Review

International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 1115-1128

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Freshwater ostracods as environmental tracers

  • F. RuizAffiliated withDepartamento de Geodinámica y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva Email author 
  • , M. AbadAffiliated withDepartamento de Geodinámica y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva
  • , A. M. BodergatAffiliated withDépartment Sciences de la terre, Centre de Paléontologie Stratigraphique et Paléoécologie, Université Claude Bernard
  • , P. CarbonelAffiliated withDépartment de Géologie et Océanographie, Université de Bordeaux I
  • , J. Rodríguez-LázaroAffiliated withDepartamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del País Vasco
  • , M. L. González-RegaladoAffiliated withDepartamento de Geodinámica y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva
  • , A. ToscanoAffiliated withDepartamento de Geodinámica y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva
  • , E. X. GarcíaAffiliated withDepartamento de Botánica y Zoología, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad de Guadalajara
  • , J. PrendaAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Ambiental y Salud Pública, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Huelva

Abstract

This paper revises the response of freshwater ostracods to different environmental conditions and anthropogenic impacts, with a worldwide overview of the potential use of these microcrustaceans as bioindicators and several examples of applications in different scenarios. The development of either a single species or an ostracod assemblage is influenced by physical–chemical properties of waters (salinity, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen), hydraulic conditions, bottom grain sizes or sedimentation rates. In addition to population and community changes, morphological and geochemical changes can also be detected in the ostracod carapace, which serves as a tracer of the water quality. All these features permit to delimit the spatial effects of urban sewages, mining effluents, agricultural wastes, watershed deforestation or road building. These data are the basis for the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of cores, with an interesting application to archaeology. In addition, favourable results of recently developed bioassays, coupled with an important variability of local assemblages under changing conditions in both waters and sediments, suggest that these microcrustaceans may included between the most promising sentinels groups in freshwater areas. These microcrustaceans show high sensitivity to pesticides, herbicides, heavy metal pollution and oil inputs.

Keywords

Anthropogenic impact Biotechnology Environmental parameters Ostracods