Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 373–386 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variability of macroinvertebrate communities in two farmed Mediterranean rice fields

  • S. Leitão
  • P. Pinto
  • T. Pereira
  • M. F. Brito
Original Paper


The spatial and temporal variation of macroinvertebrate assemblages was studied in two Portuguese commercial rice agroecosystems under the effect of field management involving the application of pesticides and fertilizers. A faunal succession of organisms was observed on both fields. Grazers were the first to colonize the paddies after a dry period when pesticides were applied, followed by development into nymphs and by an increase in the abundance of the species after the application of fertilizers. At the end of the season when no pesticides or fertilizers were applied, the communities changed with the presence of adult predators as a result of an increase in prey. Insecticide application revealed specific taxa increase due to the lack of competition with the target organism. Macroinvertebrates tended to prefer infested field margins with aquatic, submerged vegetation, revealing a spatial distribution along the paddies. Two different sampling devices were used and proved necessary in documenting the macroinvertebrate communities (grab for benthic and hand-net for pelagic organisms).


Macroinvertebrates Rice fields Fertilizer Pesticides Portugal 



We thank the Portuguese Institute for the Environment (IA) and the Superior Institute of Agronomy (ISA) for technical support as well as for contacts with private farmers for leasing the land to develop this study in conditions approximating reality. We thank the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology of ISA for the ecotoxicological analysis. We are also grateful for the suggestions of two unknown reviewers, who contributed greatly to improving the final version of this paper. Finally we thank Michael Roberts from the School of Languages of Fundação Luis de Molina for the final English revision of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Leitão
    • 1
  • P. Pinto
    • 2
  • T. Pereira
    • 3
  • M. F. Brito
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Referência do AmbienteInstituto do Ambiente AmadoraPortugal
  2. 2.Water Laboratory Centre of Applied EcologyUniversity of ÉvoraÉvora CodexPortugal
  3. 3.Dept. Protecção de Plantas e de FitoecologiaInstituto Superior de Agronomia SAPILisboaPortugal

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