Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 55, 2019
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||12 March 2019|
Plankton community responses to environmentally-relevant agrochemical mixtures
Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología. Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias de la Tierra (CEACTierra), Universidad de Jaén, Campus de las Lagunillas, s/n.,
Accepted: 18 February 2019
Chemicals do not occur alone in the environment but most ecotoxicological assessments target the effect of single chemicals on aquatic communities and the establishment of legal limits is based on them. The present study assesses how plankton communities respond to single and mixture treatments of copper sulphate and ammonium nitrate where both agrochemical concentrations are below legal limits. Twenty-five microcosms were used to assess the effects of four treatments (n = 5): (1) low nitrate (L) of 25 mg L−1; (2) high nitrate (H) of 50 mg L−1; (3) copper treatment (CU) of 0.04 mg L−1 of copper; and (4) interaction treatment (I) of 50 mg L−1 of nitrate applied together with 0.04 mg L−1 of copper, and the controls (C). Plankton abundance, phytoplankton biovolume and zooplankton community structure (changes in the diversity and richness) were used as structural endpoints, and oxygen production and litter decomposition as functional indicators. Overall, results show no effect on the plankton community exposed to agrochemical under legal limits in single neither in mixture treatments. Only by the end of the experiment, total zooplankton abundance shows differences between interaction treatment (I) and the rest of the treatments and controls. Concretely, the interaction treatment suggests how a nutrient enhancement from ammonium nitrate addition may counterbalance the toxic effect of copper sulphate on zooplankton, most likely as a result of higher phytoplankton availability that positively influences zooplankter survival. Both drastic and subtle effects on communities are relevant for disentangling how chemicals interact under European current legal limits.
Key words: agrochemical / mixtures / legal limits / natural assemblages / plankton
© EDP Sciences, 2019
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