Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.12.001
Title (Primary) Distinguishing the effects of habitat degradation and pesticide stress on benthic invertebrates using stressor-specific metrics
Author von der Ohe, P.C.; Goedkoop, W.
Source Titel Science of the Total Environment
Year 2013
Department WANA
Volume 444
Page From 480
Page To 490
Language englisch
Keywords Bioassessment; Macroinvertebrates; Pesticides; Hydromorphological degradation
UFZ wide themes RU2;
Abstract Hydromorphological degradation is a well known stressor for running waters, while the effects of elevated levels of pesticides are widely ignored. Hence, distinguishing between the effects of these two stressors is an urgent task for water managers that aim at appropriate remediation measures. We used a large monitoring data set on benthic invertebrates, habitat descriptors, and physico-chemical variables to develop the SPEAR[%]habitat metric that indicates the effects of in-stream habitat degradation. SPEAR[%]habitat correlated significantly with the habitat degradation score (HDS; based on substratum and vegetation coverage), while it did not respond to any physico-chemical variables (r2 = 0.20). This relationship improved for streams with low modeled pesticide inputs (r2 = 0.33), and improved even further for a subset of streams dominated by soft-bottom substrata, i.e. for similar stream-types (r2 = 0.65). These relationships were confirmed for an independent dataset that was not used in the derivation of the HDS (r2 = 0.57 and r2 = 0.65, respectively). These findings show that the SPEAR[%]habitat had a high degree of specificity for the effects of habitat degradation. Conversely, neither the commonly used EPT and ASPT metrics, nor the German Fauna Index or SPEAR[%]pesticides showed significant relationships with HDS. These metrics instead correlated significantly with the run-off potential (RP), a proxy of pesticide contamination of streams. Similarly, RP was also the most important explanatory variable for SPEAR[%]pesticides, followed by alkalinity and the number of forested upstream stretches (r2 = 0.61). The latter are expected to alleviate pesticide effects, as indicated by higher SPEAR[%]pesticides values. These findings show that an integrated analysis of the two stressor-specific SPEAR-metrics in combination with the metrics of general ecological degradation can help water managers to distinguish between the effects of habitat degradation and pesticide stress, two co-occurring stressors in agricultural landscapes.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
von der Ohe, P.C., Goedkoop, W. (2013):
Distinguishing the effects of habitat degradation and pesticide stress on benthic invertebrates using stressor-specific metrics
Sci. Total Environ. 444 , 480 - 490 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.12.001