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The use of plant protection products and its impact on reptiles

  • Reptiles belong to a taxonomic group characterized by increasing worldwide population declines. However, it has not been until comparatively recent years that public interest in these taxa has increased, and conservation measures are starting to show results. While many factors contribute to these declines, environmental pollution, especially in form of pesticides, has seen a strong increase in the last few decades, and is nowadays considered a main driver for reptile diversity loss. In light of the above, and given that reptiles are extremely underrepresented in ecotoxicological studies regarding the effects of plant protection products, this thesis aims at studying the impacts of pesticide exposure in reptiles, by using the Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) as model species. In a first approach, I evaluated the risk of pesticide exposure for reptile species within the European Union, as a means to detect species with above average exposure probabilities and to detect especially sensitive reptile orders. While helpful to detect species at risk, a risk evaluation is only the first step towards addressing this problem. It is thus indispensable to identify effects of pesticide exposure in wildlife. For this, the use of enzymatic biomarkers has become a popular method to study sub-individual responses, and gain information regarding the mode of action of chemicals. However, current methodologies are very invasive. Thus, in a second step, I explored the use of buccal swabs as a minimally invasive method to detect changes in enzymatic biomarker activity in reptiles, as an indicator for pesticide uptake and effects at the sub-individual level. Finally, the last part of this thesis focuses on field data regarding pesticide exposure and its effects on reptile wildlife. Here, a method to determine pesticide residues in food items of the Common wall lizard was established, as a means to generate data for future dietary risk assessments. Subsequently, a field study was conducted with the aim to describe actual effects of pesticide exposure on reptile populations at different levels.

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Author:Valentin Mingo
Advisor:Stefan Lötters
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2018/10/31
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Granting institution:Universität Trier, Fachbereich 6
Date of final exam:2018/05/28
Release Date:2018/11/28
Tag:Pesticide, Agrochemical, Wall lizard, Podarcis muralis, Biomarker, Buccal Swab, Reptile, Squamata
Institutes:Fachbereich 6
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY-NC-ND: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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