Effects of pesticide toxicity, salinity and other environmental variables on selected ecosystem functions in streams and the relevance for ecosystem services

R Schäfer, Mirco Bundschuh, Duncan Rouch, Eduard Szöcs, Peter von der Ohe, Vincent Pettigrove, Ralf Schulz, Dayanthi Nugegoda, Ben Kefford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    52 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Effects of anthropogenic and environmental stressors on freshwater communities can propagate to ecosystem functions and may in turn impede ecosystem services. We investigated potential shifts in ecosystem functions that provide energy for freshwater ecosystems due to pesticides and salinity in 24 sites in streams of southeast Australia. First, effects on allochthonous organic matter (AOM) breakdown using three different substrates (leaves, cotton strips, wood sticks) in coarse and fine bags were investigated. Second, we examined effects on stream metabolism that delivers information on the ecosystem functions of gross primary production and ecosystem respiration. We found up to a fourfold reduction in AOM breakdown due to exposure to pesticides and salinity, where both stressors contributed approximately equally to the reduction. The effect was additive as, no interaction or correlation between the two stressors was found. Leaf breakdown responded strongly and exclusively to exposure to pesticides and salinity, whereas cotton strip breakdown was less sensitive and responded also to other stressors such as nutrients. No functional redundancy for the effects of pesticides and salinity on leaf breakdown was observed. For wood stick breakdown, no relationship to environmental gradients was found, however, the sample size was lower. We did not detect effects of pesticides or salinity on gross primary production or ecosystem respiration. A reduction in AOM breakdown by pesticides and salinity may impair the ecosystem services of food provision and possibly water purification. Hence, future studies should examine the spatial extent of these effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-78
    Number of pages10
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume415
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Pesticides
    ecosystem function
    ecosystem service
    Ecosystems
    Toxicity
    pesticide
    salinity
    Biological materials
    organic matter
    primary production
    cotton
    respiration
    Cotton
    Wood
    ecosystem
    freshwater ecosystem
    environmental gradient
    toxicity of pesticides
    effect
    Metabolism

    Cite this

    Schäfer, R ; Bundschuh, Mirco ; Rouch, Duncan ; Szöcs, Eduard ; von der Ohe, Peter ; Pettigrove, Vincent ; Schulz, Ralf ; Nugegoda, Dayanthi ; Kefford, Ben. / Effects of pesticide toxicity, salinity and other environmental variables on selected ecosystem functions in streams and the relevance for ecosystem services. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2012 ; Vol. 415. pp. 69-78.
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    Effects of pesticide toxicity, salinity and other environmental variables on selected ecosystem functions in streams and the relevance for ecosystem services. / Schäfer, R; Bundschuh, Mirco; Rouch, Duncan; Szöcs, Eduard; von der Ohe, Peter; Pettigrove, Vincent; Schulz, Ralf; Nugegoda, Dayanthi; Kefford, Ben.

    In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 415, 2012, p. 69-78.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Bundschuh, Mirco

    AU - Rouch, Duncan

    AU - Szöcs, Eduard

    AU - von der Ohe, Peter

    AU - Pettigrove, Vincent

    AU - Schulz, Ralf

    AU - Nugegoda, Dayanthi

    AU - Kefford, Ben

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    N2 - Effects of anthropogenic and environmental stressors on freshwater communities can propagate to ecosystem functions and may in turn impede ecosystem services. We investigated potential shifts in ecosystem functions that provide energy for freshwater ecosystems due to pesticides and salinity in 24 sites in streams of southeast Australia. First, effects on allochthonous organic matter (AOM) breakdown using three different substrates (leaves, cotton strips, wood sticks) in coarse and fine bags were investigated. Second, we examined effects on stream metabolism that delivers information on the ecosystem functions of gross primary production and ecosystem respiration. We found up to a fourfold reduction in AOM breakdown due to exposure to pesticides and salinity, where both stressors contributed approximately equally to the reduction. The effect was additive as, no interaction or correlation between the two stressors was found. Leaf breakdown responded strongly and exclusively to exposure to pesticides and salinity, whereas cotton strip breakdown was less sensitive and responded also to other stressors such as nutrients. No functional redundancy for the effects of pesticides and salinity on leaf breakdown was observed. For wood stick breakdown, no relationship to environmental gradients was found, however, the sample size was lower. We did not detect effects of pesticides or salinity on gross primary production or ecosystem respiration. A reduction in AOM breakdown by pesticides and salinity may impair the ecosystem services of food provision and possibly water purification. Hence, future studies should examine the spatial extent of these effects.

    AB - Effects of anthropogenic and environmental stressors on freshwater communities can propagate to ecosystem functions and may in turn impede ecosystem services. We investigated potential shifts in ecosystem functions that provide energy for freshwater ecosystems due to pesticides and salinity in 24 sites in streams of southeast Australia. First, effects on allochthonous organic matter (AOM) breakdown using three different substrates (leaves, cotton strips, wood sticks) in coarse and fine bags were investigated. Second, we examined effects on stream metabolism that delivers information on the ecosystem functions of gross primary production and ecosystem respiration. We found up to a fourfold reduction in AOM breakdown due to exposure to pesticides and salinity, where both stressors contributed approximately equally to the reduction. The effect was additive as, no interaction or correlation between the two stressors was found. Leaf breakdown responded strongly and exclusively to exposure to pesticides and salinity, whereas cotton strip breakdown was less sensitive and responded also to other stressors such as nutrients. No functional redundancy for the effects of pesticides and salinity on leaf breakdown was observed. For wood stick breakdown, no relationship to environmental gradients was found, however, the sample size was lower. We did not detect effects of pesticides or salinity on gross primary production or ecosystem respiration. A reduction in AOM breakdown by pesticides and salinity may impair the ecosystem services of food provision and possibly water purification. Hence, future studies should examine the spatial extent of these effects.

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