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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 for highlighting adverse effects as soon as possible in the exposure scenario. 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.


Boualit, L., Cayuela, H., Cattin, L., & Chèvre, N. The Amphibian Short Term  Assay (ASTA): Evaluation of a New Ecotoxicological Method for Amphibians Using Two Organophosphate Pesticides Commonly Found in Nature. Assessment of Biochemical, Morphological and Life History Traits. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry