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HP2 Global Perspectives on Soil Ecotoxicology
255 Portland Ballroom
1:20 PM - 5:20 PM, Thursday

() Effects of heavy metal pollution on the structure and functioning of detritivore communities in floodplains.

Hobbelen, P.H.F.1, Koolhaas, J.E.1, van Gestel, C.A.M.1, 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

ABSTRACT- The effects of heavy metal pollution on the structure and functioning of detritivores are studied in 15 heavily polluted flood plain soils, located in the delta area of the rivers Rhine and Meuse, in the Netherlands. The 15 study sites represent a gradient in Zn, Cu and Cd concentrations. The detritivore groups studied are earthworms, isopods and millipedes. The functioning of these groups is determined as their litter consumption per live biomass. Litter consumption in the field is determined using litterbags, filled with poplar litter, with two different mesh sizes (1 mm and 7 mm) to distinguish between the litter consumption by detritivores of different sizes. Assuming that most earthworms, isopods and millipedes are larger than 1 mm, the difference between these two litterbag types is a more specific measure of the consumption by these groups. Because previous research showed that earthworms are probably most affected by the metal pollution in the study sites, this group is studied in more detail. The effects of heavy metal pollution on the functioning of earthworms specifically is studied using bait-lamina sticks in the field. Also the effects of heavy metal pollution on the structure of the earthworm community is studied, by determining the number and density of species in the field sites. The influence of metal pollution on the structure and functioning of detritivores will be analysed by comparing collected data to total metal concentrations in soil, pore water, plant leaves, and for earthworms also internal metal concentrations.

Key words: detritivores, heavy metal pollution, community structure, litter consumption


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