Agrichemical contamination can provoke evolutionary responses in freshwater populations. It is a particularly relevant issue in semi-arid regions due to the sensitivity of endemic species to pollutants and to interactions with temperature stress. This paper investigates the presence of pesticides in rivers within a semi-arid agricultural watershed of Chile, testing for their effects on population genetic characteristics of the endemic mayfly Andesiops torrens (Insecta, Ephemeroptera). Pesticides were detected in sediment samples in ten out of the 30 sites analyzed throughout the upper part of the Limarí watershed. To study the evolutionary impact of such contamination on A. torrens, we used a genome-wide approach and analyzed 2056 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) loci in 551 individuals from all sites. Genetic differentiation was weak between populations, suggesting high gene flow across the study area. While we did not find evidence of pesticide effects on genetic diversity nor on population differentiation, the allele frequency of three outlier SNP loci correlated significantly with pesticide occurrence. Interrogation of genomic resources indicates that two of these SNPs are located within functional genes that encode for the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 2 and Dumpy, both potentially involved in insect cuticle resistance processes. Such genomic signatures of local adaptation are indicative of past adverse effects of pesticide exposure on the locally adapted populations. Our results reveal that A. torrens is sensitive to pesticide exposure, but that a high gene flow may confer resilience to contamination. This research supports the contention that A. torrens is an ideal model organism to study evolutionary responses induced by pesticides on non-target, endemic species.
- Pesticide contamination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis