Nature basically accepts something when we take drugs legally or otherwise. The knockout effect is not direct, and if you need to take medication it is certainly not something to feel guilty about, but it is something that should be considered when trying to preserve our wildlife. Drugs can enter our waterways as a result of polluted water (remember the problem of el-cocaine in London?) And have all sorts of effects on wildlife such as the dopamine-induced Daphnia magna baby boom.
It has been established that pharmaceutical pollution is a thing, so the question that remains is how does it change the affected ecosystem? A new study published in the journal Ecosphere has decided to respond exactly to the example of crayfish, specifically looking at how they might be affected by the presence of antidepressants. On top of the drugs they focused on was Cytilopram, a selected serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is used worldwide, making it an important candidate for pharmaceutical contamination.
The team has already carried out research at the Carrie Institute of Ecosystem Studies using 20 artificial streams filled with water, rocks and leaf material to reconsider the natural situation, using a succulent cocktail of germs, invertebrates and algae. These fax streams were then allocated for one of four treatments; Cytilopam on its own, Cytelopam with the help of crayfish, Crayfish on its own and a control so that no crayfish or Cytilopam is added.
Each crayfish-streamed stream had three males, and small doses were given to the citralpram-treatment stream on alternate days to mimic the expected drug contamination in urban rivers and streams. The researchers measured the oxygen, temperature and light penetration of the water and the amount of algae. These general indicators of the functions of the forest ecosystem will be revealed to observers how different artificial streams were changing under their specific conditions. Then came the crayfish. In their allotted streams for two weeks, after the stew, the crayfish were separated by a divider to leave a shelter to investigate two tanks, one scented with sardine gelatin and the other scented by the other crayfish.