Effects of the antidepressant fluoxetine on the swimming behaviour of the amphipod Gammarus pulex: Comparison of short-term and long-term toxicity in the laboratory and the semi-field

Lara M. Schuijt*, Oluwafemi Olusoiji, Asmita Dubey, Pablo Rodríguez-Sánchez, Rima Osman, Paul J. Van den Brink, Sanne J.P. van den Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fluoxetine is one of the worlds most prescribed antidepressant, and frequently detected in surface waters. Once present in the aquatic environment, fluoxetine has been shown to disrupt the swimming behaviour of fish and invertebrates. However, swimming behaviour is also known to be highly variable according to experimental conditions, potentially concealing relevant effects. Therefore, the aims of this study were two-fold: i) investigate the swimming and feeding behaviour of Gammarus pulex after exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine (0.2, 2, 20, and 200 μg/L), and ii) assess to what degree the experimental test duration (short-term and long-term) and test location (laboratory and semi-field conditions) affect gammarid's swimming behaviour. We used automated video tracking and analysis to asses a range of swimming behaviours of G. pulex, including swimming speed, startle responses after light transition, acceleration, curvature and thigmotaxis. We found larger effects on the swimming behaviour of G. pulex due to experimental conditions than due to tested antidepressant concentrations. Gammarids swam faster, more straight and showed a stronger startle response during light transition when kept under semi-field conditions compared to the laboratory. Effects found for different test durations were opposite in the laboratory and semi-field. In the laboratory gammarids swam slower and spent more time at the inner zone of the arena after 2 days compared to 21 days while for the semi-field the reverse was observed. Fluoxetine had only minor impacts on the swimming behaviour of G. pulex, but experimental conditions influenced behavioural outcomes in response to fluoxetine exposure. Overall, our results highlight the importance of standardizing and optimizing experimental protocols that assess behaviour to achieve reproducible results in ecotoxicology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162173
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume872
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023

Keywords

  • Antidepressants
  • Baseline behaviour
  • Behavioural ecotoxicology
  • Experimental conditions
  • Gammarus pulex
  • Startle response

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