Predicting impacts of chemicals from organisms to ecosystem service delivery: A case study of insecticide impacts on a freshwater lake

Nika Galic, Chris J. Salice, Bjorn Birnir, Randall J.F. Bruins, Virginie Ducrot, Henriette I. Jager, Andrew Kanarek, Robert Pastorok, Richard Rebarber, Pernille Thorbek, Valery E. Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Assessing and managing risks of anthropogenic activities to ecological systems is necessary to ensure sustained delivery of ecosystem services for future generations. Ecological models provide a means of quantitatively linking measured risk assessment endpoints with protection goals, by integrating potential chemical effects with species life history, ecological interactions, environmental drivers and other potential stressors. Here we demonstrate how an ecosystem modeling approach can be used to quantify insecticide-induced impacts on ecosystem services provided by a lake from toxicity data for organism-level endpoints. We used a publicly available aquatic ecosystem model AQUATOX that integrates environmental fate of chemicals and their impacts on food webs in aquatic environments. By simulating a range of exposure patterns, we illustrated how exposure to a hypothetical insecticide could affect aquatic species populations (e.g., recreational fish abundance) and environmental properties (e.g., water clarity) that would in turn affect delivery of ecosystem services. Different results were observed for different species of fish, thus the decision to manage the use of the insecticide for ecosystem services derived by anglers depends upon the favored species of fish. In our hypothetical shallow reservoir, water clarity was mostly driven by changes in food web dynamics, specifically the presence of zooplankton. In contrast to the complex response by fishing value, water clarity increased with reduced insecticide use, which produced a monotonic increase in value by waders and swimmers. Our study clearly showed the importance of considering nonlinear ecosystem feedbacks where the presence of insecticide changed the modeled food-web dynamics in unexpected ways. Our study highlights one of the main advantages of using ecological models for risk assessment, namely the ability to generalize to meaningful levels of organization and to facilitate quantitative comparisons among alternative scenarios and associated trade-offs among them while explicitly accounting for different groups of beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume682
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was conducted as part of the Organisms to Ecosystems Working Group at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, sponsored by the National Science Foundation through award DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. HJ is employed by UT-Battelle, LLC which is managed under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the US Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for US Government purposes. The Department of Energy will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan (http://energy.gov/downloads/doe-public-access-plan). We also thank one anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
The present study was conducted as part of the Organisms to Ecosystems Working Group at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, sponsored by the National Science Foundation through award DBI-1300426 , with additional support from The University of Tennessee , Knoxville. HJ is employed by UT-Battelle, LLC which is managed under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the US Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for US Government purposes. The Department of Energy will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan ( http://energy.gov/downloads/doe-public-access-plan ). We also thank one anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

Keywords

  • Aquatic ecosystem model
  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Ecological valuation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Fishers
  • Swimmers
  • Trophic cascade

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