Climate change effects on enchytraeid performance in metal-polluted soils explained from changes in metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation.Environ Res. 2015 Oct; 142:177-84.ER
Climate change may alter physical, chemical and biological properties of ecosystems, affecting organisms but also the fate of chemical pollutants. This study aimed to find out how changes in climate conditions (air temperature, soil moisture content) affect the toxicity of metal-polluted soils to the soft-bodied soil organism Enchytraeus crypticus, linking enchytraeid performance with changes in soil available and body metal concentrations. Bioassays with E. crypticus were performed under different combinations of air temperature (20 and 25 °C) and soil moisture content (50% and 30% of the soil water holding capacity, WHC) in dilution series of three metal-polluted soils (mine tailing, forest and watercourse). After 21 d exposure, enchytraeid reproduction was determined, and soil available (extracted with 0.01 M CaCl2) and body Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations in surviving adults were determined. In general, Cd, Pb and Zn availability decreased upon incubation under the different climate scenarios. In the watercourse soil, with initially higher available metal concentrations (678 µg Cd kg(-1), 807 µg Pb kg(-1) and 31,020 µg Zn kg(-1)), decreases were greatest at 50% WHC probably due to metal immobilization as carbonates. Enchytraeid reproduction was negatively affected by higher available metal concentrations, with reductions up to 98% in the watercourse soil compared to the control soil at 30% WHC. Bioaccumulation of Cd, Pb and Zn was higher when drier conditions were combined with the higher temperature of 25 °C. Changes in metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation explained the toxicity of soil polluted by metal mine wastes to enchytraeids under changing environmental conditions.