Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 22684

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, ESTM, Politécnico de Leiria, 2520-614 Peniche, Portugal
Interests: biotechnology; marine resources valorization; genomics; biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: ecotoxicology; emerging and legacy contaminants; biomarker discovery; numeric tool development; toxicophenomics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; environmental risk; aquaculture and fisheries; biotechnology and resource enhancement
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Effects assessed at higher levels of biological organization (populations and communities) are the consequence of the sum of effects on individuals, which ought to result from the impacts at the cellular and molecular levels. Given this rationale, these lower levels of biological organization are more responsive at an early stage, making them potential toolboxes to be used as early warning endpoints to address environmental stress. This way, the information concerning effects at the molecular level of biological organisation (e.g., transcripts, proteins or metabolites) will allow for an early assessment of future ecosystem problems, which may eventually enable for a timely intervention, before the impacts are visible and irreversible. However, despite providing an early warning and a better understanding of the toxicity mechanisms, enabling the protection of biological integrity, the major setback is that these endpoints may fail to foresee the later impacts in the environment, due to the ecosystem resilience or to a weak link with the effects in the following level of biological organization, making these tools just too conservative for stakeholder interests. Hence, an approach targeting lower levels of biological organization will always require addressing the potential effects at higher levels, by establishing a link of biological organization, where the effects assessed at the lower end of the biological organization axis are linked with a high probability to cause an effect the other end, inducing changes in populations and communities, and eventually causing ecosystem alterations later in time. Within this framework, this Special Issue will cover review articles, short communications and research papers addressing sub-individual endpoints/biomarkers in either terrestrial and aquatic environments, and any organism, where early in time biomarker effects are detected, and a link to potential impacts in the ecosystem later in time is established.

Dr. Marco F. L. Lemos
Dr. Sara Novais
Dr. Bernardo Duarte
Dr. Vanessa F. Fonseca
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • biomarkers
  • ecotoxicology
  • adaptation and microevolution
  • acclimation
  • aquaculture
  • monitoring studies
  • toxicology and risk assessment
  • environmental contamination
  • mechanisms of action
  • stress responses
  • omics
  • pollution

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 210 KiB  
Editorial
Effects on Biomarkers in Stress Ecology Studies. Well, So What? What Now?
by Marco F. L. Lemos, Bernardo Duarte, Vanessa F. Fonseca and Sara C. Novais
Biology 2022, 11(12), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11121777 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Effects assessed at higher levels of biological organization (populations and communities) are the consequence of the sum of effects on individuals, which usually result from impacts at cellular and molecular levels. Given this rationale, these lower levels of biological organization are more responsive [...] Read more.
Effects assessed at higher levels of biological organization (populations and communities) are the consequence of the sum of effects on individuals, which usually result from impacts at cellular and molecular levels. Given this rationale, these lower levels of biological organization are more responsive at an early stage, making them potential resources that can be used as early warning endpoints to address environmental stress. In this way, the information concerning effects at the molecular level of biological organization (e.g., transcripts, proteins, or metabolites) allows for an early assessment of future ecosystem problems, which may eventually enable a timely intervention before the impacts become visible and irreversible. However, despite providing an early warning and a better understanding of the toxicity mechanisms, enabling the protection of biological integrity, the most significant setback is that these endpoints may fail to foresee later impacts on the environment due to the ecosystem resilience or a weak link to the effects in the following level of biological organization, making these tools simply too conservative for stakeholders’ interests. Hence, an approach targeting lower levels of biological organization will greatly benefit from addressing potential effects at higher levels. This can be achieved by establishing a link in biological organization, where the effects assessed at the lower end of biological organization are linked with the high probability of causing an effect at the other end, inducing changes in populations and communities, and eventually altering ecosystems in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)

Research

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19 pages, 2810 KiB  
Article
Does an Invasive Bivalve Outperform Its Native Congener in a Heat Wave Scenario? A Laboratory Study Case with Ruditapes decussatus and R. philippinarum
by Daniel Crespo, Sara Leston, Lénia D. Rato, Filipe Martinho, Sara C. Novais, Miguel A. Pardal and Marco F. L. Lemos
Biology 2021, 10(12), 1284; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121284 - 7 Dec 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3194
Abstract
Global warming and the subsequent increase in the frequency of temperature anomalies are expected to affect marine and estuarine species’ population dynamics, latitudinal distribution, and fitness, allowing non-native opportunistic species to invade and thrive in new geographical areas. Bivalves represent a significant percentage [...] Read more.
Global warming and the subsequent increase in the frequency of temperature anomalies are expected to affect marine and estuarine species’ population dynamics, latitudinal distribution, and fitness, allowing non-native opportunistic species to invade and thrive in new geographical areas. Bivalves represent a significant percentage of the benthic biomass in marine ecosystems worldwide, often with commercial interest, while mediating fundamental ecological processes. To understand how these temperature anomalies contribute to the success (or not) of biological invasions, two closely related species, the native Ruditapes decussatus and the introduced R. philippinarum, were exposed to a simulated heat wave. Organisms of both species were exposed to mean summer temperature (~18 °C) for 6 days, followed by 6 days of simulated heat wave conditions (~22 °C). Both species were analysed for key ecological processes such as bioturbation and nutrient generation—which are significant proxies for benthic function and habitat quality—and subcellular biomarkers—oxidative stress and damage, and energetic metabolism. Results showed subcellular responses to heat waves. However, such responses were not expressed at the addressed ecological levels. The subcellular responses to the heat wave in the invasive R. philippinarum pinpoint less damage and higher cellular energy allocation to cope with thermal stress, which may further improve its fitness and thus invasiveness behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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16 pages, 1938 KiB  
Article
Exposure to the Insecticide Sulfoxaflor Affects Behaviour and Biomarkers Responses of Carcinus maenas (Crustacea: Decapoda)
by Jadilson M. Damasceno, Lénia D. Rato, Tiago Simões, Inês F. C. Morão, Gabriela Meireles, Sara C. Novais and Marco F. L. Lemos
Biology 2021, 10(12), 1234; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121234 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2661
Abstract
Sulfoxaflor is an insecticide belonging to the recent sulfoximine class, acting as a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChRs) agonist. There are few studies regarding sulfoxaflor’s toxicity to non-target organisms. The present study aimed to investigate the acute and sub-lethal effects of sulfoxaflor on Carcinus [...] Read more.
Sulfoxaflor is an insecticide belonging to the recent sulfoximine class, acting as a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChRs) agonist. There are few studies regarding sulfoxaflor’s toxicity to non-target organisms. The present study aimed to investigate the acute and sub-lethal effects of sulfoxaflor on Carcinus maenas by addressing survival, behaviour (feed intake and motricity), and neuromuscular, detoxification and oxidative stress, and energy metabolism biomarkers. Adult male green crabs were exposed to sulfoxaflor for 96 h and an LC50 of 2.88 mg L−1 was estimated. All biomarker endpoints were sampled after three (T3) and seven (T7) days of exposure and behavioural endpoints were addressed at T3 and day six (T6). Sulfoxaflor affected the feed intake and motricity of C. maenas at T6. From the integrated analysis of endpoints, with the increase in concentrations of sulfoxaflor, after seven days, one can notice a lower detoxification capacity (lower GST), higher LPO levels and effects on behaviour (higher motricity effects and lower feed intake). This integrated approach proved to be valuable in understanding the negative impacts of sulfoxaflor on green crabs, while contributing to the knowledge of this pesticide toxicity to non-target coastal invertebrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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21 pages, 2852 KiB  
Article
Sex Associated Effects of Noise Pollution in Stone Sculpin (Paracottus knerii) as a Model Object in the Context of Human-Induced Rapid Environmental Change
by Yulia P. Sapozhnikova, Anastasia G. Koroleva, Vera M. Yakhnenko, Igor V. Khanaev, Olga Yu. Glyzina, Tatyana N. Avezova, Aleksandra A. Volkova, Angela V. Mushinskaya, Marina L. Tyagun, Artem N. Shagun, Mikhail M. Makarov, Sergey V. Kirilchik, Nikolay P. Sudakov, Igor V. Klimenkov and Lyubov V. Sukhanova
Biology 2021, 10(10), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10101063 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4318
Abstract
This work simulates the consequences of HIREC using stone sculpins as model organisms. Sex-dependent effects of long-term noise exposure at mean sound pressure levels of 160–179 dB re 1 μPa (SPLpk–pk) were measured. We applied a multilevel approach to testing the [...] Read more.
This work simulates the consequences of HIREC using stone sculpins as model organisms. Sex-dependent effects of long-term noise exposure at mean sound pressure levels of 160–179 dB re 1 μPa (SPLpk–pk) were measured. We applied a multilevel approach to testing the stress response: a comparative analysis of the macula sacculi and an assessment of hematological and molecular stress responses. Noise exposure resulted in hair cell loss, changes in some cytometric parameters in blood, and an increase in the number of functionally active mitochondria in the red blood cells of males and its decrease in females, demonstrating a mitochondrial allostatic load and depletion of functional reserve. Finally, a statistically significant decrease in the telomerase activity of the auditory epithelium and a shortening of telomere length in the brain as molecular markers of stress were observed after noise exposure only in females. No significant decrease in telomerase activity and shortening of telomere length in nerve target tissues were observed in stressed males. However, we recorded an increase in the telomerase activity in male gonads. This sex-dependent difference in load may be associated with accelerated cellular aging in females and lower stress-related long-term risk in males. In this article, we discuss possible reasons for these noise-induced stress effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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21 pages, 1028 KiB  
Article
Artificial Intelligence Meets Marine Ecotoxicology: Applying Deep Learning to Bio-Optical Data from Marine Diatoms Exposed to Legacy and Emerging Contaminants
by Nuno M. Rodrigues, João E. Batista, Pedro Mariano, Vanessa Fonseca, Bernardo Duarte and Sara Silva
Biology 2021, 10(9), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090932 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3520
Abstract
Over recent decades, the world has experienced the adverse consequences of uncontrolled development of multiple human activities. In recent years, the total production of chemicals has been composed of environmentally harmful compounds, the majority of which have significant environmental impacts. These emerging contaminants [...] Read more.
Over recent decades, the world has experienced the adverse consequences of uncontrolled development of multiple human activities. In recent years, the total production of chemicals has been composed of environmentally harmful compounds, the majority of which have significant environmental impacts. These emerging contaminants (ECs) include a wide range of man-made chemicals (such as pesticides, cosmetics, personal and household care products, pharmaceuticals), which are of worldwide use. Among these, several ECs raised concerns regarding their ecotoxicological effects and how to assess them efficiently. This is of particular interest if marine diatoms are considered as potential target species, due to their widespread distribution, being the most abundant phytoplankton group in the oceans, and also being responsible for key ecological roles. Bio-optical ecotoxicity methods appear as reliable, fast, and high-throughput screening (HTS) techniques, providing large datasets with biological relevance on the mode of action of these ECs in phototrophic organisms, such as diatoms. However, from the large datasets produced, only a small amount of data are normally extracted for physiological evaluation, leaving out a large amount of information on the ECs exposure. In the present paper, we use all the available information and evaluate the application of several machine learning and deep learning algorithms to predict the exposure of model organisms to different ECs under different doses, using a model marine diatom (Phaeodactylum tricornutum) as a test organism. The results show that 2D convolutional neural networks are the best method to predict the type of EC to which the cultures were exposed, achieving a median accuracy of 97.65%, while Rocket is the best at predicting which concentration the cultures were subjected to, achieving a median accuracy of 100%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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9 pages, 1826 KiB  
Article
Multifactorial Evaluation of Atenolol, Caffeine, Carbamazepine and Ibuprofen on Raphidocelis subcapitata and Chlorella vulgaris
by Zaniel S. D. Procopio, Joanne B. Roberts, Colin Hunter and Ole Pahl
Biology 2021, 10(9), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090926 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
Micropollutants in aquatic resources have raised global concerns regarding the conservation of ecosystems. Although they are usually found in the environment at trace concentrations to a maximum of several µg/L, it is still necessary to address the potential risks these pollutants may represent [...] Read more.
Micropollutants in aquatic resources have raised global concerns regarding the conservation of ecosystems. Although they are usually found in the environment at trace concentrations to a maximum of several µg/L, it is still necessary to address the potential risks these pollutants may represent to organisms. A multifactor analysis was conducted using two algae as bioindicators. Four different pharmaceuticals were chosen based on their occurrence in domestic wastewaters and persistency after biological treatment processes ranging from 1/8th to four-fold representative environmental concentrations over 96 h exposure. The present multifactor analysis evaluated cell size, photosynthetic capacity and growth rate. These data were later combined into a simplified single entity: “the index effect”. The results obtained showed that, even at concentrations below the environmentally relevant concentrations (ERC), the pharmaceuticals’ residues (PRs), caused a cellular behavioural variation in both organisms. In addition, the algae cultures’ response to exposure to these stressors was generally dependent on the concentration over time. By examining four different PR over three different characteristics of two types of algal bioindicators, this work covers significant and specific responses on the algae exposure cycle. This is unique research since most studies do not consider multiple parameters in the assessment of the environment risk for bioindicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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Other

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14 pages, 10118 KiB  
Perspective
Biomarker Studies in Stress Biology: From the Gene to Population, from the Organism to the Application
by Marco F. L. Lemos
Biology 2021, 10(12), 1340; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121340 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3947
Abstract
Endpoints assessed at the population or community level are most often the result of the sum of effects on individuals, arising from the effects at the cellular and molecular levels. Within this framework, these lower biological level endpoints are more responsive at an [...] Read more.
Endpoints assessed at the population or community level are most often the result of the sum of effects on individuals, arising from the effects at the cellular and molecular levels. Within this framework, these lower biological level endpoints are more responsive at an early stage of exposure, making them potential toolboxes to be used as early-warning markers to address stress. Given this, by linking responses and understanding organisms’ metabolism and physiology, the possibilities for the use of biomarkers in stress biology are vast. Here, biomarker comprehensive examples are given to enlighten the need to link levels of biological organization, and their usefulness for a myriad of fields and applications is presented and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers in Stress Ecology—From the Gene to Population)
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