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Record number 506136
Title The effects of zinc on the structure and functioning of a freshwater community : A microcosm experiment
Author(s) Perre, Dimitri Van de; Roessink, Ivo; Janssen, Colin R.; Smolders, Erik; Regenmortel, Tina van; Wichelen, Jeroen Van; Vyverman, Wim; Brink, Paul J. van den; Schamphelaere, Karel A.C. De
Source Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 35 (2016)11. - ISSN 0730-7268 - p. 2698 - 2712.
Department(s) Alterra - Environmental risk assessment
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Biotic ligand model - Community-level effect - Microcosm - Plankton - Zinc

A major problem with risk assessment of chemicals is the extrapolation of laboratory single-species toxicity tests, which oversimplify the actual field situation by ignoring species interactions, to natural communities. The authors tested if the bioavailability-normalized 5% hazardous concentration (HC5) estimated from chronic planktonic single-species toxicity data (HC5plankton) for zinc (Zn) is protective for a plankton community and investigated the direct and indirect effects of Zn (at HC5 and HC50) on a freshwater community's structure and function. Microcosms were exposed to 3 different Zn concentrations (background, HC5plankton=75μgZn/L and HC50plankton=300μgZn/L) for 5wk. The planktonic groups revealed a consistent no-observed-effect concentration for the community of 75μgZn/L, similar to or higher than the HC5plankton, thus suggesting its protectiveness in the present study. At 300μgZn/L a significant reduction in cladocerans resulted in increases of rotifer, ciliate, and phytoplankton abundance. In addition, the phytoplankton community shifted in dominance from grazing-resistant to edible species. Contrary to the species sensitivity distribution (SSD) prediction, which identified phytoplankton as the most sensitive group, only the total chlorophyll and the abundance of 2 phytoplankton species were adversely affected at 300μgZn/L. Thus, although the HC5 estimated from the bioavailability-normalized SSD was overall protective for the plankton community, the SSD was not able to correctly predict the species sensitivity ranking within their community context at the HC50.

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