Contribution of trace metallic elements to weakly contaminated lacustrine sediments: effects on benthic and pelagic organisms through multi-species laboratory bioassays

  • Nathalie LécrivainEmail author
  • Victor Frossard
  • Bernard Clément


Surficial sediments exhibit higher levels of contamination than overlying water, especially from persistent contaminants such as trace metallic elements (TMEs). While sediments could in turn act as sources of contamination for the water column, their ecotoxicology is yet rarely assessed in a multi-compartments perspective. This study aims at assessing the response of benthic and pelagic organisms exposed to weakly contaminated sediments using a multi-species laboratory assay by focusing on TMEs (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) contamination. Chironomus riparius larvae, Daphnia magna, and Lemna minor were simultaneously exposed for 10 days to six sediments sampled from the littoral of a large French lake (Lake Bourget). The endpoints consisted in the survival and growth rates and the bioconcentration factor (BCF). Significant negative relationships between sediment TME concentrations and survival rates of C. riparius and growth rates of C. riparius and D. magna suggested that both benthic and pelagic macro-invertebrates were impacted by sediment contamination, which was not observed in L. minor. Significant relationships of the sediment with the internal TME concentrations were positive while negative with the BCFs, suggesting an increase in biological regulation processes in all organisms with the increase of sediment TME concentrations. These results underline the importance of including both benthic and pelagic organisms in ecotoxicological assessment of low contaminated sediments and the relevance of the relationship BCFs/sediment contamination as prior biomarkers than higher life history traits.


Heavy metal Bioconcentration factor Freshwater sediment Daphnia magna Chironomus riparius Lemna minor 



We thank Myriam HAMMADA (ENTPE, LEHNA) for the trace metals analyses.


This work was funded by the French Ministry of Environment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or vertebrate animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathalie Lécrivain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Victor Frossard
    • 2
  • Bernard Clément
    • 1
  1. 1.Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, ENTPE, UMR5023 LEHNALyonFrance
  2. 2.Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, UMR 42 CARRTELChambéryFrance

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