Warmer temperatures limit the effects of antidepressant pollution on life-history traits

Lucinda C. Aulsebrook, Bob B.M. Wong, Matthew D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Pharmaceutical pollutants pose a threat to aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Yet, few studies have considered the interaction between pharmaceuticals and other chronic stressors contemporaneously, even though the environmental challenges confronting animals in the wild seldom, if ever, occur in isolation. Thermal stress is one such environmental challenge that may modify the threat of pharmaceutical pollutants. Accordingly, we investigated how fluoxetine (Prozac), a common psychotherapeutic and widespread pollutant, interacts with temperature to affect life-history traits in the water flea, Daphnia magna. We chronically exposed two genotypes of Daphnia to two ecological relevant concentrations of fluoxetine (30 ng l -1 and 300 ng l -1) and a concentration representing levels used in acute toxicity tests (3000 ng l -1) and quantified the change in phenotypic trajectories at two temperatures (20°C and 25°C). Across multiple life-history traits, we found that fluoxetine exposure impacted the fecundity, body size and intrinsic growth rate of Daphnia in a non-monotonic manner at 20°C, and often in genotypic-specific ways. At 25°C, however, the life-history phenotypes of individuals converged under the widely varying levels of fluoxetine, irrespective of genotype. Our study underscores the importance of considering the complexity of interactions that can occur in the wild when assessing the effects of chemical pollutants on life-history traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20212701
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1968
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


  • Daphnia magna
  • fluoxetine
  • life history
  • multi-stressor
  • pharmaceutical pollution
  • thermal stress

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