Some pollutants can be transported through the atmosphere and travel medium–long distances to be deposited in glaciers at high altitude and latitude. The increase in the rate of glacier melting due to global warming can release these pollutants in alpine streams. This study investigated the combined effects of rising temperatures and chlorpyrifos (CPF) contamination on the swimming behaviour of alpine chironomids collected in a shrinking alpine glacier. We assessed the individual and interaction effects of rising temperatures (2–11 °C) and CPF concentrations (0–110 ng L−1
) on the swimming behaviour of Diamesa zernyi
(Chironomidae) larvae. Distance (mm) and speed (mm s−1
) were recorded using a video-tracking system after 24–72 h of treatment. The two stressors caused different effects on distance and speed, with increasing temperature generally causing hyperactivity and CPF from hyperactivity to reduced mobility. Two interactions were detected between stressors when combined: (i) CPF superimposed the effect of temperature on both behavioural endpoints i.e., with 110 ng L−1
of CPF, at 11 °C, larvae moved less; (ii) warming (11 °C) magnified the negative effect of CPF: the smallest distance and slowest speed were recorded at the highest values of the two stressors after 72 h. Our results suggest that water contamination by CPF, even at sub-lethal concentrations, might increase the sensitivity of chironomids to warming, and vice versa, raising concerns about freshwater biodiversity conservation under climate change.
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