Invertebrate responses to the management of genetically modified herbicide-tolerant and conventional spring crops. I. Soil-surface-active invertebrates

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 Nov 29;358(1439):1847-62. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2003.1407.


The effects of herbicide management of genetically modified herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) beet, maize and spring oilseed rape on the abundance and diversity of soil-surface-active invertebrates were assessed. Most effects did not differ between years, environmental zones or initial seedbanks or between sugar and fodder beet. This suggests that the results may be treated as generally applicable to agricultural situations throughout the UK for these crops. The direction of the effects was evenly balanced between increases and decreases in counts in the GMHT compared with the conventional treatment. Most effects involving a greater capture in the GMHT treatments occurred in maize, whereas most effects involving a smaller capture were in beet and spring oilseed rape. Differences between GMHT and conventional crop herbicide management had a significant effect on the capture of most surface-active invertebrate species and higher taxa tested in at least one crop, and these differences reflected the phenology and ecology of the invertebrates. Counts of carabids that feed on weed seeds were smaller in GMHT beet and spring oilseed rape but larger in GMHT maize. In contrast, collembolan detritivore counts were significantly larger under GMHT crop management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Animals
  • Beta vulgaris / physiology
  • Biodiversity*
  • Brassica napus / physiology
  • Herbicides / metabolism*
  • Invertebrates / physiology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / physiology*
  • United Kingdom
  • Zea mays / physiology


  • Herbicides