The relative sensitivity of macrophyte and algal species to herbicides and fungicides: An analysis using species sensitivity distributions



Lemna spp. are the standard test species representing aquatic macrophytes in the current risk assessment schemes for herbicides and plant growth regulators in the European Union and North America. At a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) 2008 workshop on Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides (AMRAP), a Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) working group was formed to address uncertainties about the sensitivity of Lemna spp. relative to other aquatic macrophyte species. For 11 herbicides and 3 fungicides for which relevant and reliable data were found for at least 6 macrophyte species, SSDs were fitted using lognormal regression. The positions of L. gibba (the most commonly tested Lemna species) and Myriophyllum spicatum (for which standardized test methods are under development) in each SSD were determined where data were available. The sensitivity of standard algal test species required for pesticide registration in the United States under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) relative to the macrophytes in each SSD was also examined (algae were not included in the SSD). L. gibba was among the most sensitive macrophyte species for approximately 50% of the chemicals examined. M. spicatum was among the most sensitive macrophytes for approximately 25% of the chemicals. In most cases, the lowest FIFRA algal species endpoint was lower than the most sensitive macrophyte endpoint. Although no single species consistently represented the most sensitive aquatic plant species, for 12 of 14 chemicals L. gibba and the FIFRA algae included an endpoint near or below the 5th percentile of the macrophyte SSD. For the other compounds, M. spicatum was the most sensitive species of all aquatic plants considered. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2013; 9: 308–318. © 2012 SETAC