Climate change and oil pollution: A dangerous cocktail for tropical zooplankton

Laura Hernández Ruiz, Bernard Ekumah, Delove Abraham Asiedu, Giovanna Albani, Emmanuel Acheampong, Sigrún H. Jónasdóttir, Marja Koski, Torkel Gissel Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Climate change and oil pollution pose a major threat to tropical marine ecosystems and to the coastal communities relying on their resources. The Gulf of Guinea is severely affected by multiple human induced stressors, but the potential impacts of these on marine productivity remain unknown. We investigated the combined effects of heatwaves (climate stressor) and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pyrene (proxy for oil) on the copepod Centropages velificatus. We quantified survival, reproduction and fecal pellet production of females exposed to concentrations of 0, 10, 100 and 100+ nM (saturated) pyrene under simulated heatwaves of different thermal intensity (+3 °C and +5 °C above control treatment temperature). Thermal stress due to both moderate and intensive heatwaves resulted in reduced survival and egg production. The negative effects of pyrene were only measurable at the high pyrene concentrations. However, thermal stress increased the sensitivity of C. velificatus to pyrene, indicating a synergistic interaction between the two stressors. We document that the interaction of multiple stressors can result in cumulative impacts that are stronger than expected based on single stressor studies. Further research is urgently needed to evaluate the combined impact of climatic and anthropogenic stressors on the productivity of coastal ecosystems, particularly in the tropical areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105718
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate change
  • Marine heatwaves
  • Multiple stressors
  • Oil pollution
  • Tropical zooplankton

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