pp 1-20 | Cite as

In Situ Exposure of Aquatic Invertebrates to Detect the Effects of Point and Nonpoint Source-Related Chemical Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems

  • Mirco BundschuhEmail author
  • Ralf Schulz
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series


As an intermediate step between laboratory and (semi-)field experiments, in situ bioassays are a valuable active biomonitoring tool for the assessment of effects. By measuring lethal or sublethal responses of caged aquatic (in)vertebrates in the field, the biological consequences of point and nonpoint sources of pollution can be determined. As the test organisms—here we focus on aquatic invertebrates—and response variables selected can be diverse, we first provide some general considerations related to the experimental design including the selection of test species, sampling sites, response variables, replication, as well as data evaluation. Subsequently, a case study using leaf-shredding amphipods as model organisms for the assessment of point sources of pollution is presented to underpin these theoretical considerations by a practical example. Thereby, a more detailed protocol is provided to contextualize the results of this case study. All in all, this book chapter aims at providing guidance for researchers interested in employing in situ bioassays in their studies or monitoring efforts.


In situ Gammarids Feeding rate Sublethal responses Chemical stress response Active biomonitoring 



Figures 3 and 4 were reprinted with permission from Bundschuh, M., Pierstorf, R., Schreiber, W.H., and Schulz, R. (2011). Positive effects of wastewater ozonation can be displayed by in situ bioassays in the receiving stream. Environmental Science & Technology 45(8), 3774-3780. Copyright 2011 American Chemical Society.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.iES Landau, Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  2. 2.Department of Aquatic Sciences and AssessmentSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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