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Hypothesizing if responses to climate change affect herbicide exposure risk for amphibians


Lötters, S; Filz, K J; Wagner, N; Schmidt, B R; Emmerling, C; Veith, M (2014). Hypothesizing if responses to climate change affect herbicide exposure risk for amphibians. Environmental Sciences Europe, 26(31):online.

Abstract

Pesticide use is well known to be detrimental for maintaining biodiversity in the agricultural landscape. Amphibians are especially affected by these agrochemicals. In particular, these animals’ high sensitivity was demonstrated for glyphosate-based herbicides which are dominating the world market today. Pesticide impacts are influenced by several co-stressors, and we for the first time link the exposure risk of amphibians to these commonly used pesticides to observed recent effects from ongoing climate change. In a simple verbal model, based on present-day data from Germany, we show that amphibian populations which have undergone phenological shift towards earlier reproduction potentially suffer less from applications of glyphosate-based herbicides compared to those which (yet) show no such reproductive shift. Although, apparently observed recent climate change effects lower the exposure risk, we advocate that amphibians are not necessarily safer now, mainly because farmers most likely will adapt their cultivation practices in the future if climate change becomes more obvious. Rather, we conclude that combining pesticide applications, climate change and phenological responses need an increased consideration in amphibian conservation. The results from our verbal model should be seen as a hypothesis that needs to be tested with specific field studies and (based on these data which are widely lacking today) more complex modelling of future exposure risk of pesticides to amphibians.

Abstract

Pesticide use is well known to be detrimental for maintaining biodiversity in the agricultural landscape. Amphibians are especially affected by these agrochemicals. In particular, these animals’ high sensitivity was demonstrated for glyphosate-based herbicides which are dominating the world market today. Pesticide impacts are influenced by several co-stressors, and we for the first time link the exposure risk of amphibians to these commonly used pesticides to observed recent effects from ongoing climate change. In a simple verbal model, based on present-day data from Germany, we show that amphibian populations which have undergone phenological shift towards earlier reproduction potentially suffer less from applications of glyphosate-based herbicides compared to those which (yet) show no such reproductive shift. Although, apparently observed recent climate change effects lower the exposure risk, we advocate that amphibians are not necessarily safer now, mainly because farmers most likely will adapt their cultivation practices in the future if climate change becomes more obvious. Rather, we conclude that combining pesticide applications, climate change and phenological responses need an increased consideration in amphibian conservation. The results from our verbal model should be seen as a hypothesis that needs to be tested with specific field studies and (based on these data which are widely lacking today) more complex modelling of future exposure risk of pesticides to amphibians.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:amphibian, pesticide, climate change, phenology
Language:English
Date:2 December 2014
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 15:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:35
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:2190-4715
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-014-0031-4

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