Terrestrial isopods as model organisms in soil ecotoxicology: a review

Cornelis A. M. van Gestel, Susana Loureiro, Primoz Zidar

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


    Isopods play an important role in the decomposition of leaf litter and therefore are making a significant contribution to nutrient cycling and soil ecosystem services. As a consequence, isopods are relevant models in soil ecotoxicology, both in laboratory toxicity tests and in field monitoring and bioindication studies. This paper aims at reviewing the use of isopods as test organisms in soil ecotoxicology. It provides an overview of the use of isopods in laboratory toxicity tests, with special focus on comparing different exposure methods, test durations, and ecotoxicological endpoints. A brief overview of toxicity data suggests that chemicals are more toxic to isopods when exposed through soil compared to food. The potential of isopods to be used in bioindication and biomonitoring is discussed. Based on the overview of toxicity data and test methods, recommendations are given for the use of isopods in standardized laboratory toxicity tests as well as in situ monitoring studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-162
    Number of pages36
    Issue number801
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2018


    The authors would like to thank Paula Tourinho for the isopod test drawings. Susana Loureiro acknowledges FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-00763), within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020, to CESAM.

    FundersFunder number
    Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
    Ministerio de Economía y CompetitividadPOCI-01-0145-FEDER-00763


      • Bioaccumulation
      • Isopoda
      • biomonitoring
      • indicator organisms
      • toxicity tests


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