Chronic Engineered Nanoparticle Additions Alter Insect Emergence and Result in Metal Flux from Aquatic Ecosystems into Riparian Food Webs

Brittany G. Perrotta, Marie Simonin, Benjamin P. Colman, Steven M. Anderson, Ethan Baruch, Benjamin T. Castellon, Cole W. Matson, Emily S. Bernhardt, Ryan S. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Freshwater ecosystems are exposed to engineered nanoparticles (NPs) through discharge from wastewater and agricultural runoff. We conducted a 9-month mesocosm experiment to examine the combined effects of chronic NP additions on insect emergence and insect-mediated contaminant flux to riparian spiders. Two NPs (copper, gold, plus controls) were crossed by two levels of nutrients in 18 outdoor mesocosms open to natural insect and spider colonization. We collected adult insects and two riparian spider genera, Tetragnatha and Dolomedes, for 1 week on a monthly basis. We estimated a significant decrease in cumulative insect emergence of 19% and 24% after exposure to copper and gold NPs, irrespective of nutrient level. NP treatments led to elevated copper and gold tissue concentrations in adult insects, which resulted in terrestrial fluxes of metals. These metal fluxes were associated with increased gold and copper tissue concentrations for both spider genera. We also observed about 25% fewer spiders in the NP mesocosms, likely due to reduced insect emergence and/or NP toxicity. These results demonstrate the transfer of NPs from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems via emergence of aquatic insects and predation by riparian spiders, as well as significant reductions in insect and spider abundance in response to NP additions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8085-8095
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume57
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 2023

Keywords

  • aquatic-riparian linkages
  • food web
  • nanoparticles
  • riparian spiders
  • trophic transfer

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