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Volume 9, January

Environments, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2022) – 19 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The release of nanomaterials in the environment is of concern and requires the investigation of their fate and effects. Silver nanoparticles are among the most common nanomaterials and are known to be subject to oxidation-dissolution reactions. To assess the ecotoxicological risk of silver nanoparticles, environmental regulators must understand their environmental fate and how they interact with living organisms. Stratified fresh and salt water mesocosms were used to mimic natural estuaries and to study the environmental fate of silver nanoparticles and their effects on two freshwater planktonic species, a green alga, and a planktonic crustacean. Silver remained mostly within the top freshwater layer and was not bioavailable to the green alga. On the other hand, silver was accumulated by the invertebrate. View this paper.
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Article
Application of Landscape-Ecological Approach for Greenways Planning in Rural Agricultural Landscape
Environments 2022, 9(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020030 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 971
Abstract
This article presents an innovative approach to the concept of facilitating greenways into sustainable landscape planning. The greenways can be planned by application of a landscape-ecological concept, including analysis and synthesis of selected abiotic, biotic, and socio-economic landscape-ecological factors and recreation conditions, and [...] Read more.
This article presents an innovative approach to the concept of facilitating greenways into sustainable landscape planning. The greenways can be planned by application of a landscape-ecological concept, including analysis and synthesis of selected abiotic, biotic, and socio-economic landscape-ecological factors and recreation conditions, and by reviewing the current landscape structure and condition of linear components of green infrastructure. Determining the landscape ecological stability, visual impact of agricultural lands, potential erosion risks and real erosion processes, and identifying the natural, cultural, and historical values in the landscape, contributes to the design of ideal greenways placement and other linear components of green infrastructure. Applying these proposals to the agricultural landscape would increase the ecological stability and connectivity, decrease soil and water erosion risks, eliminate visual impact, and develop recreational infrastructure. In this way, greenways planning brings about a synergy between sustainable rural development, landscape and nature protection, and landscape aesthetics, which provides optimal landscape utilization and may encourage tourism and economic prosperity in the study area. Finally, in addition to the researched ecological benefits, our greenways proposal represents an alternative connection of settlements in rural agricultural landscapes, and so it can stimulate sustainable mobility and recreation as well as physical activity, health, and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Teaching Atmospheric Hazards in the Climate Change Context—Environmental Didactic Proposals in the Mediterranean Region for Secondary Schools
Environments 2022, 9(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020029 - 13 Feb 2022
Viewed by 953
Abstract
The political sphere is starting to take an interest in how the teaching of atmospheric risks at pre-university stages can be improved. This interest has arisen due to the fact that, as stated in the 2030 Agenda, education is an important factor for [...] Read more.
The political sphere is starting to take an interest in how the teaching of atmospheric risks at pre-university stages can be improved. This interest has arisen due to the fact that, as stated in the 2030 Agenda, education is an important factor for reducing the effects of natural hazards within the context of current climate change. However, in developed countries education has not played a prominent role in the design of risk prevention policies. The purpose of this study was to identify the principal deficiencies that characterise the study of natural risks in non-university education and then to propose didactic activities for improving the teaching of the main processes associated with climate change (episodes of intense rains and droughts) that already affect the Spanish Mediterranean region. Their implementation in the classroom seeks, first, to correct the deficiencies in the knowledge of the students in terms of the sources from which they obtain information, and second, to raise awareness about the importance of education in the prevention and mitigation of climate risks. These proposals are intended to serve as a guide to activities to be implemented in classrooms in other international areas, taking into account their geographical characteristics and the availability of data. Full article
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Article
Bibliographic Coupling Links: Alternative Approaches to Carrying Out Systematic Reviews about Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Environments 2022, 9(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020028 - 12 Feb 2022
Viewed by 780
Abstract
New technologies, specifically the internet, have over the last two decades increased the number of publications in the most diverse fields of science. Subjects related to renewable and sustainable energy are no exception. These frameworks have allowed the main insights produced by the [...] Read more.
New technologies, specifically the internet, have over the last two decades increased the number of publications in the most diverse fields of science. Subjects related to renewable and sustainable energy are no exception. These frameworks have allowed the main insights produced by the scientific community through literature surveys to be highlighted. Nonetheless, considering the vast quantity of studies, systematic approaches have been proposed by the researchers to better organize and perform the literature review. Considering the subjectivity of some of these methodologies, the main objectives of this research are to conduct a systematic review about renewable and sustainable energy through more objective techniques, based on bibliometric analysis, to provide an alternative or to complement those already available within the literature. For this purpose, a “Biblio4Review” approach was proposed in order to perform systematic reviews about renewable and sustainable energy that may spread into other scientific fields. This methodology is based on bibliographic coupling links from the bibliometric analysis to identify the most relevant studies for the literature review. The results obtained highlight that with this approach it was possible to identify the studies with greater centrality in terms of references shared. In this way, they are among the most relevant documents for these topics. Specifically for the topic considered (renewable and sustainable energy) the main insights were referred to. In any case, the findings obtained show that there is a field for more interdisciplinary approaches. Full article
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Perspective
Monitoring and Management of Inland Waters: Insights from the Most Inhabited Italian Region
Environments 2022, 9(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020027 - 12 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 821
Abstract
Monitoring of freshwaters allows the detection of the impacts of multiple anthropic uses and activities on aquatic ecosystems, and an eco-sustainable management of natural resources could limit these impacts. In this work, we highlighted two main issues affecting inland waters, referring to findings [...] Read more.
Monitoring of freshwaters allows the detection of the impacts of multiple anthropic uses and activities on aquatic ecosystems, and an eco-sustainable management of natural resources could limit these impacts. In this work, we highlighted two main issues affecting inland waters, referring to findings from the most inhabited Italian region (Lombardy, approximately 10 M inhabitants): the first issue is lake pollution by old generation pesticides, the second is river development for hydropower. In both cases, some management strategies reducing the anthropic impacts on freshwaters were discussed: organic farming and biocontrol as an alternative to diffuse pollution by agrochemicals; environmental flows and controlled sediment flushing operations to limit the hydropower impact on rivers. Although the two mentioned issues were discussed separately in this paper, the management of water resources should be carried out in a comprehensive way, accounting for the multiple impacts affecting freshwater ecosystems, including those related to the climate changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring and Management of Inland Waters)
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Article
Acute Adverse Effects of Metallic Nanomaterials on Cardiac and Behavioral Changes in Daphnia magna
Environments 2022, 9(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020026 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Nanomaterials are widely believed to induce toxic effects on organisms by evoking oxidative stress. We evaluated the toxic effects of nanomaterials on the cardiac and behavioral changes in Daphnia magna under varying exposure conditions. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs), silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), [...] Read more.
Nanomaterials are widely believed to induce toxic effects on organisms by evoking oxidative stress. We evaluated the toxic effects of nanomaterials on the cardiac and behavioral changes in Daphnia magna under varying exposure conditions. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs), silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), and silver nitrate (AgNO3) were selected for the acute toxicity tests. The adverse effects of the substances on the neonates including heart rate, swimming speed, and oxidative stress were measured. The heart rate level decreased as the concentration of both NPs and silver ions (Ag+) increased. The average swimming speed was measured to be approximately 15 mm/min for the control group. The swimming speed generally increased with a longer exposure to both NPs although it reached a plateau at the lowest concentration of AgNPs. A similar but less clear trend was observed for Ag+. For all substances, the overall swimming speed exhibited no correlation or weak negative correlations with the exposure concentration. The oxidative stress levels increased after exposure compared with the control group. We conclude that aquatic nanotoxicity tests should consider multilevel physicochemical, physiological, and behavioral parameters for the official guidelines to quantify more robust adverse outcomes. Full article
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Editorial
Monitoring and Assessment of Environmental Quality in Coastal Environments
Environments 2022, 9(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020025 - 02 Feb 2022
Viewed by 768
Abstract
Coastal ecosystems are presently one of the most impacted environments by contamination and human pressures [...] Full article
Article
Impact of Old Pb Mining and Metallurgical Production in Soils from the Linares Mining District (Spain)
Environments 2022, 9(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020024 - 31 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
Mineral processing and metallurgy production centers may leave a far-reaching fingerprint of soil contamination. This scenario is particularly relevant in the mining district of Linares (Southern Spain), where former industrial sites are now dedicated to other land uses. Within this context, we selected [...] Read more.
Mineral processing and metallurgy production centers may leave a far-reaching fingerprint of soil contamination. This scenario is particularly relevant in the mining district of Linares (Southern Spain), where former industrial sites are now dedicated to other land uses. Within this context, we selected five sectors of concern in Linares region, which are currently used as agricultural and residential areas. The study began with an edaphic characterization, including grain-size fractioning and soil chemical analyses, which were complemented by mineralogical and sequential extraction information. Anomalous soil concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn were found, with higher values than the admissible regional guideline limits. Moreover, chemical speciation indicated that in general, Pb, Zn, and Cd were highly available and bound mainly to the carbonate fraction. In addition, health risk assessment evidenced potential threats by Pb and As. Regarding remediation approaches, we observed that, in soils affected by mining and ore dressing activities, the clay and silt size fractions contained the highest pollution load, making them suitable for a size classification treatment. By contrast, in areas affected by metallurgical activity, pollutants were prone to be evenly distributed among all grain sizes, thereby complicating the implementation of such remediation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Pollution Assessment and Sustainable Remediation Strategies)
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Article
Structural Selectivity of PAH Removal Processes in Soil, and the Effect of Metal Co-Contaminants
Environments 2022, 9(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020023 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form a convenient structural series of molecules with which to examine the selectivity exerted on their removal by soil microbiota. It is known that there is an inverse relationship between PAH molecular size and degradation rates in soil. In [...] Read more.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form a convenient structural series of molecules with which to examine the selectivity exerted on their removal by soil microbiota. It is known that there is an inverse relationship between PAH molecular size and degradation rates in soil. In this paper, we look at how the magnitude of the slope for this relationship, m, can be used as an indicator of the effect of metal co-contaminants on degradation rates across a range of PAH molecular weights. The analysis utilises data collected from our previous microcosm study (Deary, M.E.; Ekumankama, C.C.; Cummings, S.P. Development of a novel kinetic model for the analysis of PAH biodegradation in the presence of lead and cadmium co-contaminants. Journal of Hazard Materials 2016, 307, 240–252) in which we followed the degradation of the 16 US EPA PAHs over 40 weeks in soil microcosms taken from a high organic matter content woodland soil. The soil was amended with a PAH mixture (total concentration of 2166 mg kg−1) and with a range of metal co-contaminant concentrations (lead, up to 782 mg kg−1; cadmium up to 620 mg kg−1; and mercury up to 1150 mg kg−1). It was found that the magnitude of m increases in relation to the applied concentration of metal co-contaminant, indicating a more adverse effect on microbial communities that participate in the removal of higher molecular weight PAHs. We conclude that m is a useful parameter by which we might measure the differential effects of environmental contaminants on the PAH removal. Such information will be useful in planning and implementing remediation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Pollution Assessment and Sustainable Remediation Strategies)
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Article
Assessment of Fish Abundance, Biodiversity and Movement Periodicity Changes in a Large River over a 20-Year Period
Environments 2022, 9(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020022 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 847
Abstract
A river is an ecosystem where fish fauna represents an important structural element. To re-establish connectivity, it is imperative to allow movement between functional habitats. Due to the hydromorphological complexity of large anthropized rivers and the lack of study techniques that can be [...] Read more.
A river is an ecosystem where fish fauna represents an important structural element. To re-establish connectivity, it is imperative to allow movement between functional habitats. Due to the hydromorphological complexity of large anthropized rivers and the lack of study techniques that can be used in such environments, relevant data with regard to fish ecology are scarce. On the River Meuse, Belgium, at a point 323 km upstream from the North Sea, the Lixhe hydroelectric dam is equipped with two fishways. Both were continuously monitored using capture traps for 20 consecutive years (from 1999 to 2018), representing 4151 monitoring events. The objectives of the present study were to describe the overall abundance and movement indicators of mainly holobiotic potamodromous fish species and to analyse their temporal evolution. We captured 388,631 individuals (n = 35 fish species) during the 20 years of fishway monitoring; 22.7% were adults (>75% of which were cyprinids), and 83.3% juveniles (>90% cyprinids). From 1999 to 2018, the results showed a drastic reduction in yearly captures for some native species as well as the apparent emergence of non-native (e.g., Silurus glanis) and reintroduced species (e.g., Salmo salar). The annual capture periodicities associated with environmental factors were clearly defined and were mostly related to the spring spawning migration of the adult stage. This long-term monitoring demonstrated how the fishways are used by the whole fish community and allowed a better understanding of their movement ecology in a large lowland anthropized river. The appearance of non-native species and the drastic decline in abundance of some common and widespread European fish should prompt river managers to adopt conservation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Environments in 2021
Environments 2022, 9(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020021 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 705
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Article
Dissolution of Silver Nanoparticles in Stratified Estuarine Mesocosms and Silver Accumulation in a Simple Planktonic Freshwater Trophic Chain
Environments 2022, 9(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020020 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 966
Abstract
The increasing presence of nanomaterials in consumer products has led the scientific community to study the environmental fate of these contaminants of emerging concern. Silver nanoparticles, used mainly for their antibacterial properties, are among the most common nanomaterials. Understanding their transformations and interactions [...] Read more.
The increasing presence of nanomaterials in consumer products has led the scientific community to study the environmental fate of these contaminants of emerging concern. Silver nanoparticles, used mainly for their antibacterial properties, are among the most common nanomaterials. Understanding their transformations and interactions with living organisms, especially under environmentally relevant conditions that can modify metal bioavailability, is a crucial step in the study of their impacts on aquatic ecosystems. In the present study, citrate-coated silver nanoparticles (20 nm; 10 µg/L) were added to the surface freshwater layer of mesocosms simulating a stratified estuary. The investigation by dialysis of the nanoparticle dissolution showed that a large amount of total silver was found in the freshwater layer (and a very low amount in the seawater layer) and that 5–15% was in the form of dissolved silver. These results indicate that the halocline, separating fresh water from seawater, acted as a strong density barrier limiting the sedimentation of the nanoparticles. A simple trophic chain, composed of the freshwater alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the invertebrate Daphnia magna, was used to determine silver bioavailability. This study suggests that citrate-coated silver nanoparticles do not significantly contribute to Ag accumulation by algae but may do so for invertebrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Characterization of the Dynamics of Leachate Contamination Plumes in the Surroundings of the Hulene-B Waste Dump in Maputo, Mozambique
Environments 2022, 9(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020019 - 26 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
The contamination of areas around solid urban waste dumps is a global challenge for the maintenance of environmental quality in large urban centres in developing countries. This study applied a geophysical method (electrical resistivity) to identify leachate contamination plumes in the subsoil and [...] Read more.
The contamination of areas around solid urban waste dumps is a global challenge for the maintenance of environmental quality in large urban centres in developing countries. This study applied a geophysical method (electrical resistivity) to identify leachate contamination plumes in the subsoil and groundwater, as well as to describe their temporal dynamics (2020 and 2021) in the surroundings of the Hulene-B waste dump, Maputo, Mozambique. Eight 400 m electrical resistivity profiles were performed, four profiles in January 2020 and four profiles in May 2021 overlapped, and the data were inverted with RES2D software. The electrical resistivity models predominantly indicate an E-W movement of large contamination plumes that are successively diluted with saturated media and groundwater, creating zones of less resistive anomalies (<4.2–8.5 Ω·m) possibly contaminated at the two analysed seasons, between 2020–2021. The thickness of the contamination plumes was higher in summer (2020) for profiles 1 and 2, and we associate it with the production and migration mechanisms of leachate that are intense in the hot and rainy season. Southwest of the dump, profile 4b showed the propagation of anomalous areas on the surface and at depth, which are associated with the production of leachate resulting from the continuous decomposition of waste that is continuously deposited in a new area southwest of the dump, thus generating a slow and continuous migration of leachate at depth, mainly in winter (2021). The spatial distribution of contamination plumes during both seasons was reduced significantly farther away from the waste deposit, revealing the attenuating effect of groundwater and lithological substrate (Profile 3). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Review
Soil Remediation: Towards a Resilient and Adaptive Approach to Deal with the Ever-Changing Environmental Challenges
Environments 2022, 9(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020018 - 25 Jan 2022
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Pollution from numerous contaminants due to many anthropogenic activities affects soils quality. Industrialized countries have many contaminated sites; their remediation is a priority in environmental legislation. The aim of this overview is to consider the evolution of soil remediation from consolidated invasive technologies [...] Read more.
Pollution from numerous contaminants due to many anthropogenic activities affects soils quality. Industrialized countries have many contaminated sites; their remediation is a priority in environmental legislation. The aim of this overview is to consider the evolution of soil remediation from consolidated invasive technologies to environmentally friendly green strategies. The selection of technology is no longer exclusively based on eliminating the source of pollution but aims at remediation, which includes the recovery of soil quality. “Green remediation” appears to be the key to addressing the issue of remediation of contaminated sites as it focuses on environmental quality, including the preservation of the environment. Further developments in green remediation reflect the aim of promoting clean-up strategies that also address the effects of climate change. Sustainable and resilient remediation faces the environmental challenge of achieving targets while reducing the environmental damage caused by clean-up interventions and must involve an awareness that social systems and environmental systems are closely connected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Preliminary Studies of Methylene Blue Remotion from Aqueous Solutions by Ocimum basilicum
Environments 2022, 9(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020017 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
The continuous expansion in the textile industry results in high loads of coloured wastewaters that heavily pollute the limited freshwater sources. Therefore, a wide array of treatment methods has been used to remediate water/wastewater from dyes. One common practice is the use of [...] Read more.
The continuous expansion in the textile industry results in high loads of coloured wastewaters that heavily pollute the limited freshwater sources. Therefore, a wide array of treatment methods has been used to remediate water/wastewater from dyes. One common practice is the use of plants to degrade, absorb, metabolise, and detoxify different types of pollutants, including dyes. This study employs sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) as a phytoremediation model herb to remove different concentrations (5–25 mg/L) of methylene blue (MB) dye from synthetic water, taking into account the effects of the MB dye concentration (5–25 mg/L) and contact time (up to 10 days). The results showed that the ability of Ocimum basilicum to absorb MB dye decreased with the increase of the MB dye concentration and increased with the increase of the contact time. The best removal of the MB dye was 93% when the concentration of the MB dye was 25 mg/L and the contact time was 10 days. Additionally, it was noticed that the relative growth rate (RGR) of the herbs was adversely influenced by increasing MB dye concentrations and that the best RGR value was 2.2 g/day when the MB dye concentration was 5 mg/L. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Waste Management and the Circular Economy in Cyprus—The Case of the SWAN Project
Environments 2022, 9(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020016 - 23 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
The increase in waste volume and greenhouse gas emissions and decrease in raw-material reserves are some of the serious problems that our planet is facing. The measures needed to address these issues cannot be implemented under the prevailing linear economy model; hence, the [...] Read more.
The increase in waste volume and greenhouse gas emissions and decrease in raw-material reserves are some of the serious problems that our planet is facing. The measures needed to address these issues cannot be implemented under the prevailing linear economy model; hence, the circular economy model has been introduced. The successful implementation of circularity, whose basic principles include waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, requires a change in the behaviour of all the parties involved and is expected to lead to industrial–urban symbiosis schemes. The present paper looks at the current state and future prospects of the circular economy in Cyprus, based on the evidence drawn from an EU-funded project entitled “a digital Solid Waste reuse plAtform for BalkaN” (Project Acronym: SWAN). The project’s main objective was the design and development of a digital solid waste reuse platform involving four countries: Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. Using the data collected, in the context of this project, from a sample of Cypriot industries, we looked into the familiarisation of the respondents with the basic concepts of circularity and their willingness to participate in symbiotic value chains. Moreover, we examined the composition of the waste streams produced by those industries and proposed potential waste reuse business models and subsequent symbiotic clusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Review
Environmental and Economic Impacts of Mismanaged Plastics and Measures for Mitigation
Environments 2022, 9(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020015 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
The mismanagement of plastic materials has grown to become a mounting global pollution concern that is closely implicated in unsustainable production and consumption paradigms. The ecological, social, and economic impacts of plastic waste mismanagement are currently transboundary in nature and have necessitated numerous [...] Read more.
The mismanagement of plastic materials has grown to become a mounting global pollution concern that is closely implicated in unsustainable production and consumption paradigms. The ecological, social, and economic impacts of plastic waste mismanagement are currently transboundary in nature and have necessitated numerous methods of government intervention in order to address and mitigate the globalized and multifaceted dilemmas posed by high rates and volumes of plastic waste generation. This review examines the current landscape of a plastics economy which has operated with a linear momentum, employing large quantities of primary resources and disincentivizing the functioning of a robust recycling market for collecting plastic waste and reintegrating it into the consumer market. This contextualizes an increasing plastic pollution crisis that has required global efforts to address and mitigate the ecological risks and socio-economic challenges of mismanaged plastic waste. A timeline of government interventions regarding plastic pollution is described, including numerous international, regional, and local actions to combat plastic waste, and this is followed by an examination of the relevance of the extended producer responsibility principle to improve plastic waste management and obligate industry to assume responsibility in waste collection and recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions)
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Article
Application of Calcified Structures in Fish as Indicators of Metal Exposure in Freshwater Ecosystems
Environments 2022, 9(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020014 - 21 Jan 2022
Viewed by 930
Abstract
Although there are common and well-established bioindicator organisms and tissues, there is still a need for reliable and sensitive bioindicators in aquatic environments. In the present pilot study, calcified structures in fish were applied as indicators of metal exposure in combination with commonly [...] Read more.
Although there are common and well-established bioindicator organisms and tissues, there is still a need for reliable and sensitive bioindicators in aquatic environments. In the present pilot study, calcified structures in fish were applied as indicators of metal exposure in combination with commonly used fish soft tissues and intestinal parasites, therefore comprising short- and long-term indicators. Patterns of metal accumulation and distribution in soft (muscle, liver) and hard (scales, otoliths) tissues of brown trout (Salmo trutta Linnaeus, 1758) and their intestinal parasites, acanthocephalans (Dentitruncus truttae Sinzar, 1955), from the Krka River influenced by industrial and municipal wastewaters were estimated and compared. Most elements had higher levels in acanthocephalans, scales and liver than muscle and otoliths, possibly reflecting differences in metal uptake routes, tissue function and metabolic activity. Despite the recorded differences in metal contents, all applied bioindicators reflected environmental conditions in a similar way, indicating higher levels of most elements in fish from the contaminated rather than from the reference site. Acanthocephalans were confirmed as sensitive bioindicators due to effective metal accumulation capacity, while the combination of soft and hard tissues provided extended temporal information on metal exposure. Wastewater impact was evidenced as moderate metal pollution by all applied indicators and pointed to present but also long-term disturbances in the Krka River and the importance of continuous monitoring and protective actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Effect of Tillage Technology Systems for Seed Germination Rate in a Laboratory Tests
Environments 2022, 9(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020013 - 19 Jan 2022
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Reduced and soil-protective tillage technologies may represent certain negatives for cultivated crops associated with the biomass of mulch from intermediate crops and post-harvest residues. Sown crops, as well as field weeds, are exposed to impaired soil conditions. Soil conditions were assessed using biological [...] Read more.
Reduced and soil-protective tillage technologies may represent certain negatives for cultivated crops associated with the biomass of mulch from intermediate crops and post-harvest residues. Sown crops, as well as field weeds, are exposed to impaired soil conditions. Soil conditions were assessed using biological tests. Eight plant species were chosen for the tests. Germination of tested plant species took place in controlled conditions in climaboxes. Seeds on Petri dishes were watered with soil leachates from three variants of tillage (Conventional, Minimum tillage, Direct sowing). Soil samples were collected from a 15-year field experiment. The soil leachates inhibited the germination rate of the chosen plant species. In the first term, all species exhibited a lower germination capacity in variants watered with the soil leachate. The reduced tillage technologies can apparently significantly slow down the germination rate in field crops and vegetables. Simple biological tests have the potential to assess the condition of arable soils. Full article
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Article
Approaching Quietness as an Urban Sustainability Opportunity
Environments 2022, 9(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9020012 - 18 Jan 2022
Viewed by 958
Abstract
Quietness in an urban environment is vital for the well-being of city residents. Nevertheless, the ambiguity in the conceptualization of the terms noise and quietness as urban acoustic planning and design objectives, has resulted in two different approaches: the soundscape approach and the [...] Read more.
Quietness in an urban environment is vital for the well-being of city residents. Nevertheless, the ambiguity in the conceptualization of the terms noise and quietness as urban acoustic planning and design objectives, has resulted in two different approaches: the soundscape approach and the noise control approach. The main purpose of this research is to supplement the existing approaches by proposing a new ecological acoustics approach in order to identify quiet areas in the city of Mytilene (Lesbos Island, North Aegean, Greece). The use of the soundscape approach involved the participation of Mytilene’s residents and the collection of subjective and objective eligibility criteria. By means of Multi-Criteria Decision Making two urban green areas were highlighted as potential quiet areas. For the noise control approach, road noise maps have been created through a commercial noise mapping software, validated by trough measurements. As a result, two areas located in the outskirts of the city were highlighted. Finally, the novel ecological acoustics approach involved acoustic recordings and the extraction of the Composite Urban Quietness Index (CUQI). The outcome of this approach converged with the soundscape approach results. Quietness, as an urban acoustic planning and design goal, could be viewed as an opportunity for ecologically sustainable urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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