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Impacts of agricultural irrigation on nearby freshwater ecosystems: The seasonal influence of triazine herbicides in benthic algal communities

AuthorsLorente, Carmen; Causapé, Jesús; Glud, Ronnie N.; Hancke, Kasper; Merchán, Daniel; Muñiz, Selene ; Val, Jonatan; Navarro, Enrique
Community tolerance
Photosynthetic efficiency
Issue Date14-Jul-2014
CitationScience of The Total Environment (on-line first): (2014)
AbstractA small hydrological basin (Lerma, NE Spain), transformed from its natural state (steppe) to rain-fed agriculture and recently to irrigation agriculture, has been monitored across four seasons of an agricultural year. The goal of this study was to assess how and whether agricultural activities impacted the nearby freshwater ecosystems via runoff. Specifically, we assessed the toxicity of three triazine herbicides, terbuthylazine, atrazine and simazine on the photosynthetic efficiency and structure of algal benthic biofilms (i.e., phototropic periphyton) in the small creek draining the basin. It was expected that the seasonal runoff of the herbicides in the creek affected the sensitivity of the periphyton in accord with the rationale of the Pollution Induced Community Tolerance (PICT): the exposure of the community to pollutants result in the replacement of sensitive species by more tolerant ones. In this way, PICT can serve to establish causal linkages between pollutants and the observed biological impacts. The periphyton presented significantly different sensitivities against terbuthylazine through the year in accord with the seasonal application of this herbicide in the crops nowadays. The sensitivity of already banned herbicides, atrazine and simazine does not display a clear seasonality. The different sensitivities to herbicides were in agreement with the expected exposures scenarios, according to the agricultural calendar, but not with the concentrations measured in water, which altogether indicates that the use of PICT approach may serve for long-term monitoring purposes. That will provide not only causal links between the occurrence of chemicals and their impacts on natural communities, but also information about the occurrence of chemicals that may escape from traditional sampling methods (water analysis). In addition, the EC50 and EC10 of periphyton for terbuthylazine or simazine are the first to be published and can be used for impact assessments.
Description35 páginas
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.108
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