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Can we predict diatoms herbicide sensitivities with phylogeny? Influence of intraspecific and interspecific variability

  • Esteves, Sara
  • Keck, Francois
  • Almeida, Salome
  • Lourenço Figueira, Etelvina
  • Bouchez, Agnes
  • RIMET, Frédéric
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
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Diatoms are used as indicators of freshwater ecosystems integrity. Developing diatom-based tools to assess impact of herbicide pollution is expected by water managers. But, defining sensitivities of all species to multiple herbicides would be unattainable. The existence of a phylogenetic signal of herbicide sensitivity was shown among diatoms and should enable prediction of new species sensitivity. However, diatoms present a cryptic diversity that may lead to variation in their sensitivity to herbicides that would need to be taken into account. Using bioassays, the sensitivity to four herbicides (Atrazine, Terbutryn, Diuron, Isoproturon) was evaluated for 11 freshwater diatom taxa and intraspecific variability was assessed for two of them (Nitzschia palea and Achnanthidium spp.). Intraspecific variability of herbicide sensitivity was always smaller than interspecific variability, but intraspecific variability was more important in N. palea than in Achnanthidium spp. Indeed, one species showed no intraspecific phylogenetic signal (N. palea) whereas the other did (Achnanthidium spp.). On one hand, species boundaries are not set properly for Achnanthidium spp. which encompass several taxa. On the other hand, there is a higher phenotypic plasticity for N. palea. Finally, a phylogenetic signal of herbicide sensitivity was measured at the interspecific level, opening up prospects for setting up reliable biomonitoring tools based on sensitivity prediction, insofar as species boundaries are correctly defined.

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