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Environ Pollut. 2001;115(2):173-82.

The use of benthic mesocosms for the assessment of sediment contamination.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.


The diagnostic capability of changes in the benthic macroinvertebrate community composition to determine the cause in contaminated sediments were addressed using box core mesocosms subjected to cadmium, atrazine and nutrient enrichment. Intact cores of lake sediment were collected from Lake Erie at four occasions during 1996 and were returned to laboratory where they were maintained and manipulated. The benthic community composition of the artificially polluted mesocosms was compared with field data, collected at the same time as the intact cores, and to untreated control boxes. Community composition was related to the measured environmental variables using multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) and principle axis correlation (PCC). Community responses to different treatments were both different and consistent, suggesting that the community structure of these mesocosms could be used to identify the primary source of impact.

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