Evapotranspiration (ET) constitutes the largest loss of water from subtropical grassland and wetland ecosystems, yet data in much of the world have high uncertainty at the landscape scale as there is little information on plant water use. Additionally, anthropogenic alterations to grasslands are a major threat globally and alter ecosystem water use, but the impact of these changes is often unquantified. A major reason for this is the complexity and expense of field-based ET quantification methods such as agricultural lysimeters and eddy covariance systems. Accurate measurements of ET are critical for sustainable water management. This study developed two different low-cost lysimeters – weighing-type and water level based, to measure ET under controlled conditions for single species as well as mixed grassland and wetland communities. Lysimeters were placed in an open sided shadehouse with a transparent roof to exclude rainfall. ET values were then compared with (i) Actual ET measurements from an eddy covariance tower onsite, (ii) vapor transport-based ET models – FAO Penman-, Modified Turc and Abtew Simple Radiation models, and (iii) ET data from the Florida Automated Weather Network. Both weighing-type and water level lysimeters showed seasonal patterns and annual magnitudes similar to the other ET methods. Annual ET measurements from weighing-type lysimeters (881-1278 mm for four plant species, n=5 per species, 20 in total) and water level lysimeters (1085 mm, plant community average, n = 31) were similar to model estimates (1000-1200mm). Actual ET from eddy covariance was 722 mm for ten months (missing data for February and March), while lysimeter measurements for the dominant grass Paspalum notatum was 885mm for the same 10 months. Low-cost lysimeters can inform regional ET models/remote sensing data lacking field validation and thus are potentially useful for water resources and ecosystem management in data-poor regions of the world.
Toxic metal-contaminated wastewater is a major environmental issue that requires a practical and cost-effective technological solution. Heavy metal phytoremediation by constructed wetland is becoming more common around the world. Plants are used in phytoremediation to degrade, stabilize, and remove contaminants from soils, water, and waste. The key issues with managing heavy metal phytoremediation plants in an environmentally appropriate manner. The design of CWs for successful phytoremediation in heavy metals contaminated wastewater should not affect the local environment. By-product generation is another crucial part of phytoremediation’s success. Phyto-management has emerged as an alternative strategy in recent years. Phytoremediating plants ( C. indica and A. calamus) biomass has been successfully used in the manufacture of 70 fly-ash bricks. High rate of Cu (96 %), Zn (95 %), (Fe 93), and Cr (91 %) removal from Canna indica and Acorus calamus were found in the present study as compared to the Typha latifoliya, Myriophylhum aquaticum, Ludwigina palustris, Eichhornia crassipes, Schoenoplectus californicus, Cyperus papyrus, and Phragmites australis which indicates C. indica is the high potential for heavy metal removal and can be strongly used for industrial wastewater. In the way, the use of ornamental plants for phytoremediation of contaminated sewage wastewater would also change the landscape of the aquatic environment. This article summarises viable avenues in the method of using phytoremediating plant biomass for environmental protection.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are widely used to assess the ecological quality of fresh waters. This is because they are in direct contact with the aquatic environment and respond differently to pollutants and changes in the watershed, which are difficult to assess by toxicological or chemical monitoring alone. this study used benthic macroinvertebrate parameters to assess the quality of the nearshore waters of lake Kivu. Twenty-six metrics covering various aspects of the community were tested using whisker plots to compare their sensitivity in discriminating between reference and disturbed stations. Nine parameters (% EPT taxa, % Diptera taxa, % Chironomid taxa, % Insect taxa; % no Insects taxa, ratio EPT/Chironomid taxa, % moderate tolerant taxa, % very moderate tolerant taxa, Family Biotic Index) were found to be sensitive and were able to discriminate between reference and disturbed stations. All sensitive metrics, with the exception of the percentage of EPT taxa, were positively and/or negatively correlated with the physico-chemical parameters affected by the changes in the littoral zone. The combined values of the three calculated biotic indices (ASPT, BMWP and FBI) showed that the biological water quality varies from moderate to good in the reference stations and from average to poor in the disturbed stations. It is concluded that metrics based on benthic macroinvertebrates are effective for assessing water quality in the littoral zone of Lake Kivu in the context of the lack of historical water quality databases and specific tools for toxicological assessment. It is suggested to compare the performance of this approach with others currently used in bio-indication.
As regional heterogeneity on the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau (QTP), the “greening rate” between alpine steppe in the west and alpine meadow ecosystems in the east is difference during the past several decades. To investigate the difference, the net photosynthetic rate (An) and the supply (mesophyll conductance ( g m), stomatal conductance ( g s)) and demand (the maximum rates of Rubisco carboxylase activity ( V cmax) and photosynthetic electron transport ( J max)) for CO 2 of three plants functional types (PFTs) were measured. Other functional traits and influencing factors were compared among ecosystems along the altitudinal gradients of QTP. The An of the PFTs was simulated under potential future conditions. At high altitudes, grass was found to maintain a relatively stable An by decreasing V cmax, J max, and g s, while slightly increasing g m, compared with that at a low altitude. The An of sedge and shrubs increased with rising V cmax, J max and g s and g m values, resulting in a large increment in the An at low altitudes. Grass seemed to be less sensitive to the environment by reducing the supply of and holding onto CO 2, while sedge and shrub increased both. Grass and sedge should be divided into two PFTs rather than remaining as one based on their opposite physiological and morphological functions in response to climate change. The ecosystem at 3600 m was transitional. C a was likely to be a more dominant factor than T a in affecting the An of grass. The order of rising An in PFTs was shrub > sedge > grass and the An of alpine meadow was found to increase more under the two future climate scenarios.
Human activities affect the structure, dynamics, and energy flow of aquatic ecosystems. River damming, a common anthropic impact in Brazil, changes solar incidence, water flow, and temperature of waterbodies, thereby affecting their fauna. Due to their high sensitivity to environmental changes, the Odonata may be indicators of these impacts. We sampled two ecologically distinct sites, (1) a quasi-pristine forested area; and (2) a nearby human-impacted reservoir landscape, to evaluate the effects of damming on odonate community structure. The species composition of quasi-pristine communities was more heterogeneous and differed almost completely (indicating high turnover) from that of the reservoir-area communities. The capacity of the reservoir to maintain local fauna was almost nil. The communities in the changed landscape had the highest local diversity, which is related to the high occurrence of widespread generalist South American species. We also tested two recently proposed bioindication ratio tools based on the abundance of high-level taxonomic categories; both effectively demonstrated the extent of the impacts of damming. The best performing ratios were Coenagrionidae/other Zygoptera richness ratio, Zygoptera/Anisoptera abundance ratio, and Libellulidae/other Anisoptera richness ratio. The reservoir landscape promotes biotic homogenization. However, the water supply system entails the preservation of part of the native habitat in its surrounding areas, consequently maintaining local biodiversity in quasi-pristine environments.
As the impacts of the anthropocene intensifies in rivers, there is an increasing need to understand how these changes affect both daily and sub-daily stream flow variability, timing and flow quantities, as these are some of the most influential drivers of spatial and temporal dynamics of stream biota. In this paper, long-term changes in flow patterns of a strategic water source area in an arid region of southern Africa were quantified, focusing on the relation between daily and sub-daily and its potential impact on fish biota of the catchment. Long-term temporal trends in stream flow were modelled using Generalized Least Squares (GLS), while sub-daily and daily mean flow of the same stations were compared using a suite of metrics. Periods of similar stream flow patterns were identified using K-means cluster analysis. A spreadsheet rule-based model was developed linking fish communities to streamflow patterns providing a predictive framework for fish assemblage responses to stream flow classes. Long term reduction in flow has a strong seasonal component, with significant decreases during the wet season, not linked to long-term rainfall patterns. Flow variability has increased over time, while 78% of sub-daily flow metrics were related to daily flow metrics. Oscillating flow conditions and the loss of intermediate flow states may permanently exclude certain fish flow guilds. However, temporal partitioning is only evident when sub-daily metrics are considered, highlighting their importance for assessing ecological resilience.
The study was conducted in Lake Baringo and determined quantitative relationships between water level changes, water quality, and fishery production for informed lake basin management. Long-term (2008 to 2020) data on water level, water quality, and fisheries yields from Lake Baringo were analyzed using a combination of statistical methods. Linear and waveform regression analyses described patterns of lake level fluctuations over time while, Pearson’s correlation determined the concordance of lake level changes with water quality parameters, landings, and condition of fish species. PCA results grouped the study period into different years based on annual water quality variable levels. LOWESS analysis showed the decline of annual lake level amplitude over time with peak values in 1964 (8.6 m) and 2008 (9.4 m). The waveform regression significantly modeled lake level fluctuations as indexed by annual deviations from the long-term average (DLTM) and showed a 20-year oscillation between peak water levels in the lake. There were significant positive correlations of Water Level Fluctuations (WLFs) with water quality variables and water quality index (WQI) in Lake Baringo. Linear regression analyses showed a significant concordance (p < 0.05) between the annual fishery yield and the rising WLFs (r = 0.66). Overall, the results demonstrate that WLFs of Lake Baringo are a driver of fish species biomass and physico-chemical properties of the lake. We recommend the integration of fisheries yields, water quality assessment, and WLFs modeling at different temporal scales in the management of Afrotropical lake ecosystems
Water scarcity in the southeastern United States has increased in recent decades due to population growth, land use intensification, and climate variability. Precipitation is relatively abundant, but declines in streamflow suggest a need to better manage water yield. Restoration of low-density, frequent-fire longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) woodlands, which once dominated the southeastern Coastal Plain, represents a possible strategy to increase water yield and mitigate water scarcity. The Flint River Basin has seen recent conflicts over water appropriations and lies within the historic range of longleaf pine. We used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to evaluate the potential effect of longleaf pine restoration on streamflow in the Ichawaynochaway Creek, a major tributary of the Flint River. Parameters governing plant water use, e.g. leaf area and leaf physiology, were adjusted to create a longleaf pine land cover. We simulated the conversion of ~95,000 ha of existing forest to longleaf pine, an increase from 3% to 35% of landcover in the basin. Modeled evapotranspiration was lower for longleaf pine compared to other forest types in the region, and conversion to longleaf pine increased annual water yield by 17.9 ± 1.6 mm, or 5.2%. Proportional changes in monthly streamflow were up to 74% higher during low flow periods, when in-stream habitat is most vulnerable. Restoration of longleaf pine could be a promising way to mitigate water scarcity in the southeastern U.S., and adding flow during extreme droughts may prove vitally important for conserving imperiled aquatic organisms.