Ecotoxicological endpoints, are they useful tools to support ecological status assessment in strongly modified water bodies?Sci Total Environ. 2016 Jan 15; 541:119-129.ST
Although man-made reservoirs represent an important water supply source in countries where water scarcity has become a problem, little work has been done on the evaluation of their ecological status. Taking this in account, the general aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of ecotoxicological endpoints in the potential ecological status characterization of water reservoirs, with the purpose of their possible integration in evaluation programs developed under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). To achieve this purpose, a group of bioassays were selected to evaluate both water and sediment compartments at the Alqueva reservoir (the biggest from the Iberian Peninsula), with representative species from different taxonomic and functional groups: Vibrio fischeri, Thamnocephalus platyurus, Daphnia magna and Heterocypris incongruens. The ecotoxicological assessment showed that sublethal endpoints (e.g., luminescence, growth or reproduction), would be more useful and sensitive to identify toxicity patterns in this type of water body. In general, the results from this ecotoxicological toolbox agreed with the potential ecological status established according to the WFD, which indicates that the bioassays complement the ecological assessment. Furthermore, the use of an ecotoxicological approach can be extremely useful, especially in cases where the biotic indices are difficult to establish, such as in man-made reservoirs. However, when pollutant concentrations are very low, and/or when nutrients and organic matter concentrations are high, the two approaches do not fit, requiring further research to determine which organisms are more sensitive and the best biotic indices to use under those conditions.