Title: Info-disruption: pollution and the transfer of chemical information between organisms 
Resource Type: document --> technical publication --> journal article 
Country: Netherlands 
Year: 2007 
Availability: Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22:374-379 
Author 1/Producer: Lürling M. 
Other Authors/Producers: Scheffer M. 
Author / Producer Type: University research group / research institute 
Article Weblink (=direct link): http://www.trends.com/tree/default.htm  
EUGRIS Keyword(s): Contaminated land-->Risk assessment-->Toxicological information
Water and sanitation-->Water and sanitation Overview
Water resources and their management -->Stresses, quality and ecological status
Short description: Chemical communication between organisms and cells is omnipresent in the biosphere. One of the well-known examples of endogenous chemical communication is the endocrine system, which controls cell and organ activity and steers development via a series of hormonal cascades. In the 90s, scientists discovered the first evidence of the impact on the endocrine systems - even at low concentrations - of some environmental pollutants (the so-called endocrine disruptors) released by human activity. Since the discovery of their effects, increasing research has been performed in the field of endocrine disruptors and other chemicals altering chemical communication within organisms. This evidence has been reviewed by Dutch researchers, in order to determine how these chemical pollutants can deregulate chemical communication systems. Scientists have demonstrated on a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic organisms that food webs rely on chemical communication in a wide variety of contexts. Pheromones are a typical example of intra-species communication and relay information between organisms of the same species. Inter- species communication such as prey or predator detection also relies on chemical communication between organisms. Thus, this type of communication relayed by “info-chemicals” appears to be often correlated with vital function for both fauna and flora. The authors highlight that given its ubiquitous occurrence, the transfer of chemical information between organisms is likely to be disturbed by environmental chemicals released by humans. 
Submitted By: Professor Paul Bardos WhoDoesWhat?      Last update: 21/09/2007

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