|The periphyton as a multimetric bioindicator for assessing the impact of land use on rivers: an overview of the Ardières-Morcille experimental watershed (France)
|Year of Publication
|Montuelle B., Dorigo U., Bérard A., Volat B., Bouchez A., Tlili A., Gouy V., Pesce S.
|Type of Article
Developing new biological indicators for monitoring toxic substances is a major environmental challenge. Intensive agricultural areas are generally pesticide-dependent and generate water pollution due to transfer of pesticide residues through spray-drift, run-off and leaching. The ecological effects of these pollutants in aquatic ecosystems are broad-ranging owing to the variety of substances present (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, etc.). Biofilms (or periphyton) are considered to be early warning systems for contamination detection and their ability to reveal effects of pollutants led researchers to propose a variety of methods to detect and assess the impact of pesticides. The present article sought to provide new insights into the ecological significance of biofilm microbial communities and to discuss their bioindication potential for water quality and land use by reporting on 4 years of research performed on the French Ardières-Morcille experimental watershed (AMEW). Various biological indicators have been applied during several surveys on AMEW, allowing the characterisation of (i) the structure and diversity of biofilm communities [community level finger printing (CLFP) such as PCR–DGGE and pigment classes], (ii) functions associated with biofilm [community level physiological profiles (CLPP) such as extracellular enzymes, pesticides biodegradation or carbon sources biodegradation] and (iii) biofilm tolerance assessment (pollution-induced community tolerance, PICT) of the main contaminant in the AMEW (copper and diuron). Approaches based on CLFPs and PICT were consistent with each other and indicated the upstream–downstream impact due to the increasing land use by vineyards and the adaptation of algal and bacterial communities to the pollution gradient. CLPPs gave a contrasted bioindication because some parameters (most of the tested extracellular enzymes activities) did not detect a pollution gradient. Such CLPPs, CLFPs and PICT methods applied to biofilm could constitute the basis for a relevant in situ assessment both for chemical effects and aquatic ecosystem resilience.