Predicting chronic copper and nickel reproductive toxicity to Daphnia pulex-pulicaria from whole-animal metabolic profiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Craig Johnson
  • Norman D Yan
  • John M Gunn
  • James C McGeer

Colleges, School and Institutes


The emergence of omics approaches in environmental research has enhanced our understanding of the mechanisms underlying toxicity; however, extrapolation from molecular effects to whole-organism and population level outcomes remains a considerable challenge. Using environmentally relevant, sublethal, concentrations of two metals (Cu and Ni), both singly and in binary mixtures, we integrated data from traditional chronic, partial life-cycle toxicity testing and metabolomics to generate a statistical model that was predictive of reproductive impairment in a Daphnia pulex-pulicaria hybrid that was isolated from an historically metal-stressed lake. Furthermore, we determined that the metabolic profiles of organisms exposed in a separate acute assay were also predictive of impaired reproduction following metal exposure. Thus we were able to directly associate molecular profiles to a key population response - reproduction, a key step towards improving environmental risk assessment and management.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-329
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date6 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Ecotoxicology, Environmental risk assessment, Metal mixtures, PLS-R, Metabolomics, Mass spectrometry