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Neonicotinoids disrupt aquatic food webs and decrease fishery yields

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Science  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6465, pp. 620-623
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax3442

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Cascading effects of pesticide use

It is now well known that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinators. As research has expanded, it has become clear that these globally used insecticides directly affect other ecosystem components, including vertebrates. Yamamuro et al. now show that these compounds are indirectly affecting species through trophic cascades (see the Perspective by Jensen). Since the application of neonicotinoids to agricultural fields began in the 1990s, zooplankton biomass has plummeted in a Japanese lake surrounded by these fields. This decline has led to shifts in food web structure and a collapse of two commercially harvested freshwater fish species. The authors argue that such dynamics are likely occurring widely.

Science, this issue p. 620; see also p. 566

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