Differential behavioural responses to venlafaxine exposure route, warming and acidification in juvenile fish (Argyrosomus regius)

Ana Luísa Maulvault, Lúcia H. M. L. M. Santos, José Ricardo Paula, Carolina Camacho, Vasco Pissarra, Fabiola Fogaça, Vera Barbosa, Ricardo Alves, Pedro Pousão Ferreira, Damià Barceló, Sara Rodriguez-Mozaz, António Marques, Mário Diniz, Rui Rosa

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Antidepressants, such as venlafaxine (VFX), which are considered emerging environmental pollutants, are increasingly more present in the marine environment, and recent evidence suggest that they might have adverse effects on fish behaviour. Furthermore, altered environmental conditions associated to climate change (e.g. warming and acidification) can also have a determinant role on fish behaviour, fitness and survival. Yet, the underlying interactions between these environmental stressors (pharmaceuticals exposure and climate change) are still far from being fully understood. The aim of this study was to assess behavioural responses (in juvenile meagre (Argyrosomus regius) exposed to VFX via water ([VFX] ~20 μg L−1) and via dietary sources ([VFX] ~160 μg kg−1 dry weight), as well as to increased temperature (ΔT°C = +5 °C) and high CO2 levels (ΔpCO2 ~1000 μatm; equivalent to ΔpH = −0.4 units). Overall, VFX bioaccumulation in fish plasma was enhanced under the combination of warming and acidification. VFX triggered fish exploration, whereas fish activity and shoal cohesion were reduced. Acidification alone decreased fish exploration and shoal cohesion, and reversed fish preference to turn leftwards compared to control conditions. Such alterations were further enhanced by VFX exposure. The combination of warming and acidification also reduced shoal cohesion and loss of lateralization, regardless of VFX exposure. The distinct behaviour observed when VFX contamination, acidification and warming acted alone or in combination highlighted the need to consider the likely interactive effects of seawater warming and acidification in future research regarding the toxicological aspects of chemical contaminants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136-1147
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Antidepressants
  • Fish behaviour
  • Ocean acidification
  • Ocean warming
  • Venlafaxine


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