Relative sensitivity distribution of aquatic invertebrates to organic and metal compounds

  • Von Der Ohe P
  • Liess M
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In the field, a multitude of species can be exposed to numerous toxicants; thus, the sensitivity of individual species to particular toxicants must be known to predict effects and to analyze changes in species composition. For most species, no information about their toxicant sensitivity is available. To address this limitation, we have grouped the available information to assign sensitivities to aquatic invertebrate taxa relative to Daphnia magna. With respect to organic compounds, most taxa of the orders Anisoptera, Basommatophora, Coleoptera, Decapoda, Diptera, Ephemeroptera, Eulamellibranchiata, Heteroptera, Hirudinea, Isopoda, Oligochaeta, Prosobranchia, Trichoptera, Tricladida, and Zygoptera are less sensitive than D. magna. Some taxa of the Amphipoda, Plecoptera, and Cladocera (other than D. magna) are significantly more sensitive. For organic compounds, approximately 22% of the investigated taxa were more sensitive than D. magna. Most taxa of the orders Amphipoda, Basommatophora, Diptera, Ephemeroptera, Eulamellibranchiata, Heteroptera, Isopoda, Oligochaeta, and Tricladida are significantly less sensitive than D. magna to metal compounds. The taxa belonging to the Crustacea, with the exception of the order Isopoda, are much more sensitive. For metal compounds, approximately 30% of the investigated taxa were more sensitive than D. magna. Hence, D. magna is among the most sensitive taxa regarding both groups of toxicants. The sensitivities for several taxa are listed, and use of the relative sensitivity distribution to link toxicant effects in mesocosm studies and field investigations is discussed.

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  • P. C. Von Der Ohe

  • M. Liess

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