The microphytobenthos that form transient biofilms are important primary producers in intertidal, depositional habitats, yet we have only a limited understanding of how they respond to the cumulative impacts of the growing range of anthropogenic stressors to which they are exposed. We know even less about how the temporal alignment of exposure – such as duration and exposure sequence – may affect the response. Estuarine biofilms were cultured in mesocosms and exposed to the herbicide glyphosate and titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles in different sequences (glyphosate-first or TiO2-first), as well as in the presence and absence of physical disturbance. We found that at environmentally realistic chemical concentrations, the order of exposure was less important than the total stressor scenario in terms of impacts on key functional attributes and diatom community structure. Physical disturbance did not have an impact on functional attributes, regardless of exposure sequence.
- Titanium dioxide