Caged midge larvae (**Chironomus riparius**) for the assessment of metal bioaccumulation from sediments in situ
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
New York, N.Y.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 443-454
University of Antwerp
First-stage larvae of the midge Chironomus riparius were exposed in small enclosures at 19 sites located in three different river basins in Flanders (Belgium). Sediments were sampled and sieved at 200 mum at all exposure sites. A layer of approximately 2 cm of sediment was placed in each cage and 100 midge larvae were added. Cages were placed in watercourses where resident midge larvae were present. Accumulation of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, and Zn was determined after four weeks of exposure when larvae had reached the fourth stage. Comparing metal levels between caged and resident larvae revealed no significant differences. A significant correlation between metal levels in caged and resident larvae was found when all sites were considered. However, such correlation was low (r(2) = 0.28) for Pb. The highly significant r(2) values found for Cu and Ni probably were due to only one site. Metal levels in tissue were related to levels in water and sediment, taking into account some sediment characteristics (particle size distribution and organic carbon) and oxygen level in the water. To determine the relative importance of these different sediment factors contributing to the variation in metal accumulation by the chironomids, nonlinear regression models were constructed. With the models used, 56.1, 32.2, and 57.4% of the variation for Cd, Pb, and Zn, respectively, could be described. None and 26.9% of the variation could be described for Cu and Ni, respectively. Among the environmental factors, organic carbon and oxygen levels in water were important in describing the accumulation of metals.