through direct negative effects, as well as through indirect positive effects within model communities. Moreover, the studies showed that the organisms were affected by exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations, but also that exposed organisms could recover from the exposure. Effects from pharmaceutical mixtures occurred in lower concentrations than effects from single pharmaceutical substances, and high internal concentrations of two pharmaceuticals – diclofenac and propranolol – were detected in exposed organisms.

The detected effects and the uptake of pharmaceuticals in biota demonstrate a possible problem for aquatic environments, but especially for the Baltic Sea, since this is a naturally sensitive ecosystem with low species diversity, low functional redundancy and a history of heavy pollution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm Univeristy, 2014. 58 p.
Pharmaceuticals, Baltic Sea, Mytilus edulis trossulus, Fucus vesiculosus, Ceramium tenuicorne, Gammarus spp., Direct effects, Inter-specific interactions
National Category
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101160 (URN)978-91-7447-871-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:30 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-03-13 Created: 2014-02-27 Last updated: 2016-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Oskarsson, HannaWiklund, Ann-Kristin ErikssonThorsén, GunnarDanielsson, GabrielaKumblad, Linda
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Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant SciencesDepartment of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)Department of Analytical ChemistryDepartment of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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