May 13, 2019 by Adam Peters

Graham, Dean, Iain, and I have recently published an article in collaboration with Chris Schlekat and Emily Garman at NiPERA comparing the sensitivity of tropical and temperate aquatic ecosystems to nickel. This study has made comparisons between tropical and temperate ecosystems on a number of different levels, covering closely related individual species, groups of taxa, and whole ecotoxicity datasets from both tropical and temperate environments in order to identify any differences in sensitivity.

In addition, a comparison of eight closely related species (cladocerans) from temperate freshwaters was included to establish a baseline level of variability which could be anticipated for species from within the same temperature zone. Differences between related tropical and temperate species should only be considered as significant if they are greater than the differences between species from the same temperature zone. No important differences in the inherent sensitivity of species, groups of taxa, or ecosystems between tropical and temperate environments were identified for nickel. An important conclusion from the study is that ecotoxicity datasets should include as diverse a range of taxa as possible in order to ensure adequate protection of sensitive species.

The article has been published as open-access in the SETAC journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and can be accessed here.

Figure reproduced from Peters et al. 2019