Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems

Date:
May 16, 2012
Source:
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Summary:
A new study on chlorothalonil, one of the world's most common fungicides, shows it was lethal to a wide variety of freshwater organisms.

USF Biologist Taegan McMahon conducts experiments on chlorothalonil at a research facility in East Hillsborough.
Credit: Photos courtesy of Taegan McMahon

Chlorothalonil, one of the world's most common fungicides used pervasively on food crops and golf courses, was lethal to a wide variety of freshwater organisms in a new study, University of South Florida researchers said.

Biologists Taegan McMahon and Jason Rohr, co-authors of the study published in the journal Ecology Letters, report that chlorothalonil killed amphibians, snails, zooplankton, algae, and aquatic plants below estimated environmental concentrations previously deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The loss of these herbivores and plants freed the algae from predation and competition, which eventually resulted in algal blooms that were similar to the effects of eutrophication.

"Some species were able to recover from the chemical assault, but the ecosystem was fundamentally changed after its exposure to chlorothalonil," Rohr said.

The four-week study was conducted in a series of 300-gallon tanks used to mimic pond conditions.It follows a 2011 laboratory study conducted by McMahon and Rohr that found that ecologically-relevant concentrations of chlorothalonil killed four species of amphibians.

"Although our new study is the only reported community- and ecosystem-level experiment on chlorothalonil, our results are consistent with several direct toxicity studies conducted in the laboratory and with observations in the field," McMahon said.

Chlorothalonil kills molds and fungus by disrupting cellular respiration, an essential process for most multicellular organisms on the planet. Like the infamous DDT, chlorothalonil is a member of the organochlorine chemical family.

Fifty years after the book "Silent Spring" led to a ban on most forms of the pesticide DDT, chlorothalonil is one of a few organochlorine pesticides still registered for use in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

"In addition to reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystem functions, chlorothalonil reduced the decomposition of waste, an important service that freshwater ecosystems provide to humans," McMahon added.

"Interest in the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functions stems at least partly from the concern that anthropogenically-driven declines in biodiversity will reduce or alter the benefits offered by ecosystems," Rohr said."Surprisingly, however, this is one of the first studies to actually manipulate an anthropogenic factor and link it to changes in ecosystem functions mediated by declines in biodiversity."

"This is important because many species in ecosystems might contribute little to ecosystem functions or are functionally redundant with other species, and thus declines in biodiversity do not always affect the functions and services of ecosystems," Rohr said.

McMahon and Rohr encourage further research on effects of anthropogenic factors on ecosystem functions in systems with complex food webs and the re-evaluation of the safety of chlorothalonil.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of South Florida (USF Health). The original article was written by Vickie Chachere. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Taegan A. McMahon, Neal T. Halstead, Steven Johnson, Thomas R. Raffel, John M. Romansic, Patrick W. Crumrine, Jason R. Rohr. Fungicide-induced declines of freshwater biodiversity modify ecosystem functions and services. Ecology Letters, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01790.x

Cite This Page:

University of South Florida (USF Health). "Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516120146.htm>.
University of South Florida (USF Health). (2012, May 16). Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516120146.htm
University of South Florida (USF Health). "Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516120146.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins