Genetic and ecological impacts of heavy metal and flooding stress on the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus in floodplains of the Rhine river

V. Simonsen, T.C. Klok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the highly polluted river Rhine system, earthworms face environmental stress resulting from flooding and elevated heavy metal concentrations in the floodplain soil. Previous field studies have revealed adaptation to flooding for the earthworm species Lumbricus rubellus as this species matures at a lower weight in floodplain sites with a high frequency of flooding compared to less frequently flooded sites. Also heavy metals have effects on L. rubellus and heavy metals are influencing the genetic composition of this species. In this study, it was tested whether flooding and heavy metals had an impact on the genetic composition of L. rubellus living in floodplains along the river Rhine system. Earthworms were sampled at three sites previously studied along the river to assess earthworm diversity, biomass, density, and individual weight, and developmental status of L. rubellus. The genetic variation by means of isozymes was studied for 175 individuals. The results showed lowest density of L. rubellus adult and sub-adult life-stages and lowest individual weight of these life-stages at the frequent inundated site. The genetic composition, however, showed no effects of flooding on the genetic composition, but effects of heavy metals could not be ruled out
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-275
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • dendrodrilus-rubidus
  • risk-assessment
  • organic-matter
  • soils
  • populations
  • grassland
  • zinc
  • invertebrates
  • pollution
  • responses

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic and ecological impacts of heavy metal and flooding stress on the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus in floodplains of the Rhine river'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this