Plant competitive interactions influence the effect of herbicides, and the effect of competitive interactions on plant responses may be important to include in the ecological risk assessment of herbicides. In the present study the effect of competitive interactions and sublethal doses of 2 herbicides on plant species was investigated in competition experiments and fitted to empirical competition models. Two nontarget species commonly found in agroecosystems (Centaurea cyanus L. and Silene noctiflora L.) and 2 herbicides (glyphosate and metsulfuron methyl) were used in separate experiments. Plants were sprayed at the 6- to 8-leaf stage. Effects of herbicide treatments and plant density were modeled by generalization of a discrete hyperbolic competition model. The 10% effective dose (ED10) was calculated for C. cyanus. All experiments showed that as density increased, plants were negatively affected. Furthermore, in all cases, C. cyanus remained a better competitor than S. noctiflora. Nevertheless, the density of S. noctiflora (competitor) was an influential element in determining the ED10 of C. cyanus measured at the mature stage. With herbicide exposure, the competitive interactions were further altered; C. cyanus was less affected by glyphosate when S. noctiflora increased to high density. In contrast, at the young stage, conspecific density was important in determining the sensitivity of C. cyanus to metsulfuron methyl, whereas the density of the competitor S. noctiflora had a limited influence. Overall, the results demonstrate the importance of integrating the effect of herbicide and species interactions measured at the reproductive stage into the ecological risk assessments of pesticides. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;00:1–12.

Ecological risk assessment, Herbicide drift, Intraspecific and interspecific competition, Nontarget terrestrial plant, Sublethal doses
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Department of Biology

Boutin, C, Montroy, K. (Kaitlyn), Mathiassen, S.K. (Solvejg K.), Carpenter, D.J. (David J.), Strandberg, B. (Beate), & Damgaard, C. (Christian). (2019). Effects of sublethal doses of herbicides on the competitive interactions between 2 nontarget plants, Centaurea cyanus L. and Silene noctiflora L. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. doi:10.1002/etc.4506