Population Structure and Dynamics of Gammarus fossarum (Amphipoda) Upstream and Downstream from Effluents of Sewage Treatment Plants

  • V. LadewigEmail author
  • D. Jungmann
  • H.-R. Köhler
  • M. Schirling
  • R. Triebskorn
  • R. Nagel


Two streams in Germany (Körsch and Lockwitzbach), each with two sampling sites above and below a sewage treatment plant (STP) discharging effluent, were investigated. Sampling sites were characterized, and exposure monitoring for chemicals with known or assumed endocrine disrupting potential was carried out. Both the population structure and the population dynamics of Gammarus fossarum were examined. The physicochemical parameters measured at the sampling sites of the Lockwitzbach and Körsch streams were found not to reach levels having an acute toxic impact on the development of gammarids. The calculated estrogenic potential in the stream water was 22- to 35-fold higher at the downstream site of the Körsch compared with the other sampling sites, mainly because of the concentrations of 17α-ethinylestradiol on two sampling dates. At both streams, an influence of the respective STP effluent on the sex ratio of G. fossarum was not observed. Moreover, intersexuality was not induced by these effluents. Differences in the structure and dynamics of G. fossarum populations were more pronounced at the Körsch than at the Lockwitzbach. At the downstream sampling site at the Körsch, gammarids reached their highest abundances. Particularly at the downstream sampling site of the Körsch, the proportion of breeding female gammarids and the proportion of juvenile gammarids in the smallest body length class were decreased compared with upstream. Adult gammarids were larger from the Lockwitzbach downstream site, but they were smaller from the Körsch downstream site compared with the respective upstream site. At the Körsch, the earlier onset of the autumnal reproductive resting period could be caused by the influence of the STP effluent.


Body Length Sewage Treatment Plant Downstream Site Upstream Site Sample Splitter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Nicole Metag for providing raw data of gammarid populations and physicochemical water analysis from April to June 2000 at the Lockwitzbach stream. Thanks are also due to Thomas Brethfeld. Kathrin Jaeschke, Heike Kampe, Anna Köhler, Kerstin Kriegel, Thomas G. Preuss, Natalie Rüb, and Astrid Woitschella for technical assistance. Further thanks go to Bernd Sures for the species identification of acanthocephalans. This project was funded by the Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt) Berlin, Germany (FKZ 299 65 221/05).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Ladewig
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Jungmann
    • 1
  • H.-R. Köhler
    • 2
  • M. Schirling
    • 2
  • R. Triebskorn
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. Nagel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of HydrobiologyDresden University of TechnologyDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Animal Physiological EcologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Steinbeis-Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and EcophysiologyRottenburgGermany

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