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  • 1.
    Thiere, Geraldine
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET), Biological and Environmental Systems (BLESS), Environmental Science, Wetland Research Centre.
    Schulz, Ralf
    Department of Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa .
    Runoff-related agricultural impact in relation to macroinvertebrate communities of the Lourens River, South Africa2004In: Water Research, ISSN 0043-1354, E-ISSN 1879-2448, Vol. 38, no 13, p. 3092-3102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A field study at the Lourens River, South Africa, was undertaken during the pesticide application period between November 2001 and January 2002 in order to investigate the potential relation of agricultural pollution to the aquatic macroinvertebrate fauna. The upper regions of the Lourens River were free of contamination (LR1), whereas subsequent stretches flowing through a 400-ha orchard area (LR2) received transient insecticide peaks. Continuously operating suspended-particle samplers as well as flood samplers operating during runoff events were used to measure pesticide contamination. In addition, various physicochemical and morphological parameters were examined. A survey of the macroinvertebrate communities associated with the rocky substrates was carried out every three weeks. Community indices were calculated using the South African Scoring System (SASS 5) for bioassessment of water quality in rivers.

    The two sites differed in pesticide pollution as well as in average turbidity levels (LR1 5.5 mg/L; LR2 64.3 mg/L), but were similar in bottom substrate composition and most other abiotic factors. At the downstream site (LR2), pesticide values of 0.05 μg/L azinphos-methyl in water as well as 49 μg/kg azinphos-methyl, 94 μg/kg chlorpyrifos and 122 μg/kg total endosulfan in suspended particles were found during runoff conditions. The macroinvertebrate communities of the two sampling sites were similar in terms of number of total individuals, but differed significantly (ANOVA) in average number of taxa (LR1 11.7, LR2 8.9). Seven out of 17 investigated taxa occurred in significantly reduced numbers or were even absent at the downstream site LR2. The community characteristics determined by SASS 5 showed a significantly less sensitive community structure at the downstream site (TS 41; ASPT 4.6), indicating continuously lower water quality compared to site LR1 (TS 80; ASPT 6.9). It is concluded that the Lourens River macroinvertebrate communities are affected by agricultural pollution, with pesticides and increased turbidity as the most important stressors.

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