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Ostroumov S. A.

The Hazard of a Two-Level
Synergism of Synecological Summation of
Anthropogenic Effects. - Doklady Biological Sciences,
2001, 380: 499–501
published as: Ostroumov S. A. The Hazard of a Two-Level Synergism of Synecological
Summation of Anthropogenic Effects. - Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 380, 2001, pp. 499–
501. Translated from Doklady Akademii Nauk, Vol. 380, No. 6, 2001, pp. 847–849.

Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Ostroumov.

file: 2001DBS380p499Synerg. Full text, abstract and key words are below:

The Hazard of a Two-Level Synergism of
Synecological Summation of Anthropogenic Effects
S. A. Ostroumov

Presented by Academician V.N. Bol’shakov April 18, 2001

Received April 26, 2001

Moscow State University, Vorob’evy gory, Moscow, 119234 Russia

There are a number of approaches to identification and classification of the hazards of
anthropogenic impact on organisms, populations, ecosystems and the biosphere [1–7].

The purpose of this study was to identify a new type of ecological hazard of anthropogenic
impact (using chemical pollution as an example), which we propose to term “synecological
summation” or “synergistic summation” of anthropogenic effects on organisms of two adjacent
trophic levels.

As s continuation of our studies on the anthropogenic impact of mixed chemicals, we studied
the effects of some detergents on the filtering activity of the bivalves Crassostrea gigas
Thunberg and Mytilus galloprovincialis Lam. The organisms were obtained from the Institute of
Biology of Southern Seas (INBUM), National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The method of
measurement was described in [6].

The data shown in Tables 1–3 demonstrate that the detergents Vesna-Delikat, IXI, and Tide-
Lemon inhibited water filtering by bivalves, including both adult (Tables 1, 2) and juvenile (Table
3) organisms. The concentrations of the detergents producing this effect were relatively low.
This agrees with similar data on the inhibitory effects produced by low concentrations of other
detergents, as well as of some individual chemicals which belong to the class of surfactants [8–
10].

Note that the same concentrations of detergents and surfactants did not produce noticeable
effects on several species of unicellular organisms that represented a part of the suspended
matter.
It was shown that the detergent Tide-Lemon at a concentration of less than 100 mg/l did not
inhibit the growth of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 [11]. The detergents OMO-Intelligent (1, 10,
and 100 mg/l) did not inhibit the growth of Anacystis nidulans ( Synechococcus elongatus ) R-2
[12]. Moreover, the detergent Tide- Lemon at concentrations of 1–100 mg/l stimulated the
growth of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Scenedesmus quadricauda [11] in some growth
media; the detergents TL (10 mg/l) and E (10 mg/l) stimulated the growth of A. nidulans [12].
Stimulation of some other species of phytoplankton (marine microalgae) was also shown [13].

Various species of phytoplankton were shown to have different sensitivities to surfactants. It
was shown that the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana is relatively sensitive to the nonionic
surfactant Triton X-100 [14]. However, the entire set of data available allows us to conclude that
at least some species of phytoplankton are relatively tolerant to detergents and their
components (several surfactants), at concentrations that significantly reduce the water filtering
activity of bivalves. The reduction of the filtering activity is associated with a decrease in the
ability of bivalves to remove suspended particles from water.

Table 1. Effect of the detergent VD on the change in the optical density (OD 550) of the suspension of S.
cerevisiae during its filtration by the oysters Crassostrea gigas

No. of Time from Experiment Control 1 (with Control 2 EER, ratio
(without
measurement the beginning (+ VD) (A) oysters, OD
of without VD) oysters,
without VD) 550

incubation, min (B) (C)
A/B, %

1 7 0.162 0.237 121.0 0.196

2 22 0.055 0.174 176.4 0.097

Note: VD, the detergent Vesna-Delikat (1 mg/l). There were 16 oysters in each of the beakers (beakers A and B). The
total weight (wet weight with shells) of the oysters: A, 23.6 g; B, 23.5 g. The average weight of one oyster: A, 1.475 g;
B, 1.469 g. The water volume in each beacker was 250 ml;. the temperature was 23.4 C. S. cerevisiae density, 60
mg/l. EER, the effect on the efficiency of removal of the suspended matter from water.

Table 2. Effect of the detergent IXI on the change in the optical density (OD 550) of the suspension of S.
cerevisiae during its filtration by the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis

No. of Time from the OD 550 EER, ratio
OD550 A/B, %
measurement beginning of
the
Experiment Control 1 Control 2
incubation, min
(+ IXI) (A) (with mussels, (without
mussels,
without IXI) (B)
without IXI)
(C)
1 3 0.310 0.269 0.352 115.2

2 8 0.192 0.129 0.342 148.8

Note: Detergent IXI, 1 mg/l. The total weight (wet weight with shells) of the mussels: A, 96.2 g; B, 98.5 g. The
average weight of one mussel:A, 6.01 g; B, 6.16 g. The water volume in each beacker was 500 ml; the temperature
was 22.3 C. S. cerevisiae density, 100 mg/l. EER, the effect on the efficiency of removal of the suspended matter
from water.

Table 3. Effect of the detergent TL on the change in the optical density OD650 of the suspension of
Pavlova lutheri (Droop) Green (Monochrysis lutheri Droop) during its filtration by juvenile mussels Mytilus
galloprovincialis

No. of Time from Experiment (+ TL) Control 1 (with Control 2 Ratio
the (A) mussels, (without OD650
measurement
beginning of without TL) (B) mussels, A/B, %
the without TL) (C)

incubation,
min 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 44 - - 0.12 0.10

(Average
0.11)
47 - - - 0.15 0.15 127.3

49 0.134 0.145 - - -
-
(Average
0.14) -
2 75 - 0.070 - -

- 0.072
78 - - 0.14 0.14 169.0
(Average
80 0.12 0.071) - - -
-

0.12
-

-

Note: TL, Tide-Lemon (50 mg/l). Each variant was in duplicate (beakers 1 and 2, variant A; beakers 3 and 4, variant
B; beakers 5 and 6, variant C). In parentheses, the average values for duplicates are shown. The age of the mussels
was two months. The total weight (wet weight with shells) of the mussels: beakers 3 and 6, 0.10 g; beaker 4, 0.09 g;
beaker 5, 0.11 g. The average weight of one juvenile mussel was 0.93 mg.

Table 4. Examples of the anthropogenic effects that give rise to the hazard of two-level synergism of
synecological summation (based on [6–13, 15] and other publications)
Trophic levels Organisms Components of the Potential effects of the
mixtures of chemical agents
chemicals
Primary Phytoplankton: Synechocystis Phosphorus- Stimulation of the growth
producers sp. PCC 6803; S. quadricauda containing of the phytoplankton
(autotrophs) [11]; Anacystis nidulans ( chemicals
Synechococcus elongatus ) R-2 (phosphates)
[12]; and some others [13]

Consumers Benthic bivalves (filter feeders):
(phytophagous Unio pictorum, Crassostrea
Inhibition of the water
heterotrophs) gigas, Mytilus edulis , and M.
filtration by bivalves;
galloprovincialis [6–10], etc.
Surfactants decrease in the removal of
cells of phytoplankton
from water

The actual chemical pollution of water bodies is a complex pollution with a whole range of
chemicals. Therefore, it is important that this range of chemicals may include both surfactants
and nutrients, e.g., phosphorus. Many detergents include both surfactants and phosphorus-
containing chemicals; hence, they are perfect examples of the source of the double
contamination of water with both components. This fact is in accord with the aforementioned
stimulation of the growth of some phytoplanktonic species by detergents (because the
stimulatory effect of phosphorus might sometimes be more pronounced than the inhibitory
effects of the other chemicals in the mixture). In actual ecological systems, the two group of
organisms considered (phytoplankton and bivalves) are linked together in trophic chains.
Therefore, different types of responses of phytoplankton and bivalves to some chemicals that
simultaneously occur in water (under the conditions of complex water pollution, or pollution with
a mixture of chemicals) may bring about consequences important to the state of the ecosystem.

Because of the link between the two trophic levels, the hazards of individual chemicals that
affect individual trophic levels may be combine to yield the following effects: first phosphorus
may stimulate the growth of phytoplankton; second, the control of phytoplankton (via its removal
from water consumers) is disturbed because of the negative effects of surfactants on the
organisms of the next trophic level (represented by filter feeders, including bivalves) [15].
Because of this type of the trophic-chain organization, there exists a hazard of summation of the
two types of effects (in spite of the fact that primary targets of the chemicals are organisms
belonging to different trophic levels) (Table 4).

The hazard of that type is based on the unequal sensitivity of some phytoplanktonic species and
benthic filter-feeders to several chemicals. An unequal sensitivity has also been found for some
other chemicals (pesticides) in the case of comparing phytoplankton and zooplankton grazers
that consume phytoplankton [15]. These data indicate that the aforementioned hazard of
summation of anthropogenic impacts on organisms belonging to different tropic levels is of
general importance.

In conclusion, our data on bivalves make it possible to identify a new type of hazard due to
water pollution with a mix of two or more chemicals. This is the danger that even relatively mild
influences on organisms of two adjacent trophic levels may eventually produce a synergistic,
pronounced and definitely undesirable effect that will lead to an abnormal increase in the
abundance of organisms of one of the trophic levels. It seems possible to predict that, in the
future, new examples of the hazard of similar synergy of individual effects of anthropogenic
impacts on organisms of various trophic levels will be described, for both aquatic (freshwater
and marine) and terrestrial ecosystems.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I am grateful to M.E. Vinogradov, A.F. Alimov, V.V. Malakhov, N.V. Revkova, N.N. Kolotilova,
and other colleagues at the Moscow University and Russian Academy of Sciences for
discussion of the paper, as well as their assistance, and advice. I thank G.E. Shulman, G.A.
Finenko, V.I. Kholodov, A.V. Pirkova, A.Ya. Stolbov, and A.A. Soldatov for providing the
molluscs and for their help and P. Wangersky for valuable advice.

This work was partly supported by the Open Society Support Foundation (grant RSS no.
1306/1999) and the IBG.

REFERENCES

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10. Ostroumov, S.A., Dokl. Akad. Nauk , 2000, vol. 374, no. 3, pp. 427–429.

11. Kolotilova, N.N., and Ostroumov, S.A., Problemy ekologii i fiziologii mikroorganizmov (Problems of
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12. Ostroumov, S.A. and Kolotilova, N.N., Vodnye ekosistemy i organizmy-2 (Aquatic Ecosystems and
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ABSTRACT:

Ostroumov S. A. The Hazard of a Two-Level Synergism of Synecological Summation of
Anthropogenic Effects. - Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 380, 2001, pp. 499–501. Translated
from Doklady Akademii Nauk, Vol. 380, No. 6, 2001, pp. 847–849.

The author identified a new type of ecological hazard of anthropogenic impact (using chemical
pollution with detergents as an example), which he proposed to term “synecological summation”
or “synergistic summation” of anthropogenic effects on organisms of two adjacent trophic levels.
In the paper, the hazard was found that even relatively mild influences on organisms of two
adjacent trophic levels may eventually produce a synergistic, pronounced and definitely
undesirable effect that will lead to an abnormal increase in the abundance of organisms of one
of the trophic levels. The concrete examples of synergism were found when anthropogenic impacts
affected organisms of two adjacent trophic levels (bivalves and algae). The bioeffects were described of
the action of the synthetic detergent Vesna (1 mg/l) on the bivalve filter-feeders, oysters Crassostrea
gigas, and the effects of the detergent IXI (10 mg/l) on the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis, as well as
the effects of the detergent Tide-Lemon (50 mg/l) on M. galloprovincialis. The danger of the simultaneous
influence of contamination of the environment (e.g., by detergents) on the organisms of the two trophic
levels may occur when the polluting chemicals produce certain effects on both algae and the bivalves
that are filter-feeders. [MAIK Nauka/Interperiodica, distributed by Springer Science+Business Media
LLC.; ISSN 0012-4966 (Print) 1608-3105 (Online)]; DOI 10.1023/A:1012348127085.

Key words: new type of ecological hazard of anthropogenic impact, chemical pollution,
synecological summation, synergistic, summation, anthropogenic, effects, adjacent, trophic
levels, bivalves, , algae, environmental, safety, synthetic, detergents, bioeffects, oysters, Crassostrea
gigas, detergent IXI, mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis, detergent Tide-Lemon, contamination,
environment, pollutants, filter-feeders, water quality, bioassays, marine, ecosystems, man-made, effects,
ecosystem, stability, applied, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental toxicology, aquatic,
phytoplankton, regulation in ecosystems

Addendum. Some of more recent publications that were published later and confirm the main
conclusions of the paper are given below.

Ostroumov S. A. Inhibitory analysis of top-down control: new keys to studying eutrophication, algal
blooms, and water self-purification // Hydrobiologia. 2002. vol. 469. P.117-129.

Ostroumov S. A. Polyfunctional role of biodiversity in processes leading to water purification: current
conceptualizations and concluding remarks // Hydrobiologia. 2002. v. 469 (1-3): P.203-204.

Ostroumov SA. Identification of a new type of ecological hazard of chemicals: inhibition of processes of
ecological remediation. - Dokl Biol Sci (Doklady Biological Sciences). 2002; 385:377-379.

Ostroumov SA. System of principles for conservation of the biogeocenotic function and the biodiversity of
filter-feeders. - Dokl Biol Sci (Doklady Biological Sciences). 2002; 383:147-150.

Ostroumov SA. A new type of effect of potentially hazardous substances: uncouplers of pelagial-benthal
coupling. - Dokl Biol Sci (Doklady Biological Sciences). 2002; 383:127-130.

Ostroumov SA. Biodiversity protection and quality of water: the role of feedbacks in ecosystems. - Dokl
Biol Sci (Doklady Biological Sciences). 2002; 382:18-21.

Ostroumov S. A. Studying effects of some surfactants and detergents on filter-feeding bivalves //
Hydrobiologia. 2003. Vol. 500. P. 341-344.

Ostroumov SA. Anthropogenic effects on the biota: towards a new system of principles and criteria for
analysis of ecological hazards.- Riv. Biol. 2003; 96(1):159-169. Review. PMID: 12852181 [PubMed -
indexed for MEDLINE]

Ostroumov SA, Walz N, Rusche R. Effect of a cationic amphiphilic compound on rotifers. - Dokl Biol Sci.
(Doklady Biological Sciences) 2003; 390: 252-255.
Ostroumov S. A. On the biotic self-purification of aquatic ecosystems: elements of the theory. - Doklady
Biological Sciences, 2004, Vol. 396, Numbers 1-6, p. 206-211.

Ostroumov S. A. Suspension-feeders as factors influencing water quality in aquatic ecosystems. - In: The
Comparative Roles of Suspension-Feeders in Ecosystems, R.F. Dame, S. Olenin (Eds), Springer,
Dordrecht, 2004. p. 147-164.

Ostroumov S. A. Some aspects of water filtering activity of filter-feeders // Hydrobiologia, 2005. Vol. 542,
No. 1. P. 275 – 286 .

Ostroumov S. A. On some issues of maintaining water quality and self-purification. - Water Resources.
2005, Volume 32, Number 3, p. 305-313.

Ostroumov S. A. On the multifunctional role of the biota in the self-purification of aquatic ecosystems //
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2005, p. 414–420.

Ostroumov S. A. Biomachinery for maintaining water quality and natural water self-purification in marine
and estuarine systems: elements of a qualitative theory // International Journal of Oceans and
Oceanography. 2006. Volume 1, No.1, p. 111-118. [ISSN 0973-2667]. Publisher: Research India
Publications, Dehli]. Basic elements are formulated for a qualitative theory of the polyfunctional role of
the biota in maintaining self-purification and water quality in aquatic ecosystems. The elements of the
theory covers the following: (1) sources of energy for the mechanisms of self-purification; (2) the main
functional blocks of the system of self-purification; (3) the list of the main processes that are involved; (4)
analysis of the degree of participation of the main large taxa; (5) degree of reliability and the main
mechanisms providing the reliability; (6) regulation of the processes; (7) the response of the system
towards the external influences (man-made impacts); (8) the analogy between ecosystems and a
bioreactor; and (9) conclusions relevant to the practice of biodiversity conservation. In support of the
theory, results are given of the author's experiments which demonstrated the ability of some pollutants
(surfactants, detergents, and some others) to inhibit the water filtration activity of marine filter-feeders
(namely, the bivalve mollusks Mytilus galloprovincialis, Mytilus edulis, and Crassostrea gigas).

Ostroumov S. A., J. Widdows. Inhibition of mussel suspension feeding by surfactants of three classes. //
Hydrobiologia. 2006. Vol. 556, No. 1. Pages: 381 – 386. [Effects of the surfactants SDS, TDTMA, and
Triton X-100 on the marine mussels M. edulis and M. edulis / M. galloprovincialis. Effects of three
surfactants on the filtration rates by the marine mussels were studied. The xenobiotics tested represented
anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants (tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide, a representative of a
class of cationic surfactants; sodium dodecyl sulphate, a representative of anionic alkyl sulfates; and
Triton X-100, a representative of non-ionic hydroxyethylated alkyl phenols). All three surfactants inhibited
the clearance rates. The significance of the results for the ecology of marine ecosystems is discussed].
http://sites.google.com/site/3surfactantsfiltrationmytilus/

Ostroumov S. A. Biological Effects of Surfactants. CRC Press. Taylor & Francis. Boca Raton, London,
New York. 2006. 279 p. ISBN 0-8493-2526-9.

Ostroumov S. A. Biotic self-purification of aquatic ecosystems: from the theory to ecotechnologies. -
Ecologica, 2007. vol. 15 (50), p.15-23. (ISSN 0354-3285; Belgrade). Some basic elements of a new
theory for the biological mechanism for water self-purification are presented. Hydrobionts (aquatic
organisms) are actively involved in various processes leading to water purification. Not only
microorganisms (bacteria, cyanobacteria and fungi), but also algae, plants, invertebrates, and many other
groups of organisms are involved, which is discussed and analyzed in the paper. Results of the author's
experiments that study the effects of various pollutants on aquatic organisms (freshwater and marine
bivalves) are given. The theory is an innovative basis for developing ecological technologies to clean
water and to upgrade its quality by using organisms and ecosystems
[http://scindeks.nb.rs/article.aspx?artid=0354-32850750015O].

Ostroumov S. A. Basics of the molecular-ecological mechanism of water quality formation and water self-
purification.- Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 2008, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 147-152.

Vorozhun I. M., S. A. Ostroumov. On studying the hazards of pollution of the biosphere: effects of sodium
dodecylsulfate (SDS) on planktonic filter-feeders. - Doklady Biological Sciences, 2009, Vol. 425, p. 133–
134.

The additional references of some relevant publications see:

http://sites.google.com/site/2000dbs371p204criteria/

http://sites.google.com/site/2000dbs374p514bioreactor/

http://sites.google.com/site/bioeffectsofsurfactants/

http://sites.google.com/site/surfactantinhibitfilterfeed02/

http://sites.google.com/site/3surfactantsfiltrationmytilus/

http://sites.google.com/site/ostroumovsergei/

http://sites.google.com/site/bioticupgradewaterquality2008/

http://sites.google.com/site/ostroumovsa/

http://sites.google.com/site/ostroumovsapublicationsineng/

http://sites.google.com/site/ostroumovsapublicationsruen/

http://sites.google.com/site/ostroumovsergei/publications-that-cited-saostroumov

http://sites.google.com/site/biosphereostroumov/home

http://sites.google.com/site/ecologytobemostcitedtomorrow/home

http://sites.google.com/site/ecologytobemostcitedtomorrow/list-of-publications-by-sa-ostroumov

http://scipeople.ru/users/2943391/

World-wide and international citing of the publications authored and co-authored by Dr. S.A. Ostroumov,
some examples:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/50443283/Table-WorldWideCiting-March10;

Citations of the publications authored and co-authored by Dr. S.A. Ostroumov:
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sergei_Ostroumov/blog/3380_Ecology_biology_life_sciences_Bibliogr
aphy;