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Ozone Pollution Alters Olfaction and Behavior of Pollinators

Abstract : Concentration of air pollutants, particularly ozone (O3), has dramatically increased since pre-industrial times in the troposphere. Due to the strong oxidative potential of O3, negative effects on both emission and lifetime in the atmosphere of plant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have already been highlighted. VOCs alteration by O3 may potentially affect the attraction of pollinators that rely on these chemical signals. Surprisingly, direct effects of O3 on the olfaction and the behavioral response of pollinators have not been investigated so far. We developed a comprehensive experiment under controlled conditions to assess O3 physiological and behavioral effects on two pollinator species, differing in their ecological traits. Using several realistic concentrations of O3 and various exposure times, we investigated the odor antennal detection and the attraction to VOCs present in the floral scents of their associated plants. Our results showed, in both species, a clear effect of exposure to high O3 concentrations on the ability to detect and react to the floral VOCs. These effects depend on the VOC tested and its concentration, and the O3 exposure (concentration and duration) on the pollinator species. Pollination systems may, therefore, be impaired in different ways by increased levels of O3, the effects of which will likely depend on whether the exposure is chronic or, as in this study, punctual, likely causing some pollination systems to be more vulnerable than others. While several studies have already shown the negative impact of O3 on VOCs emission and lifetime in the atmosphere, this study reveals, for the first time, that this impact alters the pollinator detection and behavior. These findings highlight the urgent need to consider air pollution when evaluating threats to pollinators.
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Contributor : Pierre-Alexandre Deyris <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 10:23:32 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 5:11:01 PM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



Maryse Vanderplanck, Benoît Lapeyre, Margot Brondani, Manon Opsommer, Mathilde Dufay, et al.. Ozone Pollution Alters Olfaction and Behavior of Pollinators. Antioxidants , MDPI, 2021, Oxidative Stress Response in a Wide Variety of Insect Species, 10 (5), pp.636. ⟨10.3390/antiox10050636⟩. ⟨hal-03211901⟩



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