Streams collect runoff, heat, and sediment from their watersheds, making them highly vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances such as urbanization and climate change. Forecasting the effects of these disturbances using process-based models is critical to identifying the form and magnitude of likely impacts. Here, we integrate a new biotic model with four previously developed physical models (downscaled climate projections, stream hydrology, geomorphology, and water temperature) to predict how stream fish growth and reproduction will most probably respond to shifts in climate and urbanization over the next several decades.The biotic submodel couples dynamics in fish populations and habitat suitability to predict fish assemblage composition, based on readily available biotic information (preferences for habitat, temperature, and food, and characteristics of spawning) and day-to-day variability in stream conditions.We illustrate the model using Piedmont headwater streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed of the USA, projecting ten scenarios: Baseline (low urbanization; no on-going construction; and present-day climate); one Urbanization scenario (higher impervious surface, lower forest cover, significant construction activity); four future climate change scenarios [Hadley CM3 and Parallel Climate Models under medium-high (A2) and medium-low (B2) emissions scenarios]; and the same four climate change scenarios plus Urbanization.Urbanization alone depressed growth or reproduction of 8 of 39 species, while climate change alone depressed 22 to 29 species. Almost every recreationally important species (i.e. trouts, basses, sunfishes) and six of the ten currently most common species were predicted to be significantly stressed. The combined effect of climate change and urbanization on adult growth was sometimes large compared to the effect of either stressor alone. Thus, the model predicts considerable change in fish assemblage composition, including loss of diversity.Synthesis and applications. The interaction of climate change and urban growth may entail significant reconfiguring of headwater streams, including a loss of ecosystem structure and services, which will be more costly than climate change alone. On local scales, stakeholders cannot control climate drivers but they can mitigate stream impacts via careful land use. Therefore, to conserve stream ecosystems, we recommend that proactive measures be taken to insure against species loss or severe population declines. Delays will inevitably exacerbate the impacts of both climate change and urbanization on headwater systems.
multiple stressors; urbanization; fish assemblage; headwater stream; siltation; flow regime; temperature regime; urban stream syndrome
This study analyses the relation of forest cover and stream flow on the 266 km2 Koga watershed in a headwater of Blue Nile Basin using both observed hydrological data and community perception. The watershed declined from 16% forest cover in 1957 to 1% by 1986. The hydrological record did not reveal changes in the flow regime between 1960 and 2002 despite the reduction in forest area. This agrees with the perception of the downstream community living near the gauging station. The upstream community, however, reported both decreases in low flows and increases in high flows shortly after the forest cover was reduced. The upstream deforestation effect appeared to have been buffered by a wetland lower in the watershed. This study concludes that community perception can be a complement to observational data for better understanding how forest cover influences the flow regime.
Blue Nile Basin; Community perception; Deforestation; Ethiopia; High flow; Low flow
Human land cover can degrade estuaries directly through habitat loss and fragmentation or indirectly through nutrient inputs that reduce water quality. Strong precipitation events are occurring more frequently, causing greater hydrological connectivity between watersheds and estuaries. Nutrient enrichment and dissolved oxygen depletion that occur following these events are known to limit populations of benthic macroinvertebrates and commercially harvested species, but the consequences for top consumers such as birds remain largely unknown. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) and structural equation modeling (SEM) to understand how land cover and annual variation in rainfall interact to shape waterbird community composition in Chesapeake Bay, USA. The MDS ordination indicated that urban subestuaries shifted from a mixed generalist-specialist community in 2002, a year of severe drought, to generalist-dominated community in 2003, of year of high rainfall. The SEM revealed that this change was concurrent with a sixfold increase in nitrate-N concentration in subestuaries. In the drought year of 2002, waterbird community composition depended only on the direct effect of urban development in watersheds. In the wet year of 2003, community composition depended both on this direct effect and on indirect effects associated with high nitrate-N inputs to northern parts of the Bay, particularly in urban subestuaries. Our findings suggest that increased runoff during periods of high rainfall can depress water quality enough to alter the composition of estuarine waterbird communities, and that this effect is compounded in subestuaries dominated by urban development. Estuarine restoration programs often chart progress by monitoring stressors and indicators, but rarely assess multivariate relationships among them. Estuarine management planning could be improved by tracking the structure of relationships among land cover, water quality, and waterbirds. Unraveling these complex relationships may help managers identify and mitigate ecological thresholds that occur with increasing human land cover.
Urbanization affects streams by modifying hydrology, increasing pollution and disrupting in-stream and riparian conditions, leading to negative responses by biotic communities. Given the global trend of increasing urbanization, improved understanding of its direct and indirect effects at multiple scales is needed to assist management. The theory of stream ecology suggests that the riverscape and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked, and watershed-scale processes will also affect in-stream conditions and communities. This is particularly true for species with semi-aquatic life cycles, such as amphibians, which transfer energy between streams and surrounding terrestrial areas. We related measures of urbanization at different scales to frog communities in streams along an urbanization gradient in Melbourne, Australia. We used boosted regression trees to determine the importance of predictors and the shape of species responses. We then used structural equation models to investigate possible indirect effects of watershed imperviousness on in-stream parameters. The proportion of riparian vegetation and road density surrounding the site at the reach scale (500-m radius) had positive and negative effects, respectively, on species richness and on the occurrence of the two most common species in the area (Criniasignifera and Limnodynastesdumerilii). Road density and local aquatic vegetation interacted in influencing species richness, suggesting that isolation of a site can prevent colonization, in spite of apparently good local habitat. Attenuated imperviousness at the catchment scale had a negative effect on local aquatic vegetation, indicating possible indirect effects on frog species not revealed by single-level models. Processes at the landscape scale, particularly related to individual ranging distances, can affect frog species directly and indirectly. Catchment imperviousness might not affect adult frogs directly, but by modifying hydrology it can disrupt local vegetation and prove indirectly detrimental. Integrating multiple-scale management actions may help to meet conservation targets for streams in the face of urbanization.
This study investigates the relationship between salinity and biotic communities (primary producers and macroinvertebrates) in Rambla Salada, a Mediterranean hypersaline stream in SE Spain. Since the 1980's, the mean salinity of the stream has fallen from about 100 g L-1 to 35.5 g L-1, due to intensive irrigated agriculture in the watershed. Furthermore, large dilutions occur occasionally when the water irrigation channel suffers cracks.
Along the salinity gradient studied (3.5 – 76.4 g L-1) Cladophora glomerata and Ruppia maritima biomass decreased with increasing salinity, while the biomass of epipelic algae increased. Diptera and Coleoptera species dominated the community both in disturbed as in re-established conditions. Most macroinvertebrates species found in Rambla Salada stream are euryhaline species with a broad range of salinity tolerance. Eight of them were recorded in natural hypersaline conditions (~100 g L-1) prior to important change in land use of the watershed: Ephydra flavipes, Stratyomis longicornis, Nebrioporus ceresyi, N. baeticus, Berosus hispanicus, Enochrus falcarius, Ochthebius cuprescens and Sigara selecta. However, other species recorded in the past, such as Ochthebius glaber, O. notabilis and Enochrus politus, were restricted to a hypersaline source or absent from Rambla Salada. The dilution of salinity to 3.5 – 6.8 gL-1 allowed the colonization of species with low salininty tolerance, such as Melanopsis praemorsa, Anax sp., Simulidae, Ceratopogonidae and Tanypodinae. The abundance of Ephydra flavipes and Ochthebius corrugatus showed a positive significant response to salinity, while Anax sp., Simulidae, S. selecta, N. ceresyi, N. baeticus, and B. hispanicus showed significant negative correlations. The number of total macroinvertebrate taxa, Diptera and Coleoptera species, number of families, Margalef's index and Shannon's diversity index decreased with increasing salinity. However, the rest of community parameters, such as the abundance of individuals, evenness and Simpson's index, showed no significant response to changes in salinity. Classification and ordination analysis revealed major differences in macroinvertebrate community structure between hypersaline conditions (76.4 g L-1) and the rest of the communities observed at the lower salinity levels, and revealed that below ~75 g L-1, dissimilarities in the communities were greater between the two habitats studied (runs and pools) than between salinity levels.
Salinity was the first factor determining community composition and structure in Rambla Salada stream followed by the type of habitat.
This study focuses on the differential hydrologic response of individual watersheds to climate warming within the Sierra Nevada mountain region of California. We describe climate warming models for 15 west-slope Sierra Nevada watersheds in California under unimpaired conditions using WEAP21, a weekly one-dimensional rainfall-runoff model. Incremental climate warming alternatives increase air temperature uniformly by 2°, 4°, and 6°C, but leave other climatic variables unchanged from observed values. Results are analyzed for changes in mean annual flow, peak runoff timing, and duration of low flow conditions to highlight which watersheds are most resilient to climate warming within a region, and how individual watersheds may be affected by changes to runoff quantity and timing. Results are compared with current water resources development and ecosystem services in each watershed to gain insight into how regional climate warming may affect water supply, hydropower generation, and montane ecosystems. Overall, watersheds in the northern Sierra Nevada are most vulnerable to decreased mean annual flow, southern-central watersheds are most susceptible to runoff timing changes, and the central portion of the range is most affected by longer periods with low flow conditions. Modeling results suggest the American and Mokelumne Rivers are most vulnerable to all three metrics, and the Kern River is the most resilient, in part from the high elevations of the watershed. Our research seeks to bridge information gaps between climate change modeling and regional management planning, helping to incorporate climate change into the development of regional adaptation strategies for Sierra Nevada watersheds.
The adaptation of land-use patterns is an essential aspect of minimizing the inevitable impact of climate change at regional and local scales; for example, adapting watershed land-use patterns to mitigate the impact of climate change on a region’s hydrology. The objective of this study is to simulate and assess a region’s ability to adapt to hydrological changes by modifying land-use patterns in the Wu-Du watershed in northern Taiwan. A hydrological GWLF (Generalized Watershed Loading Functions) model is used to simulate three hydrological components, namely, runoff, groundwater and streamflow, based on various land-use scenarios under six global climate models. The land-use allocations are simulated by the CLUE-s model for the various development scenarios. The simulation results show that runoff and streamflow are strongly related to the precipitation levels predicted by different global climate models for the wet and dry seasons, but groundwater cycles are more related to land-use. The effects of climate change on groundwater and runoff can be mitigated by modifying current land-use patterns; and slowing the rate of urbanization would also reduce the impact of climate change on hydrological components. Thus, land-use adaptation on a local/regional scale provides an alternative way to reduce the impacts of global climate change on local hydrology.
adaptation; hydrological components; climate change; land use management
Digital hydrologic networks depicting surface-water pathways and their associated drainage catchments provide a key component to hydrologic analysis and modeling. Collectively, they form common spatial units that can be used to frame the descriptions of aquatic and watershed processes. In addition, they provide the ability to simulate and route the movement of water and associated constituents throughout the landscape. Digital hydrologic networks have evolved from derivatives of mapping products to detailed, interconnected, spatially referenced networks of water pathways, drainage areas, and stream and watershed characteristics. These properties are important because they enhance the ability to spatially evaluate factors that affect the sources and transport of water-quality constituents at various scales. SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW), a process-based/statistical model, relies on a digital hydrologic network in order to establish relations between quantities of monitored contaminant flux, contaminant sources, and the associated physical characteristics affecting contaminant transport. Digital hydrologic networks modified from the River Reach File (RF1) and National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) geospatial datasets provided frameworks for SPARROW in six regions of the conterminous United States. In addition, characteristics of the modified RF1 were used to update estimates of mean-annual streamflow. This produced more current flow estimates for use in SPARROW modeling.
reach; network; modeling; streams; streamflow; SPARROW; NAWQA
Spawning salmon create patches of disturbance through redd digging which can reduce macroinvertebrate abundance and biomass in spawning habitat. We asked whether displaced invertebrates use non-spawning habitats as refugia in streams. Our study explored how the spatial and temporal distribution of macroinvertebrates changed during a pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) spawning run and compared macroinvertebrates in spawning (riffle) and non-spawning (refugia) habitats in an Alaskan stream. Potential refugia included: pools, stream margins and the hyporheic zone, and we also sampled invertebrate drift. We predicted that macroinvertebrates would decline in riffles and increase in drift and refugia habitats during salmon spawning. We observed a reduction in the density, biomass and taxonomic richness of macroinvertebrates in riffles during spawning. There was no change in pool and margin invertebrate communities, except insect biomass declined in pools during the spawning period. Macroinvertebrate density was greater in the hyporheic zone and macroinvertebrate density and richness increased in the drift during spawning. We observed significant invertebrate declines within spawning habitat; however in non-spawning habitat, there were less pronounced changes in invertebrate density and richness. The results observed may be due to spawning-related disturbances, insect phenology, or other variables. We propose that certain in-stream habitats could be important for the persistence of macroinvertebrates during salmon spawning in a Southeast Alaskan stream.
Forested ecosystems in the southeastern United States are currently undergoing an invasion by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Previous studies in this area have shown changes to forest structure, decreases in canopy cover, increases in organic matter, and changes to nutrient cycling on the forest floor and soil. Here, we were interested in how the effects of canopy loss and nutrient leakage from terrestrial areas would translate into functional changes in streams draining affected watersheds. We addressed these questions in HWA-infested watersheds at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in North Carolina. Specifically, we measured stream metabolism (gross primary production and ecosystem respiration) and nitrogen uptake from 2008 to 2011 in five streams across the Coweeta basin. Over the course of our study, we found no change to in-stream nutrient concentrations. While canopy cover decreased annually in these watersheds, this change in light penetration did not translate to higher rates of in-stream primary production during the summer months of our study. We found a trend towards greater heterotrophy within our watersheds, where in-stream respiration accounted for a much larger component of net ecosystem production than GPP. Additionally, increases in rhododendron cover may counteract changes in light and nutrient availability that occurred with hemlock loss. The variability in our metabolic and uptake parameters suggests an actively-infested ecosystem in transition between steady states.
Rapid changes to the Arctic hydrological cycle challenge both our process understanding and our ability to find appropriate adaptation strategies. We have investigated the relevance and accuracy development of climate change projections for assessment of water cycle changes in major Arctic drainage basins. Results show relatively good agreement of climate model projections with observed temperature changes, but high model inaccuracy relative to available observation data for precipitation changes. Direct observations further show systematically larger (smaller) runoff than precipitation increases (decreases). This result is partly attributable to uncertainties and systematic bias in precipitation observations, but still indicates that some of the observed increase in Arctic river runoff is due to water storage changes, for example melting permafrost and/or groundwater storage changes, within the drainage basins. Such causes of runoff change affect sea level, in addition to ocean salinity, and inland water resources, ecosystems, and infrastructure. Process-based hydrological modeling and observations, which can resolve changes in evapotranspiration, and groundwater and permafrost storage at and below river basin scales, are needed in order to accurately interpret and translate climate-driven precipitation changes to changes in freshwater cycling and runoff. In contrast to this need, our results show that the density of Arctic runoff monitoring has become increasingly biased and less relevant by decreasing most and being lowest in river basins with the largest expected climatic changes.
Hydrology; Climate change; General circulation models; Monitoring; Pan-Arctic drainage basin; Runoff
Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were used to explore the community composition of bacterial communities in biofilms on sediments (epipssamon) and rocks (epilithon) in stream reaches that drain watersheds with contrasting lithologies in the Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. Bacterial community composition varied primarily by stream habitat and secondarily by lithology. Positive correlations were detected between bacterial community structure and nutrients, base cations, and dissolved organic carbon. Our results showed significant differences at the stream habitat, between epipssamon and epilithon bacterial communities, which we expected. Our results also showed significant differences at the landscape scale that could be related to different lithologies and associated stream biogeochemistry. These results provide insight into the bacterial community composition of little known and pristine arctic stream ecosystems and illustrate how differences in the lithology, soils, and vegetation community of the terrestrial environment interact to influence stream bacterial taxonomic richness and composition.
arctic streams; bacterial community composition; microbial community composition; lithology; T-RFLP; 16S rRNA gene sequencing
Many studies investigating the ecosystem effects of global climate change have focused on arctic ecosystems because the Arctic is expected to undergo the earliest and most pronounced changes in response to increasing global temperatures, and arctic ecosystems are considerably limited by low temperatures and permafrost. In these nutrient limited systems, a warmer climate is expected to increase plant biomass production, primarily through increases in shrubs over graminoids and forbs. But, the influence of vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores has been largely absent in studies investigating the effects of vegetation responses to climate change, despite the fact that herbivory can have a major influence on plant community composition, biomass and nutrient cycling. Here, we present results from a multi-annual field experiment investigating the effects of vertebrate herbivory on plant biomass response to simulated climate warming in arctic Greenland.
The results after four years of treatments did not give any clear evidence of increased biomass of shrubs in response climate warming. Nor did our study indicate that vertebrate grazing mediated any increased domination of shrubs over other functional plant groups in response to warming. However, our results indicate an important role of insect outbreaks on aboveground biomass. Intense caterpillar foraging from a two-year outbreak of the moth Eurois occulta during two growing seasons may have concealed any treatment effects. However, there was some evidence suggesting that vertebrate herbivores constrain the biomass production of shrubs over graminoids and forbs.
Although inconclusive, our results were likely constrained by the overwhelming influence of an unexpected caterpillar outbreak on aboveground biomass. It is likely that the role of large vertebrate herbivores in vegetation response to warming will become more evident as this experiment proceeds and the plant community recovers from the caterpillar outbreak. Due to the greater influence of invertebrate herbivory in this study, it is advisable to consider both the effect of invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores in studies investigating climate change effects on plant communities.
SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) models were developed to estimate nutrient inputs [total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP)] to the northwestern part of the Gulf of Mexico from streams in the South-Central United States (U.S.). This area included drainages of the Lower Mississippi, Arkansas-White-Red, and Texas-Gulf hydrologic regions. The models were standardized to reflect nutrient sources and stream conditions during 2002. Model predictions of nutrient loads (mass per time) and yields (mass per area per time) generally were greatest in streams in the eastern part of the region and along reaches near the Texas and Louisiana shoreline. The Mississippi River and Atchafalaya River watersheds, which drain nearly two-thirds of the conterminous U.S., delivered the largest nutrient loads to the Gulf of Mexico, as expected. However, the three largest delivered TN yields were from the Trinity River/Galveston Bay, Calcasieu River, and Aransas River watersheds, while the three largest delivered TP yields were from the Calcasieu River, Mermentau River, and Trinity River/Galveston Bay watersheds. Model output indicated that the three largest sources of nitrogen from the region were atmospheric deposition (42%), commercial fertilizer (20%), and livestock manure (unconfined, 17%). The three largest sources of phosphorus were commercial fertilizer (28%), urban runoff (23%), and livestock manure (confined and unconfined, 23%).
nutrients; nonpoint source pollution; transport and fate; simulation; watersheds; SPARROW; northwestern Gulf of Mexico; South-Central United States
We explored how embayment watershed inputs, morphometry, and hydrology influence fish community structure among eight embayments located along the southeastern shoreline of Lake Ontario, New York, USA. Embayments differed in surface area and depth, varied in their connections to Lake Ontario and their watersheds, and drained watersheds representing a gradient of agricultural to forested land use.
We related various physicochemical factors, including total phosphorus load, embayment area, and submerged vegetation, to differences in fish species diversity and community relative abundance, biomass, and size structure both among and within embayments. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and centrarchids numerically dominated most embayment fish communities. Biomass was dominated by piscivorous fishes including brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), bowfin (Amia calva), and northern pike (Esox lucius). Phosphorus loading influenced relative biomass, but not species diversity or relative abundance. Fish relative abundance differed among embayments; within embayments, fish abundance at individual sampling stations increased significantly with submerged vegetative cover. Relative biomass differed among embayments and was positively related to total phophorus loading and embayment area. Fish community size structure, based on size spectra analysis, differed among embayments, with the frequency of smaller-bodied fishes positively related to percent vegetation.
The importance of total phosphorus loading and vegetation in structuring fish communities has implications for anthropogenic impacts to embayment fish communities through activities such as farming and residential development, reduction of cultural eutrophication, and shoreline development and maintenance.
Watershed urbanization leads to dramatic changes in draining streams, with urban streams receiving a high frequency of scouring flows, together with the nutrient, contaminant, and thermal pollution associated with urbanization. These changes are known to cause significant losses of sensitive insect and fish species from urban streams, yet little is known about how these changes affect the composition and function of stream microbial communities. Over the course of two years, we repeatedly sampled sediments from eight central North Carolina streams affected to varying degrees by watershed urbanization. For each stream and sampling date, we characterized both overall and denitrifying bacterial communities and measured denitrification potentials. Denitrification is an ecologically important process, mediated by denitrifying bacteria that use nitrate and organic carbon as substrates. Differences in overall and denitrifying bacterial community composition were strongly associated with the gradient in urbanization. Denitrification potentials, which varied widely, were not significantly associated with substrate supply. By incorporating information on the community composition of denitrifying bacteria together with substrate supply in a linear mixed-effects model, we explained 45% of the variation in denitrification potential (p-value<0.001). Our results suggest that (1) the composition of stream bacterial communities change in response to watershed urbanization and (2) such changes may have important consequences for critical ecosystem functions such as denitrification.
Knowledge of headwater influences on the water-quality and flow conditions of downstream waters is essential to water-resource management at all governmental levels; this includes recent court decisions on the jurisdiction of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) over upland areas that contribute to larger downstream water bodies. We review current watershed research and use a water-quality model to investigate headwater influences on downstream receiving waters. Our evaluations demonstrate the intrinsic connections of headwaters to landscape processes and downstream waters through their influence on the supply, transport, and fate of water and solutes in watersheds. Hydrological processes in headwater catchments control the recharge of subsurface water stores, flow paths, and residence times of water throughout landscapes. The dynamic coupling of hydrological and biogeochemical processes in upland streams further controls the chemical form, timing, and longitudinal distances of solute transport to downstream waters. We apply the spatially explicit, mass-balance watershed model SPARROW to consider transport and transformations of water and nutrients throughout stream networks in the northeastern United States. We simulate fluxes of nitrogen, a primary nutrient that is a water-quality concern for acidification of streams and lakes and eutrophication of coastal waters, and refine the model structure to include literature observations of nitrogen removal in streams and lakes. We quantify nitrogen transport from headwaters to downstream navigable waters, where headwaters are defined within the model as first-order, perennial streams that include flow and nitrogen contributions from smaller, intermittent and ephemeral streams. We find that first-order headwaters contribute approximately 70% of the mean-annual water volume and 65% of the nitrogen flux in second-order streams. Their contributions to mean water volume and nitrogen flux decline only marginally to about 55% and 40% in fourth- and higher-order rivers that include navigable waters and their tributaries. These results underscore the profound influence that headwater areas have on shaping downstream water quantity and water quality. The results have relevance to water-resource management and regulatory decisions and potentially broaden understanding of the spatial extent of Federal CWA jurisdiction in U.S. waters.
rivers/streams; nitrogen; transport and fate; streamflow; headwaters; SWANCC; Rapanos
Bacteriological studies in 1968 and 1969 corroborated earlier findings that a municipal watershed which had been closed to public entry since 1917 yielded water with four to six times the coliform count found in an adjacent mountain watershed open to recreational activities. Similarly, chemical investigations showed higher concentrations of most ions in water from the closed area. Physiological differentiation of coliform and enterococcal bacteria revealed similar types of organisms in both animal droppings and stream water, with fecal coliforms accounting for as much as 70% of the coliform counts observed in the closed area in 1969. Opening of the closed drainage for limited recreation and expanded logging operations in the spring of 1970 coincided with an unexpected decrease in bacterial contamination of that stream. It is postulated that these human activities drove from the watershed a large wild animal population which had contributed substantially to the previous bacterial pollution. It would seem that the practice of closing high-mountain watersheds to public entry is questionable if governmental standards for water quality are to be met, and it also seems that the standards themselves should be reexamined.
The indigenous Nenets reindeer herders in northern Russia annually migrate several hundred kilometers between summer and winter pastures. In the warming climate, ice-rich permafrost and glaciers are being significantly reduced and will eventually disappear from parts of the Arctic. The emergent changes in hydrological cycles have already led to substantial increases in open water that stays unfrozen for longer periods of time. This environmental change has been reported to compromise the nomadic Nenets’ traditional way of life because the presence of new water in the tundra reduces the Nenets’ ability to travel by foot, sled, or motor vehicle from the summer transitory tundra campsites in order to access healthcare centers in villages. New water can also impede their access to family and community at other herder camps and in the villages. Although regional and global models predicting hydrologic changes due to climate changes exist, the spatial resolution of these models is too coarse for studying how increases in open water affect health and livelihoods. To anticipate the full health impact of hydrologic changes, the current gap between globally forecasted scenarios and locally forecasted hydrologic scenarios needs to be bridged.
We studied the effects of the autumn temperature anomalies and increases in open water on health care access and transmigration of reindeer herders on the Kanin Peninsula.
Correlational and time series analyses were completed.
The study population consisted of 370 full-time, nomadic reindeer herders. We utilized clinical visit records, studied surface temperature anomalies during autumn migrations, and used remotely sensed imagery to detect water bodies. Spearman correlation was used to measure the relationship between temperature anomalies and the annual arrival of the herders at the Nes clinic for preventive and primary care. Piecewise regression was used to model change in mean autumnal temperature anomalies over time. We also created a water body product to detect inter-annual changes in water area.
Correlation between arrivals to the Nes clinic and temperature anomalies during the fall transmigration (1979–2011) was r = 0.64, p = 0.0004; 95% CI (0.31; 0.82). Regression analysis estimated that mean temperature anomalies during the fall migration in September–December were stochastically stationary pre-1991 and have been rising significantly (p < 0.001) since then. The rate of change was estimated at +0.1351°C/year, SE = 0.0328, 95% CI (+0.0694, +0.2007). The amount of detected water fluctuated significantly interannually (620–800 km2).
Later arrival of freezing temperatures in the autumn followed by the earlier spring thaws and more open water delay transmigration and reduce herders’ access to health care. The recently observed delays in arrival to the clinic are likely related to the warming trend and to concomitant hydrologic changes.
climate change; health services access; hydrology; indigenous peoples; permafrost; Rangifer tarandus; remote sensing; satellite imagery; surface water; water bodies
At a time when anthropogenic activities are increasingly disturbing the overall ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems, monitoring of biological communities is central to assessing the health and function of streams. This study aimed to use a large nation-wide database to develop a multimetric index (the Korean Benthic macroinvertebrate Index of Biological Integrity—KB-IBI) applicable to the biological assessment of Korean streams. Reference and impaired conditions were determined based on watershed, chemical and physical criteria. Eight of an initial 34 candidate metrics were selected using a stepwise procedure that evaluated metric variability, redundancy, sensitivity and responsiveness to environmental gradients. The selected metrics were number of taxa, percent Ephemeroptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera (EPT) individuals, percent of a dominant taxon, percent taxa abundance without Chironomidae, Shannon’s diversity index, percent gatherer individuals, ratio of filterers and scrapers, and the Korean saprobic index. Our multimetric index successfully distinguished reference from impaired conditions. A scoring system was established for each core metric using its quartile range and response to anthropogenic disturbances. The multimetric index was classified by aggregating the individual metric ..scores and the value range was quadrisected to provide a narrative criterion (Poor, Fair, Good and Excellent) to describe the biological integrity of the streams in the study. A validation procedure showed that the index is an effective method for evaluating stream conditions, and thus is appropriate for use in future studies measuring the long-term status of streams, and the effectiveness of restoration methods.
multimetric index; benthic macroinvertebrates; biological integrity; stream health; bio-assessment
Understanding the genetics of adaptation is a central focus in evolutionary biology. Here, we use a population genomics approach to examine striking parallel morphological divergences of parapatric stream–lake ecotypes of threespine stickleback fish in three watersheds on the Haida Gwaii archipelago, western Canada. Genome-wide variation at greater than 1000 single nucleotide polymorphism loci indicate separate origin of giant lake and small-bodied stream fish within each watershed (mean FST between watersheds = 0.244 and within = 0.114). Genome scans within watersheds identified a total of 21 genomic regions that are highly differentiated between ecotypes and are probably subject to directional selection. Most outliers were watershed-specific, but genomic regions undergoing parallel genetic changes in multiple watersheds were also identified. Interestingly, several of the stream–lake outlier regions match those previously identified in marine–freshwater and benthic–limnetic genome scans, indicating reuse of the same genetic loci in different adaptive scenarios. We also identified multiple new outlier loci, which may contribute to unique aspects of differentiation in stream–lake environments. Overall, our data emphasize the important role of ecological boundaries in driving both local and broadly occurring parallel genetic changes during adaptation.
genome scan; FST outlier; ecological speciation; Gasterosteus; single nucleotide polymorphism
High phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural fields has been an environmental concern because of potential water quality problems in streams and lakes. To better understand the process of P loss and evaluate the effects of different phosphorus fertilization rates on phosphorus losses, the USDA Annualized AGricultural Non-Point Source (AnnAGNPS) pollutant loading model was applied to the Ohio Upper Auglaize watershed, located in the southern portion of the Maumee River Basin. In this study, the AnnAGNPS model was calibrated using USGS monitored data; and then the effects of different phosphorus fertilization rates on phosphorus loadings were assessed. It was found that P loadings increase as fertilization rate increases, and long term higher P application would lead to much higher P loadings to the watershed outlet. The P loadings to the watershed outlet have a dramatic change after some time with higher P application rate. This dramatic change of P loading to the watershed outlet indicates that a “critical point” may exist in the soil at which soil P loss to water changes dramatically. Simulations with different initial soil P contents showed that the higher the initial soil P content is, the less time it takes to reach the “critical point” where P loadings to the watershed outlet increases dramatically. More research needs to be done to understand the processes involved in the transfer of P between the various stable, active and labile states in the soil to ensure that the model simulations are accurate. This finding may be useful in setting up future P application and management guidelines.
AnnAGNPS watershed modeling; phosphorus fertilization rates; phosphorus loss
The SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) model was used to perform an assessment of surface-water nutrient conditions and to identify important nutrient sources in watersheds of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (U.S.) for the year 2002. Our models included variables representing nutrient sources as well as landscape characteristics that affect nutrient delivery to streams. Annual nutrient yields were higher in watersheds on the wetter, west side of the Cascade Range compared to watersheds on the drier, east side. High nutrient enrichment (relative to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recommended nutrient criteria) was estimated in watersheds throughout the region. Forest land was generally the largest source of total nitrogen stream load and geologic material was generally the largest source of total phosphorus stream load generated within the 12,039 modeled watersheds. These results reflected the prevalence of these two natural sources and the low input from other nutrient sources across the region. However, the combined input from agriculture, point sources, and developed land, rather than natural nutrient sources, was responsible for most of the nutrient load discharged from many of the largest watersheds. Our results provided an understanding of the regional patterns in surface-water nutrient conditions and should be useful to environmental managers in future water-quality planning efforts.
nutrients; watersheds; geospatial analysis; Pacific Northwest
Arctic and subarctic (i.e., [sub]arctic) ecosystems are predicted to be particularly susceptible to climate change. The area of tundra is expected to decrease and temperate climates will extend further north, affecting species inhabiting northern environments. Consequently, species at high latitudes should be especially susceptible to climate change, likely experiencing significant range contractions. Contrary to these expectations, our modelling of species distributions suggests that predicted climate change up to 2080 will favour most mammals presently inhabiting (sub)arctic Europe. Assuming full dispersal ability, most species will benefit from climate change, except for a few cold-climate specialists. However, most resident species will contract their ranges if they are not able to track their climatic niches, but no species is predicted to go extinct. If climate would change far beyond current predictions, however, species might disappear. The reason for the relative stability of mammalian presence might be that arctic regions have experienced large climatic shifts in the past, filtering out sensitive and range-restricted taxa. We also provide evidence that for most (sub)arctic mammals it is not climate change per se that will threaten them, but possible constraints on their dispersal ability and changes in community composition. Such impacts of future changes in species communities should receive more attention in literature.
The megadiverse haplochromine cichlid radiations of the East African lakes, famous examples of explosive speciation and adaptive radiation, are according to recent studies, introgressed by different riverine lineages. This study is based on the first comprehensive mitochondrial and nuclear DNA dataset from extensive sampling of riverine haplochromine cichlids. It includes species from the lower River Congo and Angolan (River Kwanza) drainages. Reconstruction of phylogenetic hypotheses revealed the paradox of clearly discordant phylogenetic signals. Closely related mtDNA haplotypes are distributed thousands of kilometres apart and across major African watersheds, whereas some neighbouring species carry drastically divergent mtDNA haplotypes. At shallow and deep phylogenetic layers, strong signals of hybridization are attributed to the complex Late Miocene/Early Pliocene palaeohistory of African rivers. Hybridization of multiple lineages across changing watersheds shaped each of the major haplochromine radiations in lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, Malawi and the Kalahari Palaeolakes, as well as a miniature species flock in the Congo basin (River Fwa). On the basis of our results, introgression occurred not only on a spatially restricted scale, but massively over almost the whole range of the haplochromine distribution. This provides an alternative view on the origin and exceptional high diversity of this enigmatic vertebrate group.
East African cichlid radiations; haplochromines; hybridization; Neogene landscape evolution