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An overview of recent trends in wildlife ecotoxicology

AuthorsMateo, Rafael ; Lacorte, Silvia; Taggart, Mark A.
Issue Date2016
CitationCurrent Trends in Wildlife Research: 125-150 (2016)
SeriesWildlife Research Monographs 1
AbstractAdvances in chemistry during the twentieth century have facilitated the rapid development of a myriad of new chemicals with applications as varied as the needs of humans (Chalew and Halden 2009). However, this ability to quickly synthesize new molecules comes with an inherent risk – that evolutionary mechanisms simply cannot adapt to these new (and potentially toxic) chemical substances quickly enough (Bourret et al. 2008; Whitehead et al. 2012). Thus, some xenobiotics (e.g., novel halogenated organic compounds) have been very challenging for life on earth, since biota often lack the necessary mechanisms for their detoxification, which in turn, may lead to bioaccumulation and biomagnification along food chains. However, it is not just newly synthesised chemicals that represent a hazard to life. A range of human activities also favour the redistribution of naturally occurring toxic substances (such as heavy metals); introduce invasive species that produce toxins (Southard et al. 2010; Bodkin et al. 2012); or, promote favourable environmental conditions for toxins produced by large-scale blooms of algae or bacteria (Watanabe et al. 2011; Anza et al. 2014) – all of which can threaten ecosystems/populations.
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