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Effects of diuron and other aerially applied cotton herbicides and defoliants on the plankton communities of aquaculture ponds


Effects of diuron and other aerially applied cotton herbicides and defoliants on the plankton communities of aquaculture ponds



Aquaculture 26 233(1-4): 197-203



ISSN/ISBN: 0044-8486

DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2003.09.029

Seven aerially applied cotton herbicides and defoliants were tested for possible adverse impacts on pond phytoplankton and zooplankton and critical water quality variables. Treatments simulated direct spraying of ponds and high and low amounts of drift judged able to reach the pond, 1/10 and 1/100 direct rates, respectively. The study was conducted in twelve 500-l outdoor pool mesocosms filled with pond water from an adjacent goldfish Carassius auratus culture pond. Plankton and water quality samples were taken just prior to application and at 24 and 48 h after application. Sampling for chemicals showing effects were continued approximately weekly until oxygen levels in drift treatments returned to no significant difference from control. Chemicals tested and direct rates (kg active ingredient ha-1) were diuron as herbicide (1.4), paraquat (0.83), quizalofop (0.05), dimethipin (0.15), diuron as defoliant (0.1675), ethephon (0.176), tribufos (0.99) and sodium chlorate (5.28). Except for the diuron compounds, the cotton herbicides and defoliants produced no measurable impacts on pond plankton or associated water quality. Following application on March 5 of diuron, used as an herbicide, chlorophyll a levels and photosynthesis were significantly depressed in relation to diuron concentration. Recovery occurred slowly, and at the high drift dosage by week 3 morning oxygen levels returned to near control levels, although chlorophyll a levels were 1/3 the control. However, the off-flavor cyanobacterium, Anabaena laevendri, was essentially eliminated by week 3; and pH and thus un-ionized ammonia were much lower in high drift treatments. Copepod adult and nauplii zooplankton levels were depressed at week 2. However, rotifer numbers increased in the low drift treatment in weeks 3 and 4 and those of copepod nauplii in week 3. Fall application of diuron, as a defoliant at 1/10 the spring rate, produced similar effects when compared by concentration. The main adverse impact of diuron drift is on dissolved oxygen levels and can be anticipated by provision of adequate aeration capacity.

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