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Theses

L’herpetofaune, sentinelle de l’accumulation et des effets des contaminants environnementaux ?

Abstract : The development of industrial and agricultural activities over the last century has resulted in the release of chemicals into the environment, which contaminate ecosystems and can accumulate in plants, sediments and across food webs. As such, it is essential to conduct an assessment of the ecological risk associated with the presence of these compounds in natural environments. Achieving this can be aided through the study of sentinel species, which can be used to determine exposure rates of individuals and assess how these subsequently impact wildlife. Amphibians and reptiles display ecological and biological characteristics that may make them particularly attractive as sentinel species. The collection of studies presented in this thesis aims to determine the availability of contaminants in the environment and estimate the effects of this on individual traits of living organisms. Across several species of reptiles and amphibians we, (i) measured levels of pollutants accumulated in the tissues of several reptile species ; (ii) assessed how contaminated habitats impact the morphology of adult common toads (Bufo bufo) ; and (iii) experimentally measured the influence of a molecule frequently detected in the environment on common toad tadpoles’ growth. Results show that reptiles efficiently accumulate organic pollutants and metal trace elements in their tissues, and thereby allow efficient evaluation of the global contamination of an area, as well as the occurrence of localized pollution events. In addition, our work shows an influence of the agricultural habitat on the morphology of adult common toads, which is potentially a consequence of the presence of chemicals in these environments. Finally, we were able to demonstrate an effect of low concentrations of AMPA, the main metabolite of glyphosate, on the development of common toad tadpoles. Amphibians are therefore efficient organisms to study the impact of environmental contamination on individual characteristics. Our work shows the usefulness of certain species of reptiles and amphibians as sentinel species for the presence of contaminants in the environment, and their potential impact on organisms. Ecotoxicological studies on these organisms remain too scarce, and it is imperative to develop research in this field, to participate effectively in the assessment of environmental risk.
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Héloïse Guillot. L’herpetofaune, sentinelle de l’accumulation et des effets des contaminants environnementaux ?. Ecotoxicologie. Université de La Rochelle, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017LAROS024⟩. ⟨tel-01804939⟩

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