Environmental variables, pesticide pollution and meiofaunal community structure in two contrasting temporarily open/closed false bay estuaries

S. Bollmohr, P.J. van den Brink, P.W. Wade, J.A. Day, R. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environmental variables (including natural and anthropogenic stressors) and meiobenthic communities were sampled in a ‘natural’ (Rooiels) and a ‘disturbed’ (Lourens) estuary in the Western Cape, South Africa, bimonthly for 20 months. A primary aim of the study was to assess if the meiobenthic community structure is driven by different variables when comparing ‘natural’ versus ‘disturbed’ system. Due to the much smaller catchment of the Rooiels Estuary, many environmental variables were significantly different (p<0.001) from the variables in the Lourens Estuary, e.g. salinity, temperature, pH, total suspended solids, nitrate and depth. No pesticide concentrations were expected in the Rooiels Estuary due to the absence of agricultural development in the catchment. However, chlorpyrifos (8.9 µg/kg), prothiofos (22.0 µg/kg) and cypermethrin concentrations (0.42 µg/kg) were detected frequently, with the highest concentrations recorded during the summer months. Principal response curve analysis showed that temporal variability between sampling dates explained 42% of the variance in environmental variables and pesticide concentrations and spatial variability between the 2 estuaries explained 58%. Variables contributing most to the differences were higher concentrations of endosulfan, p,p-DDE and nitrate concentrations in the Lourens Estuary and larger grain size and higher salinity at the bottom in the Rooiels Estuary. In general the meiofaunal community in the Rooiels Estuary showed a significantly higher number of taxa (p<0.001), a significantly higher Shannon Wiener Diversity Index (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-400
JournalWater SA
Volume37
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • principal response curves
  • south-africa
  • lourens river
  • western-cape
  • spatial patterns
  • warm-temperate
  • sediment
  • disturbance
  • exposure
  • water

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