Evolved Pesticide Tolerance

Theoretical studies predict that organisms can evolve tolerance to novel environments through selection on existing constitutive traits or through genetic assimilation. Over the last several years, the Hoverman lab and our collaborators have examined how wild populations of amphibians respond to pesticides. In these studies, patterns of amphibian plasticity to pesticides were consistent with predictions of genetic assimilation; populations without a history of pesticide exposure (i.e. a proxy for ancestral populations) had inducible tolerance, while populations with previous exposure (i.e. a proxy for derived populations) had constitutive tolerance. This works suggests that genetic assimilation may have caused the evolution of constitutive tolerance to pesticides. Building on this work, we have explored a number of additional research directions including the role of stress hormones in mediating induced pesticide tolerance, whether induced pesticide tolerance shares a mechanistic pathway with responses to natural stressors, and how induced pesticide tolerance influences host-parasite interactions.


Representative publications

Billet, LS and JT Hoverman. 2020. Pesticide tolerance induced by a generalized stress response in wood frogs (Rana sylvatica). Ecotoxicology.

Jones, DK, J Hua, BM Mattes, RD Cothran, JT Hoverman, and RA Relyea. 2020 Predator- and competitor-induced responses in amphibian populations that evolved different levels of pesticide tolerance. Ecological Applications.

Hua, J, VP Wuerthner, DK Jones, B Mattes, RD Cothran, RA Relyea, and JT Hoverman. 2017. Evolved pesticide tolerance influences susceptibility to parasites in amphibians. Evolutionary Applications 10:802-812.

Hua, J, DK Jones, BM Mattes, RD Cothran, RA Relyea, and JT Hoverman. 2015. The contribution of phenotypic plasticity to the evolution of insecticide tolerance in amphibian populations. Evolutionary Applications 8:586-596.

Hua, J, DK Jones, BM Mattes, RD Cothran, RA Relyea, and JT Hoverman. 2015. Evolved pesticide tolerance in amphibians: Predicting mechanisms based on mode of action and pesticide novelty. Environmental Pollution 206:56-63.

Wood Frog
Wood frog Tadpole