Long-term Hg pollution induced Hg tolerance in the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber (Isopoda, Crustacea)
The aim of our work was to assess the pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT) of isopod gut microbiota and pollution-induced isopod population tolerance (PIPT). Animals collected from a chronically Hg polluted and an unpolluted location were exposed for 14 days to 10 μg Hg/g dry food under laboratory conditions. The lysosomal membrane stability, hepatopancreas epithelium thickness, feeding activity and animal bacterial gut microbiota composition were determined. The results confirm the hypothesis that the response to short-term Hg exposure differs for animals from the Hg polluted and the unpolluted field locations. The animals and their gut microbiota from the Hg polluted location were less affected by Hg in a short-term feeding experiment than those from the unpolluted environment. We discuss the pollution-induced population tolerance of isopods and their gut microbiota as a measure of effects of long-term environmental pollution. The ecological consequences of such phenomena are also discussed.