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Pond snails are affected by temperature stress and exposure to micropollutants. (Photo: Marko Koenig, Imagebroker, Okapia)

Freshwater snails’ resilience to heatwaves

October 16, 2017,

In a laboratory experiment, Eawag ecologists studied how the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis is affected by heatwaves, which are expected to become more frequent as a result of climate change. Snails exposed to temperature stress showed a greater investment in reproduction, egg production increasing by 60 per cent on average. However, a trade-off was observed with immune defence: the activity of phenoloxidase – an enzyme offering protection against parasites – was reduced by 36 per cent. Stress responses were also investigated in snails concomitantly exposed to low concentrations of micropollutants – and the combined effects of high temperature and chemicals were mainly additive.. As the effects observed were transient, the researchers conclude that pond snails are highly resilient to environmental changes – but this finding is not automatically applicable to other aquatic organisms.

Original publication

Salo T. et al. (2017): Resilience to heat waves in the aquatic snail Lymnaea stagnalis: Additive and interactive effects with micropollutants. Freshwater Biology online

Created by Andres Jordi