The impact of the herbicide diuron on photosynthesis in three species of tropical seagrass
The impact and recovery from exposure to the herbicide diuron [DCMU; 3-(3′,4′-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea] was assessed for three tropical seagrasses, maintained in outdoor aquaria over a 10-day period. Photosynthetic stress was detected using chlorophyll a fluorescence, measured with a Diving-PAM (pulse amplitude modulated fluorometer). Exposure to 10 and 100 μg l−1 diuron resulted in a decline in effective quantum yield (ΔF/Fm′) within 2 h of herbicide exposure in Cymodocea serrulata, Halophila ovalis and Zostera capricorni. Effective quantum yield also declined over the first 24 h of exposure in H. ovalis at even lower diuron concentrations (0.1 and 1.0 μg l−1). Effective quantum yield in H. ovalis and Z. capricorni was significantly depressed at all diuron concentrations (0.1–100 μg l−1) after 5 days exposure, whereas effective quantum yield in C. serrulata was only significantly lower in plants exposed to highest diuron concentrations (10 and 100 μg l−1). Effective quantum yield depression was present 5 days after plants exposed to 10 and 100 μg l−1 diuron were returned to fresh seawater. These results indicate that exposure to herbicide concentrations present in nearshore Queensland sediments present a potential risk to seagrass functioning.
Keywords: diuron, fluorometry, pollution effects, seagrass, toxicity, water quality