Transcriptomic, biochemical and individual markers in transplanted Daphnia magna to characterize impacts in the field

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Jan 15:503-504:200-12. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.057. Epub 2014 Jul 5.


Daphnia magna individuals were transplanted across 12 sites from three Spanish river basins (Llobregat, Ebro, Jucar) showing different sources of pollution. Gene transcription, feeding and biochemical responses in the field were assessed and compared with those obtained in re-constituted water treatments spiked with organic eluates obtained from water samples collected at the same locations and sampling periods. Up to 166 trace contaminants were detected in water and classified by their mode of action into 45 groups that included metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, illicit drugs, and other industrial compounds. Physicochemical water parameters differentiated the three river basins with Llobregat having the highest levels of conductivity, metals and pharmaceuticals, followed by Ebro, whereas the Jucar river had the greatest levels of illicit drugs. D. magna grazing rates and cholinesterase activity responded similarly than the diversity of riparian benthic communities. Transcription patterns of 13 different genes encoding for general stress, metabolism and energy processes, molting and xenobiotic transporters corroborate phenotypic responses differentiated sites within and across river basins. Principal Component Analysis and Partial Least Square Projections to Latent Structures regression analyses indicated that measured in situ responses of most genes and biomarkers and that of benthic macroinvertebrate diversity indexes were affected by distinct environmental factors. Conductivity, suspended solids and fungicides were negatively related with the diversity of macroinvertebrates cholinesterase, and feeding responses. Gene transcripts of heat shock protein and metallothionein were positively related with 11 classes of organic contaminants and 6 metals. Gene transcripts related with signaling paths of molting and reproduction, sugar, protein and xenobiotic metabolism responded similarly in field and lab exposures and were related with high residue concentrations of analgesics, diuretics, psychiatric drugs, β blockers, illicit drugs, trizoles, bisphenol A, caffeine and pesticides. These results indicate that application of omic technologies in the field is a promising subject in water management.

Keywords: Biomarker; Daphnia; Feeding; Gene; Transcriptomics; Water quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Daphnia
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Spain
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity


  • Biomarkers
  • Pesticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical