Assessment of structure and function in metal polluted grasslands using Terrestrial Model Ecosystems.

S.A.E. Kools, M.E. Boivin, A.W.G. van der Wurff, M.P. Berg, C.A.M. van Gestel, N.M. van Straalen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Ecosystem effects of metal pollution in field situations are hard to predict, since metals occur often in mixtures and links between structural (organisms) and functional endpoints (ecosystem processes) are not always that clear. In grasslands, both structure and functioning was suspected to be affected by a mixture of copper, lead, and zinc. Therefore, the structural and functional variables were studied simultaneously using Terrestrial Model Ecosystems (TMEs). Comparing averages of low- and high-polluted soil, based on total metal concentrations, did not show differences in structural and functional variables. However, nematode community structure (Maturity Index) negatively correlated with metal concentrations. Next to that, multivariate statistics showed that enchytraeid, earthworm and, to lesser extent, nematode diversity decreased with increasing metal concentrations and a lower pH in the soil. Bacterial CFU and nematode biomass were positively related with decomposer activity and nitrate concentrations. Nitrate concentrations were negatively related to ammonium concentrations. Earthworm biomass, CO
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-59
    JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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