Effects of 17α-ethinylestradiol on zoo- and phytoplankton in lentic microcosms

Hense, Burkhard A.; Severin, Gabriele F.; Welzl, Gerhard; Schramm, Karl-Werner
February 2004
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Feb2004, Vol. 378 Issue 3, p716
Academic Journal
The effects of 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE), an endocrine disruptor, on zoo- and phytoplankton were studied in outdoor 230-L still-water microcosms. Cell density and biomass, diversity, and community composition were analyzed. Five microcosms were treated by controlled release for six weeks, three by direct application of EE. To investigate recovery, sampling was continued for four weeks after treatment. Most characteristics of the zooplankton were not unambiguously affected by EE. Only the relative density of copepods, especially of their larvae, decreased significantly after EE application. For phytoplankton, no unambiguous concentration- or toxodose-correlated effects on any biotic characteristics could be found. However, most properties of the phytoplankton deviated from those of controls, i.e. tended to be smaller (number of species per microcosm, biomass, cell density) or covered a wider range (diversity, evenness). PCA indicated a shift of species structure in the treated microcosms. This was supported by the species scores calculated by the principal response curve method, although the principal response curve itself showed no clear EE-correlated shifts. High variability within the biocenosis between microcosms and over time, probably because of disturbance of the ecosystem before starting of the test, might have superimposed EE-dependent effects.


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