A new scientific study has demonstrated that RoundUp weedkiller triggers loss to biodiversity, thereby making ecosystems more vulnerable to pollution and climate change.
In the current study examining the effects of RoundUp weedkiller on our ecosystems, researchers confirmed that in areas where glyphosate, the primary chemical in RoundUp, has been sprayed, it has been leaching into the surrounding environment.
To test how freshwater ecosystems respond to environmental contamination from glyphosate, researchers used experimental ponds to expose phytoplankton communities (algae) to the herbicide. The researchers found that freshwater ecosystems that experience moderate contamination from the herbicide became more resistant when later exposed to a very high level of it – working as a form of “evolutionary vaccination.” However, such adapting comes at a significant cost to the biodiversity. For instance, the researchers note that the resistance to the herbicide came at a cost of plankton diversity. source
“We observed significant loss of biodiversity in communities contaminated with glyphosate. This could have a profound impact on the proper functioning of ecosystems and lower the chance that they can adapt to new pollutants or stressors. This is particularly concerning as many ecosystems are grappling with the increasing threat of pollution and climate change.”
-Dr. Andrew Gonzalez, McGill biology professor and Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology
More studies on the effects of glyphosate on the environment are currently underway.
Journal Reference: “Community rescue in experimental phytoplankton communities facing severe herbicide pollution” by Fugère V., Hébert M.-P., Costa N.B., Xu C.C.Y., Barrett R.D.H., Beisner B.E., Bell G., Fussmann G.F., Shapiro B.J., Yargeau V., and Gonzalez A. Nature Ecology & Evolution Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1134-5.
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