John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

A comparative approach using ecotoxicological methods from single‐species bioassays to model ecosystems

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Soft sediments are often hotspots of chemical contamination and a thorough ecotoxicological assessment of this habitat can help to identify the causes of stress and to improve the health of the respective ecosystem. As an important component of the ecologically relevant meiobenthic fauna, nematodes can be used for sediment assessments, with various assay tools ranging from single‐species toxicity tests to field studies. In this study, microcosms containing sediment to investigate direct and indirect effects of zinc on natural nematode assemblages, and acute community toxicity tests considering only direct toxicity were conducted. The responses of the various freshwater nematode species in both approaches were compared with those of Caenorhabditis elegans, determined in standardized tests (ISO 10872). With an LC50 of 20 mg Zn/L, C. elegans represented the median susceptibility of 15 examined nematode species from the acute community test. In the microcosms, Zn affected the nematodes dose‐dependently, with first detected changes in species composition at 13–19 mg Zn/kg sediment dry weight. The observed species sensitivities in the microcosms corresponded better to field observations than to the results of the acute community toxicity tests. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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