HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? SYNTHESIZING SUBLETHAL EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES ON SENSITIVE AQUATIC INSECTS USING A META-ANALYTIC APPROACH
Both the total concentration and diversity of novel synthetic chemicals have increased across surface waters globally. Pesticide use has increased since the 1970’s resulting in the loss of sensitive aquatic taxa from surface waters polluted by pesticide effluent. However, most freshwater organisms are likely not extirpated by environmentally relevant pesticide concentrations. Instead, chronic pesticide presence at sublethal concentrations may disrupt physiological and behavioral functions in sensitive taxa. Such sublethal effects have yet to be quantitatively synthesized. To bridge this gap, we used meta-analysis to synthesize sublethal effects of pesticides on mayfly, stonefly, and caddisfly taxa (EPT taxa). Our analysis of 162 effect sizes from 26 papers indicates that pesticide concentrations well below lethal concentrations negatively affect behavior, growth, and metabolism in EPT taxa. The magnitude of these effects increases as exposure to pesticides increases and negatively affects all three EPT orders, but stoneflies tend to respond more strongly to pesticides than mayflies or caddisflies. Given the pervasive use of pesticides in agricultural and urban environments, our work indicates that reliance on lethal endpoints to set water quality criteria may overlook significant sublethal effects that freshwater communities face.
Ariel Wooldridge (Primary Presenter/Author), Regis University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Kristofor Voss (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Regis University, email@example.com;