Aquatic Toxicology, 2011, Vol.104(1), pp.32-37
The energy stored in coarse particulate organic matter, e.g. leaf litter, is released to aquatic ecosystems by breakdown processes involving microorganisms and leaf shredding invertebrates. The palatability of leaves and thus the feeding of shredders on leaf material are highly influenced by microorganisms. However, implications in the colonization of leaves by microorganisms (=conditioning) caused by chemical stressors are rarely studied. Our laboratory experiments, therefore, investigated for the first time effects of a fungicide on the conditioning process of leaf material by means of food-choice experiments using (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Additionally, microbial analyses were conducted to facilitate the mechanistic understanding of the observed behavior. Gammarids significantly preferred control leaf discs over those conditioned in presence of the fungicide tebuconazole at concentrations of 50 and 500 μg/L. Besides the decrease of fungal biomass with increasing fungicide concentration, also the leaf associated fungal community composition showed that species preferred by gammarids, such as , , or , were more frequent in the control. , however, which is rejected by gammarids, was abundant in all treatments suggesting an increasing importance of this species for the lower leaf palatability – as other more palatable fungal species were almost absent – in the fungicide treatments. Hence, the food-choice behavior of seems to be a suitable indicator for alterations in leaf associated microbial communities, especially fungal species composition, caused by chemical stressors. Finally, this or similar test systems may be a reasonable supplement to the environmental risk assessment of chemicals in order to achieve its protection goals, as on the one hand, indirect effects may occur far below concentrations known to affect gammarids directly, and on the other hand, the observed shifts in leaf associated microbial communities may have perpetuating implications in leaf shredding invertebrates.
Fungal Community ; Leaf Litter Decomposition ; Confidence Interval Testing ; Aquatic Hyphomycetes ; Azole Fungicide ; Bacteria ; Chemistry ; Ecology
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