Benthic invertebrate bioturbation activity determines species specific sensitivity to sediment contamination

Tom V. van der Meer, Milo L. de Baat*, Piet F.M. Verdonschot, Michiel H.S. Kraak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bioturbation activity of sediment-dwelling organisms promotes the release of contaminants across the benthic-pelagic ecosystem boundary, thereby affecting the exposure to and uptake of sediment associated contaminants at the sediment-water interface by themselves and the entire community around them. This way, bioturbation activity may contribute to species specific sensitivities to sediment associated compounds. Therefore we assessed, based on literature data, if invertebrate bioturbation activity determines species specific sensitivities to sediment contamination. For two metals, Ni and Cu, sufficient data were available to construct Species Sensitivity Distributions (SSD). The position of the species in the SSDs could indeed be linked to their bioturbation rate: the most active bioturbators being the most sensitive benthic invertebrates. Active bioturbators thus enhance their exposure and therewith their sensitivity to sediment associated toxicants. Moreover, active bioturbators can hence promote the release of sediment-associated contaminants across the benthic-pelagic ecosystem boundary, thereby stimulating delivery of contaminants from what is often the most polluted environmental compartment in freshwater ecosystems. It is concluded that trait based ecotoxicology offers a possibly potent tool for predicting sensitivity of benthic invertebrates and the benthic community to sediment-associated contaminants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Volume5
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Benthic invertebrates
  • Bioturbation
  • Sediment contamination
  • Species specific sensitivity
  • SSD

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