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Title: Freshwater biological indicators of pesticide contamination
Author: C.A. Schriever
Author: A. Callaghan
Author: J. Biggs
Author: M.. Liess
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1556, Representation ID: 545, Object ID: 2700
The aim of this project was to find one or more biological indicators that could be used by the Environment Agency to identify pesticide effects and responsible contaminants. The indicator should be sensitive to pesticide-induced changes in aquatic macroinvertebrate communities, and be able to identify the type of pesticide and the magnitude of contamination. It should be reliable, easy to deploy and interpret and easy to communicate to external audiences. Further, the indicator should run on macroinvertebrate data from the General Quality Assessment programme to minimise costs, and should be rapid and usable in the field to give a first indication of potential pesticide contamination. These requirements were used in a critical assessment and comparison of approaches to diagnose pesticide contamination from biological data. The review included methods potentially specific to pesticides (biochemical and molecular biomarkers) as well as diagnostic approaches at the population to community level, either taxonomy or traitbased. In addition, the study reviewed prognostic techniques that could be used with a diagnostic tool (RIVPCAS, PSYM) or that were potentially useful for diagnostic purposes (PERPEST). The assessment showed that currently, no single approach meets all the expectations specified by potential end users. However, three approaches showed promise as diagnostic tools. The SPEAR indicator and the Pesticide Index were found to be quick and cheap, making them suitable for screening at the landscape level. The acetylcholinesterase (AChE) assay has the potential to identify or exclude organophosphate or carbamate insecticides as contaminants responsible for observed biological impairment. Finally, the software tools RPDS and RPBBN, as although they are not yet pesticide-specific, they do not rely on a priori knowledge but rather on selforganisation of data. The different strengths of these methods are best combined in a tiered approach, with the first tier using community-based methods to screen for pesticide contamination at larger scales. Such a tiered approach would require a dataset of pesticide and biological field data to establish exposure-response relationships. With these data it would be possible for England and Wales to test the SPEAR index, to relate the absence of species to observed pesticide contamination (Pesticide Index), to revise the RPDS/RPBBN software and to link biomarker responses to exposure conditions in the field. If these major gaps can be addressed, the tiered approach could prove a suitable indicator of pesticide contamination in freshwater habitats.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: MonitoringMacroinvertebratesRiversLakesPesticidesWater pollutionAgricultural pollutionIndicator speciesInvertebrates
Extent: 85
Total file downloads: 19

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