Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Sarah K. Woodley
info-disruption, atrazine, Plethodon shermani
Atrazine is a commonly used herbicide in the United States and is a potential info-disruptor. Atrazine acts as an info-disruptor in fish, by dampening olfactory responses to pheromones, and atrazine has been linked to endocrine disruption in frogs. By interfering with chemoreception, atrazine may potentially impact foraging and reproductive success in various species. I hypothesized that in the terrestrial salamander, Plethodon shermani, in which chemical communication is important in social and foraging behaviors; atrazine would act as an odorant and/or interfere with chemosensation. I predicted that both acute and chronic exposure to atrazine would decrease chemoinvestigative behaviors, pheromone detection by the vomeronasal organ (VNO), and pheromone production by tail glands in adult animals.
During acute exposure, where animals were exposed to atrazine for less than 24 hours, there was no change in chemoinvestigation, VNO sensory neuron activation, or plasma hormone levels relative to controls. Long term atrazine exposure (28 days) did not disrupt chemoinvestigative behavior, pheromone detection by the VNO, pheromone production by the tail glands, or plasma hormone levels. Therefore, although atrazine acts as an info-disruptor in fish, there is no evidence that atrazine impairs the transfer of chemical information in the terrestrial salamander, P. shermani.
Lanzel, S. (2008). Atrazine and Info-disruption: Does the pesticide atrazine disrupt the transfer of chemical information in the terrestrial salamander, Plethodon shermani? (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/798