Date: 20 Aug 2008

Demographic Responses to Multigeneration Cadmium Exposure in Two Strains of the Freshwater Gastropod, Biomphalaria glabrata

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A life table response experiment (LTRE) was used to quantify the population-level effects of continuous, multigeneration cadmium exposure on two strains of the freshwater gastropod, Biomphalaria glabrata: the parasite-resistant BS90 and parasite-susceptible NMRI strains. Snails were exposed to waterborne cadmium for three consecutive generations. Survival, growth, and reproduction were measured empirically and incorporated into a stage-based, deterministic population model. Cadmium significantly affected hatching success, time to maturity, and juvenile and adult survival in both strains. There were significant effects of generation on fecundity, hatching success, time to maturity and juvenile survival in NMRI, and time to maturity and adult survival in BS90. Cadmium significantly affected the population growth rate, λ, in BS90. Cadmium, generation, and the cadmium × generation interaction had significant effects on λ in NMRI. At the high cadmium exposure, λ for NMRI showed a decrease from generation 1 to generation 2, followed by an increase from generation 2 to generation 3. The λ value in high-cadmium BS90 steadily decreased over the three generations, while NMRI at this same concentration was similar to the controls. The results indicate that strain-specific differences in response to multigeneration cadmium exposure are evident in B. glabrata. Moreover, effects seen in the first generation are not necessarily indicative of effects in subsequent generations. Changes in λ over the course of the three-generation exposure suggest that acclimation and/or adaptation to cadmium may have occurred, particularly in NMRI at the high cadmium exposure level.