A synthesis of research related to aquatic-terrestrial coupling through emergence-mediated contaminant transfer

In this blogpost, Ralf Schulz talks about a recent review paper summarizing the newest literature on how anthropogenic stressors, such as pollutants, invasive species and hydromorphological changes in aquatic ecosystems affect the aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem coupling and particularly the food webs in terrestrial recipient food webs.

The review considered more than 1000 papers of which more than 300 were relevant for the topic and indicated that recent studies are more often stressor-specific than those studies more than approximalety 10 years old. Most importantly, the newly published article synthesises the work of the first cohort of the DFG-funded Research Training Group 2360 SystemLink conducted at the iES Landau. The respective studies have evaluated the effects of stressors auch as Bti, metals and pesticides on Chironomids insect in aquatic systems and the resulting terrestrial effects. Changes in the composition of emerging aquatic chironomids and particularly alterations on their quality (e.g. fatty acid profiles) affect predatory riparian spiders in various ways.

Moreover, the emerging insects transport contaminants (metals, pesticides) and a number of neonicotinoid insecticides has been shown to bioaccumulate in larval insects and to biomagnify via emergent insects in riparian spiders. Communities in contaminated surface waters are dominated by dipterans such as chironomids, which may in the field even lead to elevated bat hunting activities. The research from SystemLink in Landau contributes significantly to the international knowledge on aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem coupling under stress.

Reference: A synthesis of anthropogenic stress effects on emergence-mediated aquatic-terrestrial linkages and riparian food webs