Information from effects of pesticides in sediments at an ecosystem level, to validate current and proposed risk assessment procedures, is scarce. A sediment-spiked outdoor freshwater microcosm experiment was conducted with fludioxonil (lipophilic, non-systemic fungicide) to study exposure dynamics and treatment-related responses of benthic and pelagic macroinvertebrates and zooplankton. Besides blank control and solvent control systems the experiment had six different treatment levels (1.7–614 mg a.s./kg dry sediment) based around the reported 28-d No Observed Effect Concentration (NOEC) for Chironomus riparius (40 mg a.s./kg dry sediment). Twelve systems were available per treatment of which four were sacrificed on each of days 28, 56 and 84 after microcosm construction. Fludioxonil persisted in the sediment and mean measured concentrations were 53–82% of the initial concentration after 84 days. The dissipation rate increased with the treatment level. Also exposure concentrations in overlying water were long-term, with highest concentrations 28 days after initiation of the experiment. Sediment-dwelling Oligochaeta and pelagic Rotifera and Cladocera showed the most pronounced treatment-related declines. The most sensitive sediment-dwelling oligochaete was Dero digitata (population NOEC 14.2 mg a.s./kg dry sediment). The same NOEC was calculated for the sediment-dwelling macroinvertebrate community. The most sensitive zooplankton species was the cladoceran Diaphanosoma brachyurum (NOEC of 1.6 μg a.s./L in overlying water corresponding to 5.0 mg a.s./kg dry sediment). At the two highest treatments several rotifer taxa showed a pronounced decrease, while the zooplankton community-level NOEC was 5.6 μg a.s./L (corresponding to 14.2 mg a.s./kg dry sediment). Zooplankton taxa calanoid Copepoda and Daphnia gr. longispina showed a pronounced treatment-related increase (indirect effects). Consequently, an assessment factor of 10 to the chronic laboratory NOECs of Chironomus riparius (sediment) and Daphnia magna (water) results in a regulatory acceptable concentration that is sufficiently protective for both the sediment-dwelling and pelagic organisms in the microcosms.
- Benthic and pelagic populations
- Direct and indirect effects
- Exposure dynamics
- Sediment ecotoxicology