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Primary and complex stressors in polluted mediterranean rivers: Pesticide effects on biological communities

AuthorsRicart, Marta; Guasch, Helena; Barceló, Damià ; Brix, Rikke; Conceição, Maria H.; Geiszinger, A.; López de Alda, Miren ; López-Doval, Júlio; Muñoz, Isabel; Postigo, Cristina ; Romaní, Anna; Villagrasa, Marta; Sabater, Sergi
KeywordsLlobregat river
Biofilm metrics
Multivariate analysis
Issue Date2010
CitationJournal of Hydrology
AbstractWe examined the presence of pesticides in the Llobregat river basin (Barcelona, Spain) and their effects on benthic biological communities (invertebrates and diatoms). The Llobregat river is one of Barcelona’s major drinking water resources. It has been highly polluted by industrial, agricultural, and urban wastewaters, and—as a typical Mediterranean river—is regularly subjected to periodic floods and droughts. Water scarcity periods result in reduced water flow and dilution capacity, increasing the potential environmental risk of pollutants. Seven sites were selected, where we analysed the occurrence of 22 pesticides (belonging to the classes of triazines, organophosphates, phenylureas, anilides, chloroacetanilides, acidic herbicides and thiocarbamates) in the water and sediment, and the benthic community structure. Biofilm samples were taken to measure several metrics related to both the algal and bacterial components of fluvial biofilms. Multivariate analyses revealed a potential relationship between triazine-type herbicides and the distribution of the diatom community, although no evidence of disruption in the invertebrate community distribution was found. Biofilm metrics were used as response variables rather than abundances of individual species to identify possible cause-effect relationships between pesticide pollution and biotic responses. Certain effects of organophosphates and phenylureas in both structural and functional aspects of the biofilm community were suggested, but the sensitivity of each metric to particular stressors must be assessed before we can confidently assign causality. Complemented with laboratory experiments, which are needed to confirm causality, this approach could be successfully incorporated into environmental risk assessments to better summarise biotic integrity and improve the ecological management.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.08.014
Appears in Collections:(IDAEA) Artículos
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