Fate of thiamethoxam in mesocosms and response of the zooplankton community
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Thiamethoxam is a neonicotinoid insecticide that can reach wetlands in agro-ecosystems through runoff. The fate and effects of thiamethoxam on non-target organisms in shallow wetland ecosystems have not been well characterized. To this end, a mesocosm study was conducted with a focus on characterizing zooplankton community responses. A single pulse application of thiamethoxam (0, 25, 50, 100, 250, and 500 μg/L; n = 3) was applied to experimental systems and monitored for 8 weeks. The mean half-life of thiamethoxam among the different treatments was 3.7 days in the water column with concentrations of <0.8 μg/L in the majority of mesocosms by 56 days. Principal response curve analysis did not show any significant concentration-dependent differences in the zooplankton community among treatments over the course of the study. The minimum detectable difference (MDD%) values for abundance of potentially sensitive arthropod taxa (nauplius larvae, cyclopoid copepods) allowed the detections from controls as low as 42 and 59% effect, respectively. The MDD% values for total abundance of zooplankton (including the potentially less sensitive taxonomic group of Rotifera) allowed the detection from controls as low as 41% effect. There were no statistically significant differences in zooplankton abundance or diversity between control and treated mesocosms at the end of the study. There were also no statistically significant differences for individual taxa that were sustained between sampling points, or manifested as a concentration-response. We conclude that acute exposure to thiamethoxam at environmentally relevant concentrations (typically ng/L) likely does not represent a significant adverse ecological risk to wetland zooplankton community abundance and structure.
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