Data for: Effects of Chronic Pesticide Exposure on an Epibenthic Oyster Reef Community
This data was collected for an undergraduate thesis project that is now being submitted for publication in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Here we elucidated the potential chronic effects of the commonly utilized pesticide, carbaryl, on oyster reef communities in the Loxahatchee River Estuary in southeast Florida. Though carbaryl had a limited effect on total epifaunal community diversity, species richness and evenness, the results of this experiment indicate that carbaryl significantly shifted crustacean community composition, resulting in a substantial loss in total crustacean abundance. One crustacean in particular, Americorophium spp. (tube building amphipod), was significantly less abundant within the carbaryl treatment, driving the shift in crustacean community composition. Ultimately, our results signal that pesticide pollution in estuaries will negatively impact crustaceans. Organisms were allowed to colonize a string of 5, 10 cm^2 travertine tiles for 28 days in the Loxahatchee River Estuary in Jupiter, Florida. For the data file "mobile fauna", all unattached organisms were rinsed off of the tiles, and rinsed in a 500 micron sieve and were stored in alcohol. The specimens were then sorted, identified to the lowest practical level and quantified. The most abundant species were small crustaceans including several species of amphipod. For density calculations, these organisms were collected from an area of 0.1 square meters. For the file labeled "sessile_fauna", the organisms attached to the tiles were identified and quantified under a dissecting scope. Only the middle three tiles were analyzed this way from an area of 0.06 square meters. For the data file labeled "dissolutionblockdata", we used plaster dissolution blocks to slowly release carbaryl insecticide adjacent to tiles. The initial and final weights of each block were recorded before deployment and after collection.