Effects of the Herbicide Imazapyr on Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Logged Pond Cypress Dome

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Chironomid deformity, Herbicide, Imazapyr, Macroinvertebrates, Wetland

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Increased herbicide use in silviculture over the last several decades has led to concern over potential water contamination, which may affect biotic health. In the southeastern United States, pine flatwoods are important for timber production and are often interspersed with cypress wetlands. Cypress domes are isolated, shallow basins that collect surficial waters from adjacent forested areas and therefore might be expected to contain pesticide from storm runoff. This study utilizes in situ microcosm experiments to assess the effects of a concentration gradient of the herbicide imazapyr (0.184, 1.84, and 18.4 mg/L, equivalent to 1, 10, and 100 times the expected environmental concentration from a normal application rate) on the macroinvertebrate community of a logged pond cypress dome using changes in macroinvertebrate composition, chironomid biomass, and chironomid head-capsule deformities. The control core was not significantly different from the surrounding cypress dome for any parameter, suggesting that enclosure effects were likely of minimal importance in the final experimental results. The lack of statistical difference (p < 0.05) in macroinvertebrate community composition, chironomid deformity rate, and chironomid biomass between treatments suggests that imazapyr did not affect the macroinvertebrate community at the concentrations tested. Chironomid deformity rate ranged from 0.97% for imazapyr control to 4.96% for the 100× treatment, with chironomid biomass being 1.79 and 1.87 mg/L, respectively.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 22, issue 4, p. 900-907