The fate and effects of the pyrethroid insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin were compared in mesotrophic (macrophyte-dominated) and eutrophic (phytoplankton-dominated) ditch microcosms (∼0.5 m3). Lambda-cyhalothrin was applied three times at one-week intervals at concentrations of 10, 25, 50, 100, and 250 ng/L. The rate of dissipation of lambda-cyhalothrin in the water column of the two types of test systems was similar. After 1 d, only 30% of the amount applied remained in the water phase. Initial, direct effects were observed primarily on arthropod taxa. The most sensitive species was the phantom midge (Chaoborus obscuripes). Threshold levels for slight and transient direct toxic effects were similar (10 ng/L) between types of test systems. At treatment levels of 25 ng/L and higher, apparent population and community responses occurred. At treatments of 100 and 250 ng/L, the rate of recovery of the macroinvertebrate community was lower in the macrophyte-dominated systems, primarily because of a prolonged decline of the amphipod Gammarus pulex. This species occurred at high densities only in the macrophyte-dominated enclosures. Indirect effects (e.g., increase of rotifers and microcrustaceans) were more pronounced in the plankton-dominated test systems, particularly at treatment levels of 25 ng/L and higher.
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