Part of the book: Insecticides
In the scientific literature, there is a considerable consensus that working toward evaluating multiple stressors is worthwhile. Unfortunately, our means to evaluate the combined effects of multiple stressors on species is limited. In agricultural systems, the relative threat posed to aquatic insect communities due to individual stressors (e.g., individual insecticides) is relatively well understood. However, understanding mixtures of pesticides, let alone the addition of complex and potentially interacting, natural gradients (e.g., nutrients and predation), is far harder. The objective of the following review was to evaluate the individual and combined effects of a range of multiple agricultural stressors on aquatic insect communities using a series of seven outdoor mesocosm experiments conducted since 2003. The mesocosm studies show that macroinvertebrate community responses can be similar, subtle, or even opposing depending on the stressors investigated and the mechanistic or ecological focus of the study. The current focus on individual chemicals and responses to treatment is misleading. Cumulative effects and multiple sublethal stressors are the norm in impacted ecosystems. A simple, holistic approach to environmental risk assessment is needed.
Part of the book: Insect Science