Stream habitat structure influences macroinvertebrate response to pesticides

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    use (Doledec et al., 2006), sewage efuents (Statzner et al., 2001)and the periodic exposure of agricultural pesticides (Liess and Vonder Ohe, 2005; Rubach et al., 2010) making the trait approachpotentially extremely valuable in assessing the effects of multiplestressors that frequently co-occur in stream ecosystems.

    One example of the assessment of ecological risk using biolog-

    organism, the effect of another stressor may increase. Conversely,the effect of one stressor may result in competitive release for oneorganism (e.g. elimination of predators) increasing its tness andpotentially reducing its sensitivity to other stressors (Pedersen andFriberg, 2009). One such potential stressor that often interacts withthe presence of pesticides in agricultural areas is the intensivemaintenance of streams by channelisation and dredging, usedto maximise ow conveyance into the stream channel and along it.One side-effect of the maintenance activities is a severe

    * Corresponding author.

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    Environmental Pollution 164 (2012) 142e149E-mail address: (J.J. Rasmussen).approach is considered promising for the detection and interpre-tation of the impact of pesticides (Baird et al., 2011).

    The distribution and abundance of specic traits of lotic mac-roinvertebrates are remarkably constant among similar types ofecosystems e even across biogeoregions e whereas the speciescomposition is muchmore variable (Baird and Van den Brink, 2007;Rubach et al., 2011). Moreover, biological traits respond quitespecically to certain sources of anthropogenic stress such as land

    responds selectively to pesticide stress in small streams acrossdifferent biogeoregions (Beketov and Liess, 2008; Liess and Von derOhe, 2005; Schfer et al., 2007, 2011).

    However, in spite of the clear strength in using biological traitsfor risk assessment such as SPEAR, the potential interaction ofdifferent anthropogenic stressors may prompt altered effects(Matthaei et al., 2010; Rasmussen et al., 2011a; Wagenhoff et al.,2011). As the effect of one stressor may reduce the tness of an1. Introduction

    Ecology is being increasingly intimprove the understanding of howecosystems. This interest has beenecosystems with a special emphasipesticides (Liess et al., 2005; Relyea asame systems, the use of biological tnatural disturbances on macroinverably more advanced than in any othTownsend and Hildrew, 1994; Tow0269-7491/$ e see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd.doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2012.01.007d into ecotoxicology toinants impact naturallarly strong in aquatice non-target effects ofverman, 2006). In theseappraise the effects ofcommunities is prob-

    em (Paillex et al., 2009;et al., 2008), and this

    ical traits is the SPEcies At Risk index (SPEAR) which is an ecologicalindicator system that is based on the biological traits of lotic andlentic macroinvertebrates (Liess and Von der Ohe, 2005). TheSPEAR index applies physiological (sensitivity to pesticides andother organic toxicants) and biological (generation time, timing andduration of terrestrial life stages and dispersal capacity) traits todetermine the relative abundance of the species that are at risk ofbeing impacted by the periodic exposure of pesticides. The SPEARindicator has been demonstrated to remain relatively constantamong reference stream ecosystems and, more importantly itRisk assessmentStream habitat structure inuences mac

    Jes Jessen Rasmussen*, Peter Wiberg-Larsen, AnnettAarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Vejlsvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 9 November 2011Received in revised form4 January 2012Accepted 8 January 2012

    Keywords:MacroinvertebratesSPEARPesticide stressPhysical habitats

    a b s t r a c t

    Agricultural pesticides conof interactions with other mWe, therefore, surveyed peof expected pesticide expomodied and less modied(SPEAR) were increased atspecic preferences for hdegradation in the assessm

    journal homepage: www.All rights reserved.invertebrate response to pesticides

    aattrup-Pedersen, Nikolai Friberg, Brian Kronvang

    e to impair surface water ecosystems, although there are few assessmentsications such as ne sediment and physical alteration for ood drainage.ide contamination and macroinvertebrates in 14 streams along a gradientusing a paired-reach approach to differentiate effects between physically

    es. Apparent pesticides effects on the relative abundance of SPEcies At Riskes with degraded habitats primarily due to the absence of species withsubstrates. Our ndings highlight the importance of physical habitat

    t and mitigation of pesticide risk in agricultural streams. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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  • degradation of the diversity and quality of physical habitats in thestreams. The physical structure of heavily maintained streams isoften characterised by higher proportions of soft substrates and lowvariability in depth and width of the streams (Pedersen, 2009). Inaddition, the degradation of physical habitats results in morelaminar and in general slower ow which reduces the reaerationcapacity and periodically the total oxygen content in the streamwater (Friberg et al., 2009; Pedersen, 2009).

    Signicant variation in the community structure of benthicmacroinvertebrates has been ascribed to substrate characteristics(e.g. particle size) and habitat heterogeneity (Brunke et al., 2001;Pedersen and Friberg, 2009). Many lotic Ephemeroptera, Plecopteraand Trichoptera (EPT) require high current velocities, welloxygenated water and coarse substrate (Giller and Malmqvist,1998), and moreover many EPT taxa have narrower nicherequirements than taxa related to physically uniform streams withsoft sediments (Dunbar et al., 2010). Therefore, high habitatheterogeneity is essential if the site is to support a larger proportionof the EPT taxa. The majority of EPT species are additionally char-acterised as at risk in the SPEAR index (Liess and Von der Ohe,2005). In consequence, the species pool of potential macro-invertebrate colonisers is severely reduced for reaches withdegraded physical conditions e and/or resident species may addi-tionally experience increasing sensitivity to pollutants due to sub-optimal physical conditions at the level of micro-habitats. Inconsequence, both of these factors could inuence the outcome ofthe SPEAR index as previously insinuated by Rasmussen et al.(2011a) and Schletterer et al. (2010). Rife sections of streamshave been prioritised for macroinvertebrate sampling in previousstudies using the SPEAR index (Liess and Von der Ohe, 2005;Schletterer et al., 2010; Schfer et al., 2007, 2011; von der Ohe et al.,

    2007). To our knowledge studies that address pesticide effects onconjunction with channel modications have not been conductedbefore.

    Theprincipal aimof this studywas to investigate the relationshipbetween pesticide contamination and macroinvertebrate commu-nity composition in streamswith differing structure and diversity ofphysical micro-habitats. We sampled 14 Danish 1st and 2nd orderstreams in each ofwhich two reacheswith differing physical habitatcharacteristics were selected. We used this set-up to test thehypotheses that 1) the fraction of SPEcies At Risk (SPEAR) is lower atreaches that are characterised by degraded physical habitatscompared to reaches with more unmodied habitats due to espe-cially the preference for hard substrate formany EPT taxa, and 2) thereduction of the fraction of SPEAR during the main pesticide appli-cation season is higher at sites that are characterised by degradedhabitats as a consequence of increased multiplicative stress.

    2. Methods

    2.1. Study design

    The eld campaign was conducted in 2009 in 14 1st and 2nd order streamslocated on Funen, Denmark. The region is dominated by agriculture and the studycatchments are characterised by low elevation and loamy/clayey soils (Fig. 1). Rye,wheat, barley, grass and oilseed rape were the dominating crop types (see alsoRasmussen et al., 2011b). Of all pesticides that were expected to be applied onto theelds, 48% were herbicides, 28% were fungicides (primarily boscalid and triazolecompounds) and 24% were insecticides (mainly pyrethroids) (Danish EPA, 2010).

    The study streams were selected based on the following criteria: 1) year-roundwater ow, 2) no physical maintenance activities during the sampling period, and 3)no sources of pollution other than those originating from normal agriculturalpractices. The streams were selected to exhibit a gradient of agricultural pressureand potential exposure to agricultural pesticides (predicted from the proportion ofadjacent agricultural land).

    J.J. Rasmussen et al. / Environmental Pollution 164 (2012) 142e149 143Fig. 1. Geographic overview of the study sites (to the left) and a schematic presentation of this used as a surrogate measure for physical habitat characteristics. The gure is modied ae neighbouring reaches of 50 m in each of study streams (to the right). Current velocityfter Rasmussen et al. (2012).

  • In each study stream, two reaches of 50 m were selected based on the physicaland hydromorphological properties of the reach (Fig. 1). The selection criteria for thereaches were 1) presence of an upstream reach characterised by low currentvelocity, low physical diversity and low reaeration capacity; 2) a downstream reachcharacterised by fast ow, high physical diversity and high reaeration capacity, and3) the distance between reaches should not exceed 250 m in order to maximise thesimilarity of water chemistry between reaches. For convenience


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