Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and many species are considered as threatened on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Among factors like loss of habitats and climate change, pollution may play an important role in this decline. In particular, in pond-breeding amphibians, individuals can be exposed to chemicals during their aquatic (i.e. egg and larvae) life stages. After metamorphosis, juveniles and adults can also be exposed to chemicals in the air and soil. At both stages, the highly permeable skin of amphibians makes them particularly sensitive to toxic molecules.
Currently, risk assessment procedures for both the registration of chemicals and the determination of environmental quality criteria rarely consider the toxicity to amphibians. One reason is that few robust and reproducible methods exist to determine the effects of chemicals on these species. Secondly, and as a consequence of the first point, there is minimal literature on amphibian ecotoxicity.
During my PhD, I plan to introduce an innovative interdisciplinary approach that links biochemistry, ecotoxicology and ecology. The results and information gained in this project should allow me to propose recommendations for assessing the effects and thus the risk of chemicals to amphibians.
Cayuela, H., Prunier, J. G., Laporte, M., Gippet, J. M., Boualit, L., Guérold, F., … & Jacob, G. (2021). Demography, genetics, and decline of a spatially structured population of lekking bird. Oecologia, 195(1), 117-129.
Cayuela, Hugo, Laurent Boualit, Martin Laporte, Jérôme G. Prunier, Françoise Preiss, Alain Laurent, Francesco Foletti, Jean Clobert, and Gwenaël Jacob. “Kin-Dependent Dispersal Influences Relatedness and Genetic Structuring in a Lek System.” Oecologia, August 17, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-019-04484-z.
Boualit, L., Pichenot, J., Besnard, A., Helder, R., Joly, P., Cayuela, H., 2019. Environmentally mediated reproductive success predicts breeding dispersal decisions in an early successional amphibian. Animal Behaviour 149, 107–120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.01.008
Cayuela, H., Boualit, L., Arsovski, D., Bonnaire, E., Pichenot, J., Bellec, A., … & Besnard, A. (2016). Does habitat unpredictability promote the evolution of a colonizer syndrome in amphibian metapopulations?. Ecology, 97(10), 2658-2670.
Cayuela, H., Arsovski, D., Boitaud, S., Bonnaire, E., Boualit, L., Miaud, C., … & Besnard, A. (2015). Slow life history and rapid extreme flood: demographic mechanisms and their consequences on population viability in a threatened amphibian. Freshwater biology, 60(11), 2349-2361.