, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 1376–1389 | Cite as

Toxicity of two fungicides in Daphnia: is it always temperature-dependent?

  • Ana P. Cuco
  • Nelson Abrantes
  • Fernando Gonçalves
  • Justyna Wolinska
  • Bruno B. Castro


The joint effect of increasing temperature and pollution on aquatic organisms is important to understand and predict, as a combination of stressors might be more noxious when compared to their individual effects. Our goal was to determine the sensitivity of a model organism (Daphnia spp.) to contaminants at increasing temperatures, allowing prior acclimation of the organisms to the different temperatures. Prior to exposure, two Daphnia genotypes (Daphnia longispina species complex) were acclimated to three temperatures (17, 20, and 23 °C). Afterwards, a crossed design was established using different exposure temperatures and a range of concentrations of two common fungicides (tebuconazole and copper). Daphnia life history parameters were analysed in each temperature × toxicant combination for 21 days. Temperature was the most influencing factor: Daphnia reproduced later and had lower fecundity at 17 °C than at 20 and 23 °C. Both copper and tebuconazole also significantly reduced the fecundity and survival of Daphnia at environmentally-relevant concentrations. Temperature-dependence was found for both toxicants, but the response pattern was endpoint- and genotype-specific. The combination of contaminant and high temperature often had severe effects on survival. However, unlike some literature on the subject, our results do not support the theory that increasing temperatures consistently foment increasing reproductive toxicity. The absence of a clear temperature-dependent toxicity pattern may result from the previous acclimation to the temperature regime. However, a proper framework is lacking to compare such studies and to avoid misleading conclusions for climate change scenarios.


Copper sulphate Tebuconazole Temperature rise Daphnia Acclimation 



Authors thank Mark Phillipo for linguistic help.


This work was supported by European funds through COMPETE2020 (European Regional Development Fund) and by national funds through the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT I.P.) within the strategic programmes UID/AMB/50017/2013 (CESAM) and UID/BIA/04050/2013 (CBMA), as well as by the research project VITAQUA (PTDC/AAC-AMB/112438/2009). Ana P. Cuco and Nelson Abrantes are individual recipients of, respectively, a PhD Grant (SFRH/BD/81661/2011) and a researcher contract (IF/01198/2014) from FCT.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study did not involve any research conducted on human participants. No specific permissions were necessary, because the existing legislation on the welfare of experimental animals is not applicable and the study did not involve the collection of endangered or protected species.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Environment and PlanningUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Ecosystem ResearchLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)BerlinGermany
  5. 5.Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Institute of BiologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  6. 6.CBMA (Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology), Department of BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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