Aquatic Hermaphrodite Snails Exposed to Combinations of Environmental Chemicals Experience Increased Mortality Yet Sustained Reproductive Ability

Presentation Number: SAT 263
Date of Presentation: April 1st, 2017

Terri L Provost*, Jasmina Samardzic, Rica Akilimali, Jennifer Liu and Thomas M McCarthy
Utica College, Utica, NY


Hermaphroditic, pulmonate snails are widespread and important members of aquatic ecosystems, and may serve as indicator-species when assessing levels of environmental stress. As benthic organisms living in shallow waters, pulmonate snails risk exposure to anthropogenic pollutants in a variety of combinations, including chemicals in bottom sediments or dissolved in the water. As simultaneous hermaphrodites, individuals may act in the female role and/or the male role during reproduction. This suggests that an overall regulation of the endocrine system is essential for successful reproduction, and that both estrogen and testosterone concentrations may be especially important for an individual. We examined whether exposure to individual and combinations of anthropogenic stressors such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), PCBs and chlopyrifos, PCBs and estrogen, PCBs and atrazine, and PCBs and Melamine for 4 weeks induced disruptions to the endocrine system by ELISA and affected mortality and reproduction rates in adult planorbid snails (Helisoma trivolvis). Survival time was significantly different among treatment groups with the melamine-PCBs treated animals having the highest mortality rate. Testosterone was not significantly impacted by any treatment. Total egg masses and time to first egg mass post treatment were not significantly impacted. Our research will continue to focus on the hormonal impact that these chemicals have on reproduction and survival given the abundance and importance of hermaphroditic molluscs in aquatic ecosystems. We will continue to investigate how combinations of chemical disruption the physiology, life-history characteristics, and mating systems affect these species and the communities in which they live.


Nothing to Disclose: TLP, JS, RA, JL, TMM