Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecotoxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2021) | Viewed by 23754

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Socio-Sanitary Sciences, University of Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Interests: ecotoxicology; biomonitoring; contaminants; environmental pollution; exposure; effects; wildlife; biomarkers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wildlife can be exposed to multiple contaminants (e.g., plant protection products and biocides, metals, industrial compounds, and pharmaceuticals) associated with deleterious effects in the organism, including endocrine disruption, immune suppression, oxidative stress, and altered behavior, reproduction, or development, as well as acute mortality in some cases. Assessing these chemically induced effects in wildlife is a major environmental concern in ecotoxicology, since such effects may have critical consequences at the individual and population levels. Controlled lab experiments in model species help us to explore the specific direct effects of contaminants (single or combined) while controlling for confounding variables. On the other hand, field studies are an essential tool for evaluating spatio-temporal trends in contaminant exposure and the potential effects on wildlife exposed to the actual environmental concentrations, with a natural diet and the presence of other stressors. At present, there is a good number of studies providing us with a better understanding of these issues; however, for certain animal taxa and contaminant types, little to no information is available.

This Special Issue of Toxics aims to describe the current state of our knowledge on wildlife toxicology. Publications (original research articles, reviews, and short communications) may include field/biomonitoring studies evaluating (legacy/emerging) contaminant exposure and related effects in wildlife, experimental studies at environmentally relevant doses that predict chemical-related effects in free-living animals, and studies developing new methods for the determination of contaminants or biomarkers. We would also welcome the submission of commentaries, reviews, and meta-analyses.

Dr. Silvia Espin
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • ecotoxicology
  • biomonitoring
  • contaminants
  • environmental pollution
  • exposure
  • effects
  • wildlife
  • biomarkers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
Development of an LC-MS/MS Method for Non-Invasive Biomonitoring of Neonicotinoid and Systemic Herbicide Pesticide Residues in Bat Hair
by Sarah E. Hooper, Sybill K. Amelon and Chung-Ho Lin
Toxics 2022, 10(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10020073 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3079
Abstract
With over a quarter of the world’s bats species facing extinction, there is a need for ecotoxicological studies to assess if acute and sublethal exposure to newer pesticides such as neonicotinoids and carbonates contribute to population declines. Pesticide exposure studies in bats have [...] Read more.
With over a quarter of the world’s bats species facing extinction, there is a need for ecotoxicological studies to assess if acute and sublethal exposure to newer pesticides such as neonicotinoids and carbonates contribute to population declines. Pesticide exposure studies in bats have been limited to terminal sampling methods, therefore we developed a non-invasive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method utilizing hair trimmings. The hair of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) was collected and pooled by county to assess the best extraction solvent and solid-phase-extraction (SPE) clean-up cartridges. Using the best performing extraction solvent, methanol, and the best performing SPE cartridge, Chromabond HR-X, we developed an optimized multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) LC-MS/MS method for simultaneous determination of 3 neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam; 1 carbonate, carbaryl; and 4 systemic herbicides, 2,4-D, atrazine, dicamba, and glyphosate. The optimized protocol yielded the detection of 3–8 of the compounds in the county-level bat hair pools. 2,4-D, glyphosate, and imidacloprid were found in all samples with two of the county-level hair samples having glyphosate concentrations of over 3500 pg/mg of hair. This approach has great potential to facilitate non-terminal ecotoxicological studies assessing the effects of subacute (chronic) pesticide exposure in threatened and endangered bat species and other species experiencing population declines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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10 pages, 640 KiB  
Article
White-Tailed Eagles’ (Haliaeetus albicilla) Exposure to Anticoagulant Rodenticides and Causes of Poisoning in Poland (2018–2020)
by Bartosz Sell, Tomasz Śniegocki, Marta Giergiel and Andrzej Posyniak
Toxics 2022, 10(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10020063 - 01 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1638
Abstract
The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is strictly protected in Poland due to its threat of extinction. This study’s main goal was to assess their exposure to indirect poisoning by anticoagulant rodenticides (AR). This study presents the investigation results of 40 white-tailed [...] Read more.
The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is strictly protected in Poland due to its threat of extinction. This study’s main goal was to assess their exposure to indirect poisoning by anticoagulant rodenticides (AR). This study presents the investigation results of 40 white-tailed eagles’ suspected poisoning cases in the years 2018–2020 in Poland. In all tested liver samples, using a liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry method, at least one of the AR (bromadiolone, brodifacoum, difenacoum, flocoumafen) was detected and confirmed. The other tested AR compounds (chlorophacinone, coumachlor, coumatetralyl, difethialone, diphacinone, warfarin) were not detected. The mean concentration of the sum of rodenticides was 174.4 µg/kg (from 2.5 to 1225.0 µg/kg). In 20 cases, the sum concentration was above 100 µg/kg and in 10 cases it was above 200 µg/kg. Interpretation of cases of AR poisonings should take into account their concentration in the liver, anatomopathological lesions, circumstances of death/finding of the animal, and elimination of other possible causes of poisoning. Based on this study, AR was the direct cause of death in 10% of incidents. Extensive use of rodenticides generates a high risk of poisonings of white-tailed eagles in Poland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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18 pages, 1166 KiB  
Article
Blood Toxic Elements and Effects on Plasma Vitamins and Carotenoids in Two Wild Bird Species: Turdus merula and Columba livia
by Pablo Sánchez-Virosta, José Manuel Zamora-Marín, Mario León-Ortega, Pedro J. Jiménez, Silvia Rivas, Lidia Sánchez-Morales, Pablo R. Camarero, Rafael Mateo, Manuel Zumbado, Octavio P. Luzardo, Tapio Eeva, Antonio J. García-Fernández and Silvia Espín
Toxics 2021, 9(9), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9090219 - 11 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2509
Abstract
Birds have historically suffered adverse effects by toxic elements, such as As, Pb, Hg, and Cd. However, reports on exposure to a wide range of elements, including rare earth elements and other minor elements of emerging concern, and the potential consequences for wildlife [...] Read more.
Birds have historically suffered adverse effects by toxic elements, such as As, Pb, Hg, and Cd. However, reports on exposure to a wide range of elements, including rare earth elements and other minor elements of emerging concern, and the potential consequences for wildlife are still scarce. This study evaluates blood concentrations of 50 elements and their related effects on lutein and vitamin levels in the Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula) and wild rock pigeon (Columba livia), inhabiting different scenarios of contaminant exposure. Blood concentrations of As, Cd, and Pb (and Mn in T. merula) were increased in both species captured in the mining area, compared to the control site. T. merula also showed increased As, Cd, and Pb concentrations in blood in the agricultural–urban area, as compared to the control area, together with the highest Hg levels, which could be related to agricultural practices and industrial activities. Decreases of 33 and 38% in the plasma retinol levels in T. merula inhabiting the mining and the agricultural–urban areas, respectively, as compared to the control site, were associated with increased Pb, As, and Cd exposure. This could be due to a metal-driven suppressive effect in retinol metabolism and/or its over-use for coping with metal-related oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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17 pages, 2368 KiB  
Article
Whole-Body Acute Contact Toxicity of Formulated Insecticide Mixtures to Blue Orchard Bees (Osmia lignaria)
by Joseph Belsky, David J. Biddinger and Neelendra K. Joshi
Toxics 2021, 9(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9030061 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3485
Abstract
Blue orchard bees, [Osmia lignaria (Say) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)], have been developed as an important pollinator for orchard crops in North America over the last 40 years. The toxicity of several pesticides to O. lignaria and other Osmia species has been previously reported. [...] Read more.
Blue orchard bees, [Osmia lignaria (Say) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)], have been developed as an important pollinator for orchard crops in North America over the last 40 years. The toxicity of several pesticides to O. lignaria and other Osmia species has been previously reported. However, the field-realistic toxicity of formulated premix insecticides comprised of multiple active ingredients (each with a different mode of action) to O. lignaria has not been assessed. Here, we use a customized spray tower in a laboratory setting to assess adult male and female whole-body direct contact exposure to four formulated pesticide mixtures: thiamethoxam + lambda-cyhalothrin (TLC), imidacloprid + beta-cyfluthrin (IBC), chlorantraniliprole + lambda-cyhalothrin (CLC) and methoxyfenozide + spinetoram (MS) by directly spraying anesthetized bees in Petri dishes. Separately, adult male and female whole-body direct contact exposure to formulated imidacloprid (I), beta-cyfluthrin (BC) and their 1:1 binary combination (IBC) was assessed using the same experimental method. Resulting mortality in each study was screened up to 96 h post-treatment to determine acute whole-body contact toxicity. In the first study, TLC and IBC resulted in statistically higher mortality at 24 and 48 h than the two other insecticide combinations tested. The CLC and MS combinations were slower acting and the highest mortality for O. lignaria exposed to these mixtures was recorded at 96 h. We did observe significant differences in toxicity between CLC and MS. In the second study, exposure to the 1:1 binary combination of IBC caused overall significantly higher mortality than exposure to I or BC alone. Both active ingredients alone, however, demonstrated equivalent levels of mortality to the 1:1 binary combination treatment at the 96 h observation reading, indicating increased speed of kill, but not necessarily increased toxicity. Significant differences in the onset of mortality following acute contact whole-body exposure to the formulated insecticide mixtures and individual active ingredients tested were consistently observed across all experiments in both studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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11 pages, 833 KiB  
Article
Occurrence of Bisphenols and Benzophenone UV Filters in White-Tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) from Smøla, Norway
by Bernat Oró-Nolla, Silvia Lacorte, Kristine Vike-Jonas, Susana V. Gonzalez, Torgeir Nygård, Alexandros G. Asimakopoulos and Veerle L.B. Jaspers
Toxics 2021, 9(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9020034 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4378
Abstract
There is a growing concern about the occurrence of bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters in natural ecosystems, while data are limited regarding their actual occurrence in wildlife species, especially in raptors. In this study, concentrations of bisphenol and benzophenone UV filter analogues were [...] Read more.
There is a growing concern about the occurrence of bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters in natural ecosystems, while data are limited regarding their actual occurrence in wildlife species, especially in raptors. In this study, concentrations of bisphenol and benzophenone UV filter analogues were determined in liver tissue samples (n = 38) from white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) that were found dead in Smøla (2006–2018), which is a Norwegian municipality that holds one of the densest breeding populations of white-tailed eagles in Europe. Bisphenol AF (BPAF; a fluorinated analogue) was the most ubiquitous contaminant since it was detected in 32 liver samples at concentrations ranging from 1.08 to 6.68 ng/g wet weight (w.w.), followed by bisphenol A (BPA, mean 10.4 ng/g w.w.), benzophenone-1 (BzP-1, mean 3.24 ng/g w.w.), and 4-hydroxybenzophenone (4-OH-BzP, mean 0.62 ng/g w.w.). The concentrations found in livers suggested that white-tailed eagles potentially accumulate bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters, which raises concern, as these plastic and personal care product-related emerging contaminants can show endocrine-disrupting properties. The high detection frequency of the fluorinated BPAF warrants further attention as other fluorinated compounds have proven to be extremely persistent and potentially harmful to wildlife. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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13 pages, 576 KiB  
Article
Bird Feces as Indicators of Metal Pollution: Pitfalls and Solutions
by Tapio Eeva, Nelli Raivikko, Silvia Espín, Pablo Sánchez-Virosta, Suvi Ruuskanen, Jouni Sorvari and Miia Rainio
Toxics 2020, 8(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8040124 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4072
Abstract
Bird feces are commonly used as a proxy for measuring dietary metal exposure levels in wild populations. Our study aims to improve the reliability and repeatability of fecal metal measurements and gives some recommendations for sampling. First, we studied levels of variation in [...] Read more.
Bird feces are commonly used as a proxy for measuring dietary metal exposure levels in wild populations. Our study aims to improve the reliability and repeatability of fecal metal measurements and gives some recommendations for sampling. First, we studied levels of variation in metallic element (arsenic, calcium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, nickel, lead) concentrations: temporal variation within an individual, among siblings in a brood and among-brood/spatial variation. Second, we explored the variation caused by dual composition (urate vs. feces) of bird droppings. Two sets of fresh fecal samples were collected from pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) nestlings living in a metal polluted area in summers 2017 (dataset 1) and 2018 (dataset 2). We found a great deal of temporal intra-individual variation in metal levels, suggesting that dietary exposure varied markedly in a short time scale (within a day). A sample from only one nestling per brood did not well describe the brood mean value, and we recommend that at least four siblings should be sampled. Brood level samples give relatively good temporal repeatability for most metals. For all the metals, the levels in the fecal portion were more than double to those in the urate portion. Since the mass proportion of urate in the bird droppings varied a great deal among samples, standardizing sampling, e.g., by collecting only the fecal part, would markedly reduce the variation due to composition. Alternatively, urate portion could be used for biomonitoring of internally circulated bioavailable metal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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14 pages, 2424 KiB  
Article
Temporal Persistence of Bromadiolone in Decomposing Bodies of Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
by Irene Valverde, Silvia Espín, Pilar Gómez-Ramírez, Isabel Navas, Pablo Sánchez-Virosta, María Y. Torres-Chaparro, Pedro Jiménez, Pedro María-Mojica and Antonio J. García-Fernández
Toxics 2020, 8(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8040098 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3244
Abstract
Bromadiolone is a second generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) used to control pest rodents worldwide. SGARs are frequently involved in secondary poisoning in rodent predators due to their persistence and toxicity. This study aims to evaluate the persistence of bromadiolone in liver at different [...] Read more.
Bromadiolone is a second generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) used to control pest rodents worldwide. SGARs are frequently involved in secondary poisoning in rodent predators due to their persistence and toxicity. This study aims to evaluate the persistence of bromadiolone in liver at different stages of carcass decomposition in experimentally-dosed common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) to understand the possibility of detecting bromadiolone in cases of wildlife poisoning and the potential risk of tertiary poisoning. Twelve individuals were divided into the bromadiolone-dose group (dosed with 55 mg/kg b.w) and the control group. Hepatic bromadiolone concentrations found in each stage of decomposition were: 3000, 2891, 4804, 4245, 8848, and 756 ng/g dry weight at 1–2 h (fresh carcass), 24 h (moderate decomposition), 72 h, 96 h (advanced decomposition), seven days (very advanced decomposition), and 15 days (initial skeletal reduction) after death, respectively. Liver bromadiolone concentrations in carcasses remained relatively stable over the first four days and raised on day 7 of decomposition under the specific conditions of this experiment, presenting a risk of causing tertiary poisoning. However, at the initial skeletal reduction stage, liver bromadiolone concentration declined, which should be considered to interpret toxicological analyses and for proper diagnosis. This experimental study provides for the first time some light to better understand the degradation of SGARs in carcasses in the wild. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Toxicology: An Update on Contaminant Exposure and Effects)
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