Phylogenetic signal in amphibian sensitivity to copper sulfate relative to experimental temperature

Ylenia Chiari, Scott Glaberman, Nina Serén, Miguel A. Carretero, Isabella Capellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The release of large quantities of chemicals into the environment represents a major source of environmental disturbance. In recent years, the focus of ecotoxicology has shifted from describing the effects of chemical contaminants on individual species to developing more integrated approaches for predicting and evaluating long term effects of chemicals across species and ecosystems. Traditional ecotoxicology is typically based on data of sensitivity to a contaminant of a few surrogate species and often considers little variability in chemical sensitivity within and among taxonomic groups. This approach assumes that evolutionary history and phylogenetic relatedness among species have little or no impact on species' sensitivity to chemical compounds. Few studies have tested this assumption. Using phylogenetic comparative methods and published data for amphibians, we show that sensitivity to copper sulfate, a commonly used pesticide, exhibits a strong phylogenetic signal when controlling for experimental temperature. Our results indicate that evolutionary history needs to be accounted for to make accurate predictions of amphibian sensitivity to this contaminant under different temperature scenarios. Since physiological and metabolic traits showing high phylogenetic signal likely underlie variation in species sensitivity to chemical stressors, future studies should evaluate and predict species vulnerability to pollutants using evolutionarily informed approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2015


  • Anura
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Heavy metal contamination
  • LC50 phylogeny
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Phylogenetic signal in amphibian sensitivity to copper sulfate relative to experimental temperature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this