What is it about?

We treated springtails with a pesticide through four generations. We had two groups. In the first group, only parents got treatment and the rest of the generations were kept in a clean environment. In the second group, all of the generations got the same pesticide treatment. In the first group, the reproduction decreased even in the second and third generations which were untreated. So the pesticide treatment of generation can affect even the grandchildren. In the second group, the animals treated with smaller concentrations become more resistent in a few generations, but animals treated with higher concentrations went extinct in three generations.

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Why is it important?

Usually, in official tests, ecotoxicologists only test one generation and make assumptions based on that, which biases regulations. However, we could prove that a single treatment of a generation can cause long-term effects on four generations of springtails. So using pesticides has long-term consequences on soil life. Soil life is important in keeping the soil fertile.


This work was one of the two main experiments of my PhD studies. I see this experiment very interesting because it tells about consequencies for generations. Grandchildrens and grand-grandchildrens are affected by a single treatment and I think this is something we all should give a thought.

Borbála Szabó
Centre for Ecological Research

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Distinct changes in the life-history strategies of Folsomia candida Willem (Collembola: Isotomidae) due to multi- and transgenerational treatments with an insecticide, Applied Soil Ecology, August 2020, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2020.103563.
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