Acidic mining lakes (pH <3) are specific habitats exhibiting particular chemical and biological characteristics. The species richness is low and mixotrophy and omnivory are common features of the plankton food web in such lakes. The plankton community structure of mining lakes of different morphometry and mixing type but similar chemical characteristics (Lake 130, Germany and Lake Langau, Austria) was investigated. The focus was laid on the species composition, the trophic relationship between the phago-mixotrophic flagellate Ochromonas sp. and bacteria and the formation of a deep chlorophyll maximum along a vertical pH-gradient. The shallow wind-exposed Lake 130 exhibited a higher species richness than Lake Langau. This increase in species richness was made up mainly by mero-planktic species, suggesting a strong benthic/littoral - pelagic coupling. Based on the field data from both lakes, a nonlinear, negative relation between bacteria and Ochromonas biomass was found, suggesting that at an Ochromonas biomass below 50 μg C L(-1), the grazing pressure on bacteria is low and with increasing Ochromonas biomass bacteria decline. Furthermore, in Lake Langau, a prominent deep chlorophyll maximum was found with chlorophyll concentrations ca. 50 times higher than in the epilimnion which was build up by the euglenophyte Lepocinclis sp. We conclude that lake morphometry, and specific abiotic characteristics such as mixing behaviour influence the community structure in these mining lakes.
We classified homogenous river types across Europe and searched for fish metrics qualified to show responses to specific pressures (hydromorphological pressures or water quality pressures) vs. multiple pressures in these river types. We analysed fish taxa lists from 3105 sites in 16 ecoregions and 14 countries. Sites were pre-classified for 15 selected pressures to separate unimpacted from impacted sites. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to split unimpacted sites into four homogenous river types based on species composition and geographical location. Classification trees were employed to predict associated river types for impacted sites with four environmental variables. We defined a set of 129 candidate fish metrics to select the best reacting metrics for each river type. The candidate metrics represented tolerances/intolerances of species associated with six metric types: habitat, migration, water quality sensitivity, reproduction, trophic level and biodiversity. The results showed that 17 uncorrelated metrics reacted to pressures in the four river types. Metrics responded specifically to water quality pressures and hydromorphological pressures in three river types and to multiple pressures in all river types. Four metrics associated with water quality sensitivity showed a significant reaction in up to three river types, whereas 13 metrics were specific to individual river types. Our results contribute to the better understanding of fish assemblage response to human pressures at a pan-European scale. The results are especially important for European river management and restoration, as it is necessary to uncover underlying processes and effects of human pressures on aquatic communities.
Samples from a pristine raised peat bog runoff in Austria, the Tannermoor creek, were analysed for their iron linked to natural organic matter (NOM) content. Dissolved organic carbon < 0.45 μm (DOC) was 41-64 mg L(-1), iron 4.4-5.5 mg L(-1). Samples were analysed applying asymmetric field flow fractionation (AsFlFFF) coupled to UV-vis absorption, fluorescence and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The samples showed an iron peak associated with the NOM peak, one sample exhibiting a second peak of iron independent from the NOM peak. As highland peat bogs with similar climatic conditions and vegetation to the Tanner Moor are found throughout the world, including areas adjacent to the sea, we examined the behaviour of NOM and iron in samples brought to euhaline (35‰) conditions with artificial sea salt. The enhanced ionic strength reduced NOM by 53% and iron by 82%. Size exclusion chromatography (SEC) of the samples at sea-like salinity revealed two major fractions of NOM associated with different iron concentrations. The larger one, eluting sharply after the upper exclusion limits of 4000-5000 g mol(-1), seems to be most important for iron chelating. The results outline the global importance of sub-mountainous and mountainous raised peat bogs as a source of iron chelators to the marine environment at sites where such peat bogs release their run-offs into the sea.
At three alpine locations in Switzerland adults of Drusus melanchaetes and unknown Drusinae larvae which could not be identified with existing keys were sampled. Based on DNA association with adults, we identified the unknown larvae as D. melanchaetes. To further support the association of specimens a phylogeny was estimated with the putative closest relatives of D. melanchaetes – D. monticola and D. nigrescens – and five other species of Drusus (D. chrysotus, destitutus, discolor, muelleri and romanicus). A highly supported monophyletic clade groups unknown larvae and D. melanchaetes specimens from the central Alps and Austria (Vorarlberg), confirming the association.Based on morphology, larvae of D. melanchaetes key out together with D. destitutus in existing keys. D. melanchaetes is separated from the latter species by the shape of the lateral head profile which is almost straight and shows a small step at the height of the antenna, whereas in D. destitutus the lateral head profile is evenly rounded. In addition, in frontal view, the shape of the lateral head outline is straight in D. melanchaetes and rounded in D. destititus. There are also differences in the shape of the pronotum and in the number of the posterodorsal setae at the eighth abdominal dorsum.
The Ponto-Caspian mysid Limnomysis benedeni was first recorded in Lake Constance in summer 2006, and a stable population developed at the site of discovery. Although this mysid is common in the Rhine and Danube rivers, little is known about its ecology and impact in systems of invasion. We investigated the autecology of L. benedeni in habitat-choice and food experiments. In the habitat-choice experiments, highly structured habitats, i.e., stones covered with zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), macrophytes, and especially stonewort, were strongly preferred. In food experiments, L. benedeni fed mostly on food sources with a small particle size, e.g., biofilm on leaf litter, biodeposited material of zebra mussels, epilithon, and phytoplankton. We also compared the L. benedeni population data from Lake Constance with that from rivers. In Lake Constance, female L. benedeni were nearly 30% larger and carried more than three times more eggs in spring (9.4±0.6 mm and 28.4±5.7 eggs) than in summer (6.7±0.8 mm and 8.7±2.9 eggs). The mysids present in spring might be the generation that over-wintered; in summer, this generation was probably replaced by a new generation of smaller individuals. The large brood size and the detritivorous feeding strategy might allow L. benedeni to colonize Lake Constance rapidly.
The state of knowledge of the Central European water mite fauna and the research history are briefly surveyed. Several areas for which we are provided with rich data sets are of high value for the monitoring of faunistic trends on the background of local and global environmental change. The need for a database combining historical and actual faunistic information is stressed. It should facilitate the access to all data from former times, give a survey on actual activities by regular updates, and help for a better organization of future research activities. On the base of an update of the Limnofauna Europaea (K.O. Viets 1978, Gerecke in www.watermite.org) a first attempt is made to (1) recognize changes in the Central European fauna during the past 100 years; (2) emphasize species which may be endangered or have disappeared during the past 100 years. At the present state of knowledge, the degree of threat to water mite species in this area is best calculated from their preference for particular habitat types which are rare and in danger to disappear in cultivated landscapes. Our knowledge concerning neozoic water mites in the study area is discussed.
The main exploitable biological resources in the Estonian zone of the Baltic Sea are fish stocks. Fishes of marine origin constitute the main bulk (on the average 91%) of catches. Some freshwater and migratory fishes, having usually only marginal role in the total weight of fish landings, are of special importance for local fishermen in certain regions. Other living resources — red algae and seals-have been exploited in rather small amounts.The main factors having controlled changes in the condition of fish stocks and catches are natural conditions, marine pollution, eutrophication and exploitation rate.
The influence of extreme floods from the River Danube in 2006 on the species composition and vertical distributions of phytoplankton was studied in a shallow floodplain lake, Lake Sakadaš (Kopački Rit Nature Park, Croatia) which in the last few decades was in a turbid state characterised by high phytoplankton concentrations. As a consequence of extremely high floods, the whole floodplain area (approximately 16 km2) became one lentic habitat with well developed macrophyte vegetation. Seasonal dynamics of chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration in the lake had a characteristic pattern for the shallow lakes with dense macrophyte vegetation. Extremely low mean phytoplankton abundance and biomass were found in the conditions of very high nutrient concentrations. Dominant phytoplankton species were diatoms and chlorococcal green algae from the functional groups characteristic for a mixed environment. The canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) demonstrated that nutrients and temperature were significant environmental variables for their development. The sequence of phytoplankton seasonality, vertical distribution of phytoplankton, as well as the domination of rapidly acclimating phytoplankton forms (R-strategists) indicated clear, well-mixed conditions and a highly disturbed environment. Our results suggest that the occurrence of extreme flooding can be a stressor high enough for the transition from a turbid to a clear state of the floodplain lake. Possibly, cyclic shifts between alternative stable states in floodplain ecosystems can be expected as a consequence of the impact of extreme hydrological events induced by a climate change.
Floristic surveys, vegetation mapping, and detailed transect analyses rendered a macrophyte flora of 14 native and five alien taxa of flowering plants in the River Erft, a contributory of the River Rhine in Northrhine-Westphalia. Water temperatures of this river do not fall below 10°C all the year round, for reasons of geothermically heated water discharged from nearby opencast mining areas. Macrophyte stand structures, composed of the neophytes Azolla filiculoides and Lemna minuta (floating) and Myriophyllum aquaticum, Egeria densa, and Vallisneria spiralis (rooted in the muddy or sandy ground of the river) are described and the ecological requirements of these taxa are characterized. The alien species can be seen as elements that increase the α-diversity of the aquatic vegetation of the River Erft. They do not replace any of the native species, even if shifts in the competition dynamics occur. The colonization by neophytes of the abnormally warmed River Erft can be appreciated as paradigmatic for trends in the macrophyte vegetation of medium-sized rivers in Central Europe when climate-related or discharge-based heating of the waterbody occurs and propagules of alien plants imported by waterfowl or – more important – plants from aquarium waste will find suitable places of existence and spread.
Rotifera density, biomass, and secondary production on two marginal lakes of Paranapanema River were compared after the recovery of hydrologic connectivity with the river (São Paulo State, Brazil). Daily samplings were performed in limnetic zone of both lakes during the rainy season immediately after lateral inflow of water and, in the dry period, six months after hydrologic connectivity recovery. In order to identify the factors that affect rotifer population dynamics, lake water level, volume, depth, temperature, transparency, dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, conductivity, suspended solids, nutrients, and chlorophyll-a were determined. Variations of water physical and chemical factors that affect rotifer population were related to the lake‐river degree of connection and to water level rising after drought. The water lateral inflow from the river resulted in an increase in lake water volume, depth, and transparency and a decrease in water pH, alkalinity, and suspended solids. The lake with the wider river connection, more frequent biota exchange, and larger amount of particulate and dissolved materials was richer and more diverse, while rotifer density, biomass, and productivity were lower in both periods studied. Density, biomass, and secondary production were higher in the lake with the smaller river connection and the higher physical and chemical stability. Our results show that the connectivity affects the limnological stability, associated to seasonality. Stable conditions, caused by low connectivity in dry periods, were related with high density, biomass and secondary production. Conversely, instability conditions in rainy periods were associated to elevated richness and diversity values, caused by exchange biota due to higher connectivity.
Studies on the biodiversity and population dynamics of freshwater planktonic Gastrotricha have been carried out in conjunction with a physical-chemical analysis of the water in the Yaounde Municipal Lake (Cameroon, Central Africa) over a 14 months period (November 1996-December 1997). The results obtained allow to consider the Yaounde Municipal Lake as an eutrophic lake. It harbours eight species of Gastrotricha belonging to four genera (Chaetonotus, Dasydytes, Neogossea and Polymerurus) of the order Chaetonotida. This community was characterized by high abundances of populations, and was dominated by the genus Neogossea and Chaetonotus reaching up to 2000 ind. L−1. Polymerurus was mostly abundant at the almost anoxic bottom layers. The highest abundances were found mostly during the rainy season, when there is an important sedimentation process of organic matter, and were influenced by several different environmental factors such as dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH of the water.
Diatoms from the genus Achnanthidium are abundant in rivers, streams, and springs of the Appalachian Mountains. They inhabit clean and polluted waters, including those affected by acid mine drainage. The identification of Achnanthidium taxa is difficult due to their small cell size and insufficient information in the diatom floras. We studied the taxonomy and ecology of Achnanthidium in Appalachian rivers by analyzing a data set of benthic diatom samples and corresponding water chemistry data collected during several water-quality surveys from 181 sampling sites. Ten species were identified using scanning electron and light microscopy: A. alpestre (Lowe & Kociolek) Lowe & Kociolek, A. atomus (Hustedt) Monnier, Lange-Bertalot, & Ector, A. deflexum (Reimer) Kingston, A. duthii (Sreenivasa) Edlund, A. eutrophilum (Lange-Bertalot) Lange-Bertalot, A. cf. gracillimum (Meister) Lange-Bertalot, A. cf. latecephalum Kobayasi, A. minutissimum (Kützing) Czarnecki (sensu lato), A. reimeri (Camburn) comb. nov., and A. rivulare Potapova & Ponader. The distribution of common taxa in relation to water chemistry was studied by fitting non-parametric regression models (generalized additive models, GAM, and non-parametric multiplicative regression models, NPMR) to species relative abundances. Studied Achnanthidium species differed considerably in their responses to water chemistry. These results suggest that species-level identifications will lead to more accurate bioassessments.
Most existing studies on the algal communities of acid lakes are based on environments that have been caused by anthropogenic disturbances. Such lakes have a different origin compared to the natural acidic lakes and could be expected to differ also in the mechanisms controlling phytoplankton and trophic status. Planktonic community in Lake Caviahue is somewhat diverse in spite of the low pH of the water. Algae have a distinctive vertical distribution: the values of phytoplankton biomass remain constant throughout the water column and at times were highest in the upper end of the hypolimnion, forming a maximum or a layer of chlorophyll a at depth. The goal of this work was to investigate the factors influencing the seasonal and vertical distribution of phytoplankton. The lake was sampled between the years 2004 and 2006. Physical, chemical and biological parameters at different depths throughout the water column were determined. The interrelationships between environmental variables at different sampling dates were analyzed using an integration of multivariate matrices, multiple factor analysis, to analyze any joint partnerships in the samples. We found that phytoplankton biomass is dominated by Keratococcus rhaphidioides. With regard to zooplankton, we found a single species of rotifers (Philodina sp.). The two arms of the lake and the depths have different behaviours showing differences in the arms' conductivity, dissolved oxygen and pH. The more superficial layers were characterized by high values of phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass, organic and inorganic carbon, dissolved oxygen and pH. The deeper layers showed high values of chlorophyll a, ammonium and phosphorus (dissolved and particulate). From the multivariate analysis the relationships of the each algal species with pH, as a possible indicator of the degree of “acidophilia”, could be extracted.
The influence of a further developed inlake restoration method on the P-immobilisation and microbial activities, especially under anoxic conditions was investigated. The impact of nitrate and iron dosing with a newly developed nitrate storage compound (Depox®Fe) was tested in enclosures in the eutrophic dimictic Lake Dagowsee, Germany. Additions of 50 g m−2 of NO3−–N and 66 g m−2 of Fe3+ ensured availability of nitrate at the sediment surface during a 2-months period.As a result the phosphate release from the anoxic sediments was completely suppressed even 1 year after the application. The hypolimnetic deoxygenation was unaffected by the Depox®Fe addition. However, sulfur reduction and methanogenesis were inhibited and the phosphatase activity increased.
Nonpoint source water pollution generated by agricultural production is considered a major environmental issue in the United States and Europe. One strategy in the United States has been to adopt various measures, called best management practices (BMPs), to reduce water pollution. Our research addresses legal institutions and the applied use of BMPs, and discusses compensatory payments to reduce nitrogen fertilization levels. Models employed in Georgia and Baden-Wuerttemberg evaluate institutional constraints of payments to reduce nitrogen usage, penalties for excessive leaching, and financial incentives for meeting minimum mineralized nitrogen levels. By modeling net returns, preferred economic strategies for producers are identified. Results show that while BMPs can reduce agricultural nonpoint contamination, pollution abatement may be costly to producers. Thus, reduced pollution probably will require some type of government intervention.
Wildlife conservation requires methods to express the conservation status of assemblages in order to identify those of importance. Expressions of diversity and a number of different conservation status indices are widely used techniques for assessing assemblages. Some of these indices are based on species lists, while others use abundances. In this study, the conservation statuses of 21 light-traped adult caddisfly assemblages were compared using species lists and abundance data. The results showed that the assessment based on species list provided a higher conservation status than that based on species abundances. Consequently, indices incorporating species abundances were not comparable with indices using only species lists. The difference between the two measures might be derived from the unequal weighting of species categories. In conclusion, incorporating species abundance reduces sampling method bias and increases the precision of the conservation status evaluation.
Agapetus fuscipes is a caddisfly that only seems to occur in unimpacted streams and therefore can be a suitable indicator species for natural conditions. The species has decreased in the Netherlands because of human activities which caused organic pollution and hydromorphological degradation. Literature was reviewed to study the autecology and life cycle of A. fuscipes in order to reveal the ecological requirements of this species. By taking Agapetus fuscipes as an example, it is shown that the autecology and life cycle of an indicator species can give important clues for its presence in unimpacted and absence in impacted streams. A. fuscipes is very susceptible to organic pollution and to a lesser degree to discharge dynamics (dropping water level and discharge peaks). The species copes with dynamic discharge events by maintaining a high population density and recolonisation of disturbed habitats from refuges. However, the vulnerability of the species strongly depends on the life stage of the animals (e.g., the ability to migrate, the oxygen demand and the habitat requirements differ between instars). Although several adaptations to dynamic conditions, a high frequency of discharge peaks or a long period of drought can cause the population to decline. Once a population has totally disappeared from a stream it will take the species a long time to recolonise the stream because of its low dispersion capacity. To protect this species stream restoration should focus on water quality (avoid organic pollution and agricultural run off) and on stabilising the discharge by taking care of natural infiltration in the catchment area instead of fast removal of rain water by drainage systems.
The distribution and abundance of macrophytes, land-use beyond the riparian zone, characteristics of the riparian zone and selected channel properties have been studied in 9 streams flowing through an agricultural landscape in the north-eastern part of Slovenia. The streams studied supported a rich macrophyte community. Altogether, 53 plant taxa were observed on 93 km of the streams. Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that 10 out of the 11 parameters examined significantly influenced macrophyte distribution. Of these, substrate characteristics and riparian vegetation type were the most influential. Species composition analysis revealed that the majority of species indicated moderate nutrient load while, in the more strongly modified reaches, species indicating eutrophic conditions, i.e. Myriophyllum spicatum and different species of genus Potamogeton, were more abundant.
Lake Breiter Luzin, located in north-eastern Germany, is known for the rare occurrence of sympatric populations of European cisco, Coregonus albula and C. lucinensis. Moreover, the lake is inhabited by the glacial relict crustacean Mysis relicta, currently found in only three other lakes in Germany. In the present study, the role of M. relicta in the diet of ciscoes was investigated. Between 2001 and 2002 ciscoes, mysids and zooplankton were caught in Lake Breiter Luzin and stomach contents of ciscoes were analysed. There were seasonal changes in the food items in the stomachs, largely reflecting changes in prey availability. The main food items were copepods (45–81%) and mysids (5–26%). Cladocerans had high amounts in the diet only in summer. Seasonal changes in selectivity were also noted for most prey groups. There were also some consistent patterns of prey preference, with an overall preference for mysids. In general, the prey composition in cisco stomachs did not show significant diet changes, but there were some significant differences between day and night feeding in single prey groups, such as cladocerans. Diet composition of ciscoes varied with the different depth strata in which the fish were caught. With increasing depth, the proportion of mysids in the diet significantly increased, whereas that of copepods significantly decreased. Between C. albula and C. lucinensis, no distinct differences in feeding were evident. Mysids provided an additional and important food resource to ciscoes, and were mainly consumed when the availability of other prey organisms decreased, as in autumn and in the deeper strata of the water column. However, mysids preyed on the same food organisms as ciscoes, indicating a strong competition for food between fish and mysids.
The influence of Daphnia galeata×hyalina grazing and of infochemicals released by the daphnids on the colony size and growth rate of the colonial gelatinous green alga Sphaerocystis schroeteri (Chlorococcales) was investigated in laboratory batch experiments run for 96 h. High zooplankton grazing pressure was exerted by a final concentration of 100 daphnids L−1 in the Daphnia treatments. Infochemicals were obtained by filtration (0.2 μm) of water from D. galeata×hyalina cultures (200 ind. L−1 exposed for 24 h). This filtrate was added to the S. schroeteri cultures in two concentrations corresponding to 7 and 50 daphnids L−1, respectively. The growth rate of S. schroeteri was neither affected significantly by direct Daphnia grazing nor by the presence of Daphnia infochemicals, in comparison to the control. However, the portion of inedible S. schroeteri colonies (diameter>50 μm) increased under direct grazing pressure, whereas the Daphnia infochemicals did not influence the colony size significantly. We conclude that the shift in colony size by direct zooplankton grazing denotes an effective defence mechanism against size selective feeding for colonial gelatinous green algae. This effective defence in combination with unchanged growth rates of the larger colonies (under non-limiting nutrient and light conditions) falsifies the assumption of a trade-off between minimising grazing losses and maximising growth by optimising the colony size.
Rotifers are one of the smallest metazoans, served as perfect material for evolution theories and excellent food resources to larva in aquaculture. Population dynamics of rotifers help to optimize culture conditions, and to understand selection of asexual and sexual reproduction types. We described population dynamics of three Brachionus angularis strains using the life table method, with three types of food. The following demographic parameters were analyzed: intrinsic rate of increase (r), net reproductive rate (R0), generation time (T), average lifespan (L), and the total percentage of mictic females in the offspring. The results showed that there were significant effects of strain on the parameters except for R0. However, the food type significantly affected r, R0, T, and the total percentage of mictic females in the offspring. Demographic parameters differed among strains, showing the possible adaptation to local niches. In comparison to Chlorella pyrenoidosa, Scenedesmus obliquus served more nutrition to enlarge population size, and more mixis was induced in rotifer populations fed on it.
In the lake Ellidavatn, southwest Iceland, the diel activity of Arctic char and brown trout was studied in autumn (September) and spring (April) by removing the fish from gillnets every 3 hours for three days. Additional fish samples, evening and morning, were taken at other times of the year. The catch per unit effort was about 10 times higher during the nighttime than daytime for both char and trout. The median weight of char was lowest near the middle of night (80 g) and highest near the middle of day (140 g). The median weight of trout was also lowest near the middle of night (110 g) and highest near the middle of day (330 g). The main diet of char consisted of the cladoceran Eurycercus lamellatus in September and chironomid larvae in April and the main diet of trout was always sticklebacks. In autumn and spring, the feeding was nocturnal in the char but crepuscular in the trout. The median stomach content of char was highest at dawn (0.52% of body weight) and lowest at dusk (0.14% of body weight). It is proposed that nocturnal char shift through the bottom substrate in search for prey. The median stomach content of trout was highest at 09.00–18.00 and 24.00–03.00 hours (0.13–0.18% of body weight) and lowest at 03.00–06.00 and 18.00–21.00 hours (0.02–0.07% of body weight). Different feeding times may help to secure mutual coexistence of char and trout in a small lake. In autumn and spring, the average daily consumption of char was about 0.8% of body weight, less than half their maximum food intake.
After decommissioning of many open-cast lignite mines, numerous acidic post-mining lakes have formed in the Lusatian district (eastern Germany). With regard to (1) plans for neutralisation and subsequent use of these lakes for fisheries and (2) the risk of reacidification of previously neutralised lakes, the effects of acidic post-mining lake water on fish are of major interest. In order to investigate the contribution of Al to overall toxicity and to assess whether the high Ca content of the lakes has a protective effect, early life stages of vendace, Coregonus albula, were exposed for 60 days to nine combinations of pH, Al and Ca in reconstituted post-mining lake water. Low pH (pH 4.75 and 5.00) associated with 1.0–1.1 mg l−1 Mn and 0.1 mg l−1 Fe did not reduce hatching success and survival during the embryonic and early larval development when the Al concentration was low (0.1–0.2 mg l−1). However, when the Al content was increased to 2.4 and 2.1 mg l−1 at pH 4.75 and 5.00, respectively, mortality prior to hatch was high, no (pH 4.75) or very few embryos (pH 5.00) hatched, and no fish survived to the end of the experiment. Increasing the Ca concentration from 111–117 mg l−1 to 233–256 mg l−1 had no influence on hatching and survival percentages. Thus, the deleterious effect of the high Al concentrations (2.4 and 2.1 mg l−1) was greater than the protective effect of the high Ca content.
Human activities are exposing freshwater ecosystems to a wide range of stressors, whose direct and indirect effects can be alleviated or exacerbated through interactive effects with dynamic environmental drivers. This study used long-term data from two Neotropical lacustrine freshwater systems (Batata Lake, an Amazonian floodplain lake and Imboassica lagoon, an Atlantic coastal lagoon) subjected to different kinds of environmental fluctuations (i.e., flood pulse and sandbar opening) and anthropogenic impacts (i.e., siltation and eutrophication). Our objective was to determine whether the effects of human perturbations are contingent on modifications of important biotic and abiotic characteristics through environmental variability. For both ecosystems, environmental variability consistently interacted with anthropogenic perturbations to alter most of the variables analyzed, such as nutrient dynamics, chlorophyll-a concentration, zooplankton and benthic invertebrate species richness, and temporal community stability, which indicates that interactive effects between environmental variability and anthropogenic perturbations may impact a myriad of ecosystem properties. Furthermore, the nature of these interactive effects was highly dependent on the variable considered and on the ecosystem analyzed. For example, at Imboassica lagoon, sandbar openings interacted synergistically with trophic state to increase the phosphorus concentration in the water column. At Batata Lake, flooding generally alleviated the negative effects of siltation on species richness by both diluting inorganic suspended material concentration and by promoting local recruitment from the regional species pool. Such results indicate that our ability to understand and predict the outcome of anthropogenic impacts on inland aquatic systems can be hampered if we consider human stressors as “static” phenomena disconnected from dynamic interactions with major local environmental drivers.
Changes in the contents and composition of dissolved amino acids and carbohydrates were monitored in different Phragmites australis stands in Germany. Four different reed clones planted in 1997 in a degraded fen area in NE-Germany were compared with respect to the seasonal development in the total amount of amino acids and sugars in the basal culm internodes. The individual Phragmites clones showed significant differences in the absolute content of both parameters indicating an influence of the genotype. Flooding affected the ratio of amino acids to carbohydrates within the reed clones. Plants grown in flooded parts of the fen area revealed a significantly higher total amino acid content together with a lower total content of carbohydrates.Furthermore, the effects of extreme flooding on the content and composition of amino acids and carbohydrates in the basal culm internodes of Phragmites australis were studied in nine reed stands with different degrees of damage on Lake Constance. Shoots from extremely damaged reed stands were characterised by a significant decrease in the total content of carbohydrates, an increase in the total content of amino acids and an increase in the share of γ-aminobutyric acid. These changes in the content and composition of carbohydrates and amino acids were discussed with respect to their value as stress indicators, such as for oxygen deprivation which causes a hypoxic metabolic state in Phragmites australis stands.
Environmental preferences of invertebrates in larger rivers are assumed to be displayed in their upstream–downstream distribution and in their abundance. Near the limits of a species’ distribution, individuals must cope with rather hostile, energy consuming, environmental conditions. On the contrary, it is assumed that sites with high abundance are located more in the center of the distribution area and represent more optimal conditions. We hypothesized that at these sites also the fitness of the animals is better, which should be reflected by higher amounts of storage substrates. We measured the abundance and the energy storage (triglyceride and glycogen contents) of the mayfly Heptagenia flava (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae), the leech Glossiphonia complanata (Hirudinea: Glossiphoniidae), and the freshwater shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus (Crustacea: Gammaridae) along 560 km of the River Elbe during the summers of 2003 and 2004. H. flava and G. complanata reached highest densities upstream while D. villosus abundance increased continuously towards the river mouth. A model selection approach revealed that the factor sampling site was necessary to explain the data of energy storage for each species. In H. flava, triglycerides, the most efficient storage substrate, were observed to reach maximum levels at sites with high abundances. Although D. villosus and G. complanata followed a similar relation, both species displayed some exceptions from this pattern with highest triglyceride concentrations at their upstream distribution limit. It is speculated that storage substrates have the potential to become an important tool in environmental assessment because they yield long-term information about the fitness of a population, especially in merolimnic species, e.g. mayflies. As adult mayflies do not feed, the amount of accumulated energy reserves during the larval life is crucial for their reproductive success and therefore is a very good indicator for the assessment of a population's fitness.It is further assumed that the fitness of the other two species does not depend on the energetic status of a certain juvenile stage. Their storages can be refilled at any time, if enough food is available. Nevertheless, storage substrates as well as the total amount of available energy therein are appropriate criteria for the physiological fitness of both species. They result from long-term effects of the surrounding conditions, but may also reflect creeping changes in the environment, e.g. consequences of rising temperatures. Therefore, the use of those criteria as an assessment tool for the physiological fitness of invertebrate populations seems to be very promising.
The composition of the Pyrgulidae and its relationships to other member families of the caenogastropod superfamily Rissooidea are examined after a consideration of new anatomical (including gross anatomy, sperm ultrastructure), conchological (including protoconch features), ecological, biogeographical and palaeontological data and a re-evaluation of existing literature. Pyrgulidae can be distinguished from hydrobiids unequivocally only with the aid of the radula. Sperm ultrastructural features suggest a very close relationship between the Pyrgulidae, the Hydrobiidae and the Bithyniidae (in fact no family-diagnostic sperm characters can be found to separate these three taxa). Based upon neontological and fossil evidence it is likely that pyrgulids represent a Miocene offshoot from a paratethyal hydrobiid lineage. Pyrgulids may also represent the stock from which the baicaliids arose, in which case the Pyrgulidae must be considered a paraphyletic group. The huge biogeographic gap between the Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal is to some extent bridged by the finding of a Neogene pyrgulid from the Altai Mountains. An alternative scenario for the origin of baicaliids is presented.
The present paper analyses predation patterns, of Percichthys trucha and salmonid fish upon Galaxias maculatus in five lakes of northern Patagonia with differing community and environmental characteristics. Tank experiments were performed to evaluate relative efficiency of native and exotic predators of G. maculatus under treatments with and without cover (aquatic vegetation). Important differences were found between predators with regards to distribution and consumption of G. maculatus. Salmonids are more efficient than P. trucha in consuming G. maculatus in deep environments with scarcely vegetation; in contrast to native species they frequently use the pelagic environment. Although pelagic habitat might have served in the past as a refuge from native predators in the past, G maculatus now experiences intense predation in the pelagic zone by exotic salmonids. It is suggested that the widespread distribution of G. maculatus in Patagonian lakes may have facilitated the success of salmonids throughout Patagonia.
Several lakes in Chile are near important volcanic areas where eruption impacts can limit the quality of lacustrine sediments for reconstructing past environmental changes. In this study, we report changes in diatoms, pollen, and chironomids assemblages after a tephra deposition in Lake Galletué (Chilean Andes). A sediment core obtained from Lake Galletué (40 m water depth) was sliced in 1 cm intervals and subsamples were taken to analyze each proxy. 210Pb and 137Cs activities were measured to obtain the geochronology and mineralogical analyses were performed to determine the mineral composition of the tephra. Diatom species composition and productivity were modified when the lake received the tephra; Aulacoseira granulata decreased and was later replaced by Cyclotella af. glomerata. After the tephra input, Aulacoseira granulata abundance increased to pre-disturbance levels and Cyclotella af. glomerata decreased. These changes seem to suggest a momentary increase in lake nutrient levels after the tephra deposition. Chironomid assemblages also decreased in head capsules just after the tephra deposition, but the most important change was the replacement of Ablabesmyia by Parakiefferiella, probably due to the sedimentological changes produced by the input of coarse tephra grains. Furthermore, unlike other studies, chironomid assemblages in Lake Galletué did not show a decrease drastically in diversity within the tephra layer. The pollen analysis indicated that, prior to the volcanic event, the vegetal community was dominated by Nothofagus sp., Araucaria araucana, and Blechnum sp.-type. After the tephra deposition, the same taxa are dominant, indicating that the volcanic event seems not produce changes in the vegetation. Nevertheless, within the tephra layer it is possible to see an increase in Poaceae, which represent – due to the percolation process – the effect of eruption on the vegetation. According to our results, diatoms were the most sensitive proxy for describing the changes produced by tephra deposition into the aquatic ecosystem and, despite the noticeable changes in its sedimentological properties; the lake seems to have a high resilience capacity, allowing it to return to pre-tephra input conditions.
Microdistribution, life history, and secondary production of two species of Hydropsychidae were studied in the outlet of the eutrophic Lake Belau (Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany). A total of 3,647 larvae were collected at 11 sampling sites with a box sampler: 1,995 larvae of Hydropsyche angustipennis and 1,652 larvae of H. pellucidula. 133 adults of H. angustipennis and 130 adults of H. pellucidula were caught by 12 swimming emergence traps.Annual mean hydropsychid density in the stream was 202 ind. m−2. Highest densities were observed at gravelly substrates with 1,080 ind. m−2 of H. angustipennis and 780 ind. m−2 of H. pellucidula. At sites with fine sand, sand, and peat less than 11 ind. m−2 of both species were found. Both species were univoltin and during almost the entire year larvae of the instars 3 to 5 appeared in the stream. The main growth of H. angustipennis was observed from May to June, just before the larvae emerged. Looking at H. pellucidula two growth phases could be identified, the first approximately in the fourth month of life (September) and the second between May and August of the following year.During 10 months the larvae of H. anguistipennis showed an almost constant mean individual weight of 0.4 to 0.5 mg DM (dry mass) and the larvae of H. pellucidula of about 1.5 mg DM. In the investigated stream mean annual biomass of H. angustipennis was 115 mg DM m−2 and production 484 mg DM m−2 yr−1 (P/B = 4.2). H. pellucidula had a mean annual biomass of 231 mg DM m−2 and a production of 428 mg DM m−2 yr−1 (P/B = 1.9). Both species emerged from May to September with maxima in May and August. Biomass of emerged H. angustipennis was 94 mg DM m−2 and of emerged H. pellucidula 116 mg DM m−2. The ratio for emerged biomass to the larval secondary production E/P amounted to 19.3% for H. angustipennis and 27.0% for H. pellucidula.
During mass developments of Planktothrix rubescens, the biomass of this cyanobacterium was collected over a period of four consecutive years (2002–2005) from Lake Hallwilersee, Switzerland. To avoid any shifts in analytical separation and sensitivity, the biomasses were extracted with 60% aqueous methanol at the end of the investigation period and were analysed within 1 week by LC-ESMS. A new mass spectrometric method to quantify oligopeptides was introduced. The sum of all major molecular species (quasi-molecular ion, double charged ion, adducts, dimers and molecular ions that had lost a water molecule) rather than just the signal of the quasi-molecular ion was used to determine the total abundance of oligopeptides. This procedure has become necessary because the variable presence of inorganic ions and the varying conditions of the mass spectrometric source strongly affect the formation of the different molecular species. Several anabaenopeptins, oscillapeptins and planktocyclins were found. [Asp3, Dhb7]microcystin-RR was the major microcystin. The oligopeptide patterns were relatively stable over the investigation period of 4 years. In June 2005, a mass mortality of Daphnia was observed. The dead Daphnia, which floated on the surface of the lake, were collected and analysed for oligopeptides. Planktocyclin and planktocyclin sulfoxide, which belong to the major cyclic peptides in P. rubescens, were found in the carcasses of Daphnia, but microcystins were missing. Live zooplankton of the epilimnion was represented by both Daphnia and copepods, while the patches of dead zooplankter on the lake surface were free of copepods and contained only Daphnia. Protease inhibitors rather than microcystins are discussed as the major bioactive compounds for grazer defence of P. rubescens.
The discharge of nutrients is investigated in relation to their sources and effects in two case studies. The reduction of 47% in the phosphorus load from Denmark to marine areas between 1989 and 1993 has resulted in significantly lower phosphorus concentrations in most Danish coastal waters, and tendency to decrease can be seen in the Belt Sea and Kattegat as well. No general changes in nitrogen concentrations have been observed. This is due to the fact that more than 80% of the nitrogen load in Danish waters originate from diffuse agricultural sources.In the Pomeranian Bight strong nutrient gradients are generated by the mixing of Odra river water and coastal water. The spreading of the river plume could be exactly observed especially in winter, when biological activity is low. In general, different types of distribution, transport and modification patterns can be described.The annual input of nutrients from the catchment area to the Baltic Sea was estimated to be around 1000 kt N and 46 kt P. As a result, winter concentrations of phosphate and nitrate are characterized by positive overall trends in the surface layer in all subregions of the Baltic Proper for the period 1969 to 1993. These trends stem mainly from the strong increase in the 1970ies and early 1980ies. Thereafter, the concentrations of both nutrients fluctuate strongly around a high level. The drastic decrease in fertilizer consumption since the late 1980ies mainly caused by the great economic changes in the countries of the former East Bloc is not yet significantly reflected in decreasing winter concentrations, but first signs already have been found in the decrease in averaged phosphate concentrations in winter, especially in the Arkona and Bornholm Seas.
Coastal waters comprise only about 15% of the world's ocean area, yet account for nearly half of its primary and secondary production (Wollast 1991). This disparity can in part be traced to anthropogenic nutrient, specifically nitrogen (N), loading. Regionally, N-sensitive coastal waters are experiencing unprecedented nutrient-driven eutophication, deteriorating water quality (i.e. hypoxia, anoxia, toxicity), habitat loss and declines in desirable fish stocks and yields. In most coastal regions externally-supplied “new” nutrient inputs are growing, diversifying and changing as a result of urbanization, industrial and agricultural development. In some cases (e.g. Eastern Europe), declining economic condition shave led to a reversal of this scenario. A need exists to identify key nutrient sources (and changes therein) supporting eutrophication and its socio-economic consequences. While we are addressing and managing terrestrial (i.e. point and non-point source runoff) “new” nutrient inputs, key “out of sight out of mind” anthropogenic nutrient sources and their effects on eutrophication remain poorly understood and managed. These include atmospheric deposition and groundwater, which can account for as much as half the “new” N entering North American (U.S. Atlantic East Coast) and European (Baltic Sea) coastal waters. Here, I will examine these emerging nutrient sources and their roles in shallow coastal biogeochemical and trophodynamics alterations. Technological and conceptual tools and approaches aimed at improving our functional understanding of these and other “new” nutrient-eutrophication interactions are discussed.
The abundance and preferences of individual invertebrate populations (including zooplankton) closely associated with the substrates provided by aquatic plant structures and open-water areas of Lake Nasser were quantified in this study in order to gain understanding of the importance of submerged macrophyte for invertebrate diversity, and their relation to water properties. The following water parameters were measured: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), total dissolved salts, electrical conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, carbonate, bicarbonate, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, sulphate, silica, potassium, total hardness, calcium and magnesium.Five macrophyte species were recorded: Myriopyllum spicatum, Najas horrida, Potamogeton schweinfurthii, Potamogeton pectinatus and Vallisneria spiralis. In total 67 invertebrate species were recorded, comprising 39 Rotifera, 12 Cladocera, 4 Copepoda, 4 Insecta, 2 Protozoa, 2 Ostracoda and one species of Turbellaria, Tardigrada, Annelida and Nematoda. Thirty-seven species were exclusively epiphytic, 11 species were collectively planktonic and 19 species were found in both habitats. The greatest abundance of epiphytic invertebrates occurred in association with N. horrida–P. schweinfurthii community.The results indicated that total suspended solids (TSS), TH and NO2 are the most influential water variables on the distribution of the aquatic macrophyte samples and their invertebrate communities. Also, the study indicates that water variables have a higher impact on the aquatic macrophytes than on the associated invertebrate populations. P, NO3, K, Na, Mg, Cl and DO were the most influential water variables that dictate the distribution of invertebrate groups recorded in the open-water zone. Water temperature, electric conductivity, pH, NO2, SO4−−, SiO3−, CO3−− and turbidity have a lesser influence of the distribution of the invertebrates recorded in this zone.
Reduced biological diversity in freshwater habitats situated in urban areas has been discussed in numerous studies. Certain municipal areas, however, can help save animal diversity of freshwater invertebrates. In the present study animals were collected or observed alive in 13 freshwater environments localized in Warsaw – the second largest city of Central Europe – in a densely populated, urban building complex close to the city, and also in suburban areas. Leech assemblages in all the environments under observation were numerically dominated by a few common species, but on the whole 19 species were collected or observed. The populations of six rare leech species inhabit both flowing and standing waters in Warsaw. Five of these species are on the Polish Red List of Species and one is strictly protected. The shallow Lake Powsinkowskie is the richest freshwater environment in the studied area in terms of species richness and rarity and also one of the richest lakes in Poland. Taxonomic diversity in the environments under study seems not to be directly related to the size of the water body or the level of degradation but rather to the habitat complexity, especially the diversity of the bottom in littoral zone. Certain freshwater habitats located inside this great urban complex still create good conditions for rare, highly specialized species.
The distribution of aquatic Heteroptera (Corixidae and Gerromorpha) in three backwater systems of the Austrian Alluvial Forest National Park differing in connectivity to the Danube River was examined at 44 locations between 1999 and 2003. The most common species were Aquarius paludum and Gerris lacustris (Gerridae).Various statistical analyses were used to define the relationship between species occurrence and 15 environmental variables and to test their influences on species distribution. Canonical correspondence analysis suggested that the main environmental gradients were the transitions from water surface richly covered with branches and Lemna and vegetated shoreline, which most species preferred, to open habitats with little shoreline vegetation, which only a few species preferred.This study shows the potential significance of heteropterans as indicator groups for paleopotamic conditions and aquatic habitats with strong terrestrialisation processes.
Phytosociological and habitat studies were conducted on the water and swamp vegetation of astatic water bodies within north-eastern Poland. The phytocoenoses were selected on the basis of dominance of species forming the particular communities. The analysis of 147 relevés showed the existence of 10 vegetation types: Lemnetum minoris, Spirodeletum polyrrhizae, Riccietum fluitantis, Elodeetum canadensis, Polygonetum natantis, Typhetum latifoliae, Caricetum elatae, Calletum palustris, Potentilletum palustris, Menyanthetum trifoliatae. Among the properties of water analysed water depth, , pH, total and carbonate hardness, PO43−, Ca2+, Mg2+ and Na+ were found to be most important in differentiating the habitats of the vegetation types studied. Substrate properties, which best differentiated the habitats of the associations studied were NO3−, Na+, water content, pH and total N. In spite of the wide variability of habitat conditions occurring in astatic water bodies, particular phytocoenoses distinguished on the basis of dominance of one species were associated with specific habitats. The particular phytocoenoses or groups of phytocoenoses could be good indicators of various habitat conditions that occur within astatic water bodies or changes taking place in these habitats.
Juvenile north-temperate and Arctic fishes are faced with trade-offs between energy allocation to growth and energy storage (primarily lipids) prior to over-wintering. We determined classical morphometric (fork length, body weight and condition factor) and biochemical (whole body triglycerides, muscle RNA/DNA ratio, muscle proteins) measures of growth and condition in individual young-of-the-year (YOY) Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus). Grayling were collected just prior to over-wintering in late August (approximately 50 days after swim-up) from two natural streams and five locations within a 3.4 km long artificial stream constructed as a fish habitat compensation project and diversion channel for the diamond mining industry in Northwest Territories, Canada (64°45′N). Fork lengths, body weights and whole body triglyceride levels in grayling collected from all sites along the artificial stream were significantly lower than fish collected from one of the natural streams. Condition factor (weight-at-length) was not different among grayling collected from natural and artificial streams. Muscle proteins were lower in grayling collected from four sites along the artificial stream compared to the natural streams. In contrast, muscle RNA/DNA ratios were greater in grayling collected from two sites in the artificial stream compared to natural streams. There were no consistent differences in any variable among grayling collected at the five artificial stream sites or among grayling collected from the two natural streams. The higher RNA/DNA ratios and lower fork lengths, whole body triglycerides and muscle proteins in grayling inhabiting the artificial stream are consistent with energy still being primarily allocated to growth in these fish at this late stage of summer. Individuals that are both larger and possess greater energy storage in the form of triglycerides are more likely to survive the long over-wintering period at this latitude. Our results suggest that YOY grayling using the artificial stream as nursery habitat will likely face increased over-winter mortality, thus raising concerns over the use of fish presence, spawning and rearing as criteria for the initial success of artificial streams as habitat compensation measures in Arctic tundra regions. Further research is needed to determine the potential consequences of reduced size and energy storage in juvenile fishes in order to assess the viability of stream fish habitat compensation and restoration projects associated with industrial development in Arctic tundra regions.
The goal was to examine how macroinvertebrate taxonomic richness and density respond to spatial-temporal changes and to the influence of water physicochemical characteristics along the Bañado Carilauquen (BC). Benthic samplings were conducted seasonally and environmental parameters were recorded in five reaches of the BC. Cluster analysis was applied to compare taxonomic richness among sites. Community structure and spatial-temporal variation were explored using logarithmic regression. CCA was applied to explore the relationship between species and environmental variables. A total of 36 taxa were identified, predominantly insects. A growing gradient of conductivity and hardness was registered between headwaters (HD; relatively soft waters) and outlet (OL; very hard and saline waters). Total density of taxa showed significant differences among sampling sites and climate seasons. A decline in richness and density was observed from HD to OL. The spatial conductivity gradient is the major factor modulating macroinvertebrate distribution along this saline arid wetland. With the exception of the headwaters, hard, eutrophic, polysaprobic and contaminated waters such of those of the BC represent critical conditions for the development of macroinvertebrate assemblages.
Methods to assess the physical habitat provide important tools for many aspects of river management. Hydraulic units (defined as a homogeneous patch of flow type and substrate) were described in mountain streams of Central Argentina and the distribution of macrozoobenthos in these habitat units was analyzed. Four streams from the upper Carcarañá River Basin (Córdoba, Argentina) were sampled in two hydrological periods. Hydraulic units (as substrate and flow type), current velocity, depth, macrophytes and macroalgae were assessed. Three benthic samples were taken in each hydraulic unit. A total of 12 hydraulic units were registered, which varied seasonally in their proportional abundance. The highest values of taxonomic richness, total abundance, diversity and evenness were found in the low-water period. The most heterogeneous hydraulic units (characterized by substrate of diverse grain size) presented the highest richness, diversity and evenness, whereas the highest total abundance was observed in hydraulic units with homogeneous substrate, such as bedrock or gravel sand. Canonical correspondence analysis grouped samples and taxa mainly in relation to the hydraulic units, and temporal variation in macroinvertebrate assemblages was observed. We found that the interaction between hydrological and geomorphological conditions affected benthic assemblages and that their organization is important at a mesoscale. Therefore, hydraulic units may be considered important tools in assessing stream integrity in lotic systems of central Argentina.
The benthic invertebrate assemblages and functional feeding groups in different mesohabitats of the Middle Paraná River–floodplain system were analyzed. Benthic invertebrates and bottom sediments were sampled in a secondary channel (center and bank mesohabitats), a temporal marginal fluvial wetland adjacent to the river, an isolated lake and a connected lake during low water level. Cluster analysis of average invertebrate densities based on the Bray Curtis dissimilarity index yielded a group composed by the mesohabitats with higher species richness, the floodplain lakes, banks mesohabitats and the wetland. The center mesohabitat of the main channel characterized by sandy sediments with low organic matter content and the lowest invertebrate densities and species richness was classified separately. Alpha diversity increased from the center mesohabitat (6 taxa) to the adjacent wetland (71 taxa), and were similar between the floodplain lakes (24 and 22 taxa) and the river bank mesohabitat (24 taxa). Gamma and beta diversities (Whittaker index) were 92 and 2.19, respectively. The highest turnover of taxa was between the river and the other mesohabitats and the lowest between floodplain lakes. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) showed a clear separation of wetland and banks from other mesohabitats (axis 1 and 2 explained 52.25% variance) explained by shredders and collector-filterers. The other mesohabitats were arranged in a gradient from the main channel mostly related to collector-gatherers to the connected lake and the isolated lake that were mostly characterized by predators and scrapers. The invertebrate assemblage complexity and functional feeding groups composition increased in the lateral dimension, from the center of the main channel to the temporal marginal fluvial wetland due to the influences of the spatial heterogeneity caused by different sources of organic matter inputs.
The native fish fauna commonly found in the drainage basins of rivers and reservoirs of Latin America, including those of the semi-arid Northeastern Brazil, are representatives of the Neotropical region. This work reports on the reproductive ecology of five commercially important and consumable native fish species, in relation to rainfall and hydrological variables of the semi-arid reservoirs in Brazil. Pluviometric precipitation, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and electrical conductivity of the water were registered, and maturation of fish gonads was assessed on a monthly basis. This region is characterized with short spells of rain interspersed with long dry season and rainfall seems to be the main environmental factor which modulates the timing of the spawning period of fish. Construction of reservoirs without adequate facilities for fish migration has an adverse impact on the migratory fish species which are of commercial and ecological importance to semi-arid Northeastern Brazil.
About 140 pit lakes exist in Central Germany. These have resulted from lignite mining and are important parts of the post-mining landscape in the Central German lignite mining district. Their water quality is mainly influenced by the consequences of pyrite oxidation, i.e., acidification or results of natural or artificial neutralization. The major way of filling as well as a cheap and successful measure against acidification was the diversion of river water into the lakes or their filling with neutral water from mines still operating. Eutrophication, contamination by industrial pollutants and infection with pathogens imported with river water were found to be unimportant threats for the pit lakes in the Central German lignite mining district. Intrusion of naturally saline groundwater from deeper underground resulted in some cases in elevated concentrations of sodium chloride and in meromixis. The diverse uses of the lakes (e.g. recreation, nature conservation, water management) indicate that the pit lakes fulfil widely the typical functions of lakes in a landscape. The creation, the current state of water quality and lessons learned in water quality management are reported upon for the pit lakes of the Central German lignite mining district.
The Caspian Sea (CS), the world's largest inland sea, may also be considered as large-scale limnic system. Due to strong fluctuations of its water level during the 20th century and the flooding of vast areas in a highly vulnerable coastal zone, economic and environmental risk potentials have to be considered. Since the major water input into the CS is attributed to the Volga river, the understanding of its long-term flow process is necessary for an appropriate risk assessment for the CS and its coastal area. Therefore, a top–down approach based on statistical analyses of long-term Volga flow series is pursued. For the series of annual mean flow (MQ) of the Volga river basin during the 20th century, a complex oscillation pattern was identified. Analyses for multiple gauges in the Volga river basin and Eurasian reference basins revealed that this oscillation pattern resulted from the superposition of oscillations with periods of ∼30 years (MQ) in the western part of the Volga river basin, and ∼14 years (flow volume of snowmelt events) and ∼20 years (flow volume of summer and autumn) in the eastern part of the Volga river basin (Kama river basin). Almost synchronous minima or maxima of these oscillations occurred just in the periods of substantial changes of the Caspian Sea level (CSL). It can thus be assumed that the described mechanism is fundamental for an understanding of the CSL development during the 20th century. Regarding the global climate change, it is still difficult to predict reliably the development of the CSL for the 21st century. Consequently, we suggest an ongoing, interdisciplinary research co-operation among climatology, hydrology, hydraulics, ecology and spatial data management.
In Finland a great number of forest lakes are affected by silvicultural practices such as logging. Logging affects water chemistry and thus the ecological state of lakes by causing nutrient loads and increasing erosion and humic substances in water. Water quality assessment requires definition of natural background conditions and ecological status of water bodies. Therefore it is necessary to determine the impact of these practices on aquatic organisms. In the absence of long-term monitoring data, paleolimnological methods provide a powerful tool for determining human-induced changes in lakes. In this study diatom assemblages, diatom-inferred water total phosphorus and total organic carbon, and sediment chemistry were analyzed from the sediments of six lakes with a logged catchment area (11–53%). According to one-way analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) the diatom communities of three lakes were different before, immediately after and more than 10 years after logging and diatom assemblages in remaining three lakes did not show statistically significant differences between these times. However, all changes were minor, and at present the diatom assemblages and diatom-inferred water chemistry of all the lakes are close to the pre-logging conditions. The minor alterations are probably due to the wide protective zones around the lakes.
Macroinvertebrate communities from the lower Nysa Kłodzka River catchment, southern Poland, were analyzed seasonally, in order to assess changes in their composition and structure, in relation to water quality. Two major groups of sites, differing in both morphological structure and taxonomical composition by cluster analysis, were identified within the catchment area. Wider and deeper sites, located along the Nysa Kłodzka River, were associated with the dominance of Chironomidae. Sites assigned along tributaries were characterized by a diversified structure of dominant taxa, including Oligochaeta, Hirudinea, Crustacea, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera and Diptera. The performance of the modified procedure, named BMWP(PL) index, in accurately classifying 26 sites has been assessed through comparison with saprobic, diversity and biotic indices as well as chemical data. Due to diversified taxa richness and the presence or absence of specific indicator groups, values of the BMWP(PL) index varied from 27 to 93, and were correlated with the other biological indices and chemical variables. It has been stated that there is strong potential for application of the BMWP(PL) system in Poland, although some further testing is recommended.
The European Water Framework Directive requires that member states assess all their surface waters based on a number of biological elements, including macroinvertebrates. Since 1989, the Flemish Environment Agency has been using the Belgian Biotic Index for assessing river water quality based on macroinvertebrates. Throughout the years, the Belgian Biotic Index has proven to be a reliable and robust method providing a good indication of general degradation of river water and habitat quality. Since the Belgian Biotic Index does not meet all the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, a new index, the Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders (MMIF) for evaluating rivers and lakes was developed and tested. This index was developed in order to provide a general assessment of ecological deterioration caused by any kind of stressor, such as water pollution and habitat quality degradation. The MMIF is based on macroinvertebrate samples that are taken using the same sampling and identification procedure as the Belgian Biotic Index. The index calculation is a type-specific multimetric system based on five equally weighted metrics, which are taxa richness, number of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera taxa, number of other sensitive taxa, the Shannon–Wiener diversity index and the mean tolerance score. The final index value is expressed as an Ecological Quality Ratio ranging from zero for very bad ecological quality to one for very good ecological quality. The MMIF correlates positively with dissolved oxygen and negatively with Kjeldahl nitrogen, total nitrogen, ammonium, nitrite, total phosphorous, orthophosphate and biochemical and chemical oxygen demand. This new index is now being used by the Flemish Environment Agency as a standard method to report about the status of macroinvertebrates in rivers and lakes in Flanders within the context of the European Water Framework Directive.
Salinisation of running waters is a severe problem in many parts of the world. Monitoring and management of such waters require ecological methods which consider the hydrochemical effects of salinisation on the aquatic communities in order to set targets to protect habitats and biodiversity. Several bioassays have been developed for this purpose and are surveyed here. They are based on the salt sensitivity of the following groups of organisms: diatoms, ciliates and macroinvertebrates. In this paper experiences gained so far are also considered as well as practical applications originating from this research.
Morphological variations of Asterionella formosa were studied both in field samples from Bautzen Reservoir, Germany, and in culture experiments. It was observed that this diatom exhibited considerable variation in the number of cells per colony, ranging from unicells to colonies with more than 16 cells. The winter period of two consecutive years which differed with respect to ice- and snow cover were compared (1995: no ice cover; 1996: an ice cover lasting 4 months). A. formosa was obviously inedible for Daphnia in winter 1995 whereas in the same period in 1996 this species represented a main food source for Daphnia galeata, as was demonstrated by microscopic observation of the gut content of D. galeata during periods of Asterionella blooms. From feeding experiments with 14C-labelled A. formosa of different colony sizes and from microscopic observations of Daphnia feeding in a suspension of Asterionella colonies, I confirmed that only Asterionella colonies with up to 7 cells were effectively ingested by D. galeata. Above this threshold, the ingestion efficiency decreased to less than 30%. Steady-state populations of A. formosa in culture experiments showed a marked dependence on the number of cells per colony on light intensities. The mean colony size was usually less than 5 when light was limited (fell below a threshold of 20 μE m−2 s−1), and greater than 8 when light intensities exceeded 110 μE m−2 s−1. In Bautzen Reservoir, low light penetration owing to snow-covered ice in winter 1996 resulted, similar to culture experiments, in Asterionella colonies with 4 or less than 4 cells. Contrary to 1996, non-limited light penetration corresponded to 8-celled colonies in winter 1995. Light limitation during periods of ice cover should therefore be a strong environmental predictor of the colony size of A. formosa and, consequently, of the ingestion efficiency of a Daphnia population, thereby strongly modifying trophic interactions in pelagic food webs.
The WVU-Symposium, organized by the Wissenschaftsverbund Umwelt at the Rostock University, was held in Rostock, Germany, from April 15–20, 1996. 109 participants and 22 students attend the symposium. 13 invited lectures and 22 lectures were given and 16 posters presented. In two plenary discussions the general results achieved were discussed as well as gaps, problems and main trends in the next 10–20 years. The synopsis gives an overview of the main points.