Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 5388–5396 | Cite as

Nitrate causes deleterious effects on the behaviour and reproduction of the aquatic snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca)

Research Article


Nitrate (NO3) is present in aquatic ecosystems as a natural component of the nitrogen cycle. However, in the last decades, several human activities are the causes of the rising amounts of organic matter and inorganic nitrogen nutrients in aquatic ecosystems, causing notable increase of nitrate above background natural levels. In spite of the toxicity of nitrate to aquatic animals, there are relatively few studies on the chronic toxicity of this compound to invertebrates. The aim of our study is to assess the effect of chronic (35 days) exposure to nitrate on the behaviour (velocity of movement) and reproduction (number of newborns) of the aquatic snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Four actual concentrations of nitrate were used (21.4, 44.9, 81.8 and 156.1 mg N-NO3/L). In each treatment, 12 animals were individually monitored for velocity (weekly) and newborn production (every 3–4 days). Velocity was recorded using quantitative video monitoring. Our results showed that nitrate did not cause mortality, but it reduced the velocity of movement (at 44.9, 81.8 and 156.1 mg N-NO3/L) and number of live newborns (in all tested concentrations). Reproductive impairment was caused at realistic nitrate concentrations which is relevant to the risk assessment of this compound. Our study contributes to the knowledge of the chronic effects of nitrate on the behaviour and reproduction of an aquatic snail.


Behaviour Velocity Inactivity Reproduction Nitrate Toxicity Video recording 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida, Unidad Docente de Ecología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de AlcaláAlcalá de Henares, MadridSpain

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