Chronic herbicide exposures affect the sensitivity and community structure of tropical benthic microalgae

Marie E. Magnusson, Kirsten Ruth Heimann, Michael J. Ridd, Andrew Peter Negri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of prolonged exposure to low concentrations of herbicides on tropical periphyton (biofilm) communities are largely unknown. Tropical estuarine biofilms established in microcosms were therefore exposed to diuron (photosystem-II-inhibitor) at 2-16μgL -1 for 4weeks. The biofilms, consisting of diatoms, filamentous brown algae and cyanobacteria, developed a tolerance to diuron during this period as measured by Phyto-PAM fluorometry. Microscopy and pigment analysis revealed that this decrease in sensitivity was accompanied by a shift in species composition towards communities dominated by diatoms. The combination of techniques enabled the first identification of pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT) in tropical estuarine periphyton in response to chronic herbicide exposures. Community composition changed compared to controls at environmentally relevant concentrations of 1.6μgL -1, while development of PICT was evident at 6.5μgL -1 diuron, with no recovery (over 2weeks) in uncontaminated water, indicating chronic pollution induced shifts in community structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume65
Issue number4-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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