Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144456
Title (Primary) Long-term effects of a catastrophic insecticide spill on stream invertebrates
Author Reiber, L.; Knillmann, S.; Kaske, O.; Atencio, L.C.; Bittner, L.; Albrecht, J.E.; Götz, A.; Fahl, A.-K.; Beckers, L.-M.; Krauss, M. ORCID logo ; Henkelmann, B.; Schramm, K.-W.; Inostroza, P.A.; Schinkel, L.; Brauns, M.; Weitere, M.; Brack, W.; Liess, M.
Source Titel Science of the Total Environment
Year 2021
Volume 768
Page From art. 144456
Language englisch
Topic T9 Healthy Planet
T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Macroinvertebrates; Catastrophic release; Cypermethrin; Monitoring; Ecological effects; Recovery
Abstract Accidental spills or illegal discharges of pesticides in aquatic ecosystems can lead to exposure levels that strongly exceed authorized pesticide concentrations, causing major impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Such short-term events often remain undetected in regular monitoring programs with infrequent sampling. In early spring 2015, we identified a catastrophic pesticide spill with the insecticide cypermethrin in the Holtemme River, Germany. Based on existing pre-event macroinvertebrate community data, we monitored the effects and recovery of the macroinvertebrate community for more than two years after the spill. Strong short-term effects were apparent for all taxa with the exception of Chironomidae and Tubificidae. Effects could also be observed on the community level as total abundance, taxa number and biomass strongly decreased. Total abundance and taxa number showed a fast recovery. Regarding long-term effects, the total biomass remained substantially below the pre-contamination level (76%) until the end of the study. Also the abundances of three taxa (Gammarus, Leuctra, Limnius Ad.) did not return to levels prior to the spill even after 26 months. This lack of the taxon-specific recovery was likely due to their long generation time and a low migration ability due to a restricted connectivity between the contaminated site and uncontaminated stream sections. These factors proved to be stronger predictors for the recovery than the pesticide tolerance. We revealed that the biological indicators SPEARpesticides and share of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) are not suitable for the identification of such extreme events, when nearly all taxa are eradicated. Both indicators are functioning only when repeated stressors initiate long-term competitive replacement of sensitive by insensitive taxa. We conclude that pesticide spills can have significant long-term effects on stream macroinvertebrate communities. Regular ecological monitoring is imperative to identify such ecosystem impairments, combined with analytical chemistry methods to identify the potential sources of spills.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Reiber, L., Knillmann, S., Kaske, O., Atencio, L.C., Bittner, L., Albrecht, J.E., Götz, A., Fahl, A.-K., Beckers, L.-M., Krauss, M., Henkelmann, B., Schramm, K.-W., Inostroza, P.A., Schinkel, L., Brauns, M., Weitere, M., Brack, W., Liess, M. (2021):
Long-term effects of a catastrophic insecticide spill on stream invertebrates
Sci. Total Environ. 768 , art. 144456 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144456