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Effects of Climate Change and Anthropogenic Disturbances on Water Ecological Environment and the Coping Strategies

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (6 April 2023) | Viewed by 20172

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Special Issue Editors

Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resources Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education, College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Interests: biogeochemical cycling; microbial ecology; river damming; watershed management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources & Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210098, China
2. Yangtze Institute for Conservation and Green Development, Nanjing 210098, China
3. Center for Eco-Environment Research, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210098, China
Interests: ecotoxicology; emerging micropollutants; eutrophication and harmful algal bloom; water environmental health
Department of Environmental Engineering, School of Resources and Civil Engineering, Northeastern University, Shenyang 110819, China
Interests: wastes anaerobic fermentation; bioenergy recovery, biological processes; wastes conversion and biological treatment; wastewater treatment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recognition of global climate change as an environmental issue has drawn attention to the climatic impact of human activities. Paleoclimate records from tree rings, coral, and ice cores indicate a clear warming trend spanning the entire 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century. In fact, the 20th century was the warmest of the past 10 centuries, and the decade 2011–2020 was the warmest decade since the beginning of modern record. Scientists and environmentalists have pointed out that human-induced climate change results from the disturbance in all aspects of the environment.

Among them, aquatic environments (including water, sediments, aquatic organisms, et al.) are closely related to all kinds of human production and living activities. However, they are under increasing stress due to climate change and human disturbances, such as increased input of pollutants, loss in biodiversity, decrease in ecological functions. Fortunately, realizing the urgency and importance of the matter, researchers have started to work on the coping strategies, including effective water treatment and energy recovery.

This Special Issue focuses on revealing the effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbances on the water ecological environment in physical, chemical and biological aspects. Papers, reviews, and case reports are welcome to this issue. Papers dealing with technical and managerial approaches to addressing the above impacts are also welcome.

Dr. Xun Wang
Dr. Zhiyuan Wang
Dr. Xin Zhao
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • aquatic environment
  • aquatic ecological system
  • chemicals
  • organisms
  • microbiome
  • water treatment
  • energy recovery
  • PPCPs
  • biological process

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 3009 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomics Analysis of the Toxicological Impact of Enrofloxacin in an Aquatic Environment on the Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
by Qiaona Wang, Ziling Xu, Ying Wang, Guangming Huo, Xing Zhang, Jianmei Li, Chun Hua, Shengjie Li and Feng Zhou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031836 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Enrofloxacin is an important antimicrobial drug that is widely used in aquaculture. Enrofloxacin residues can have negative effects on aquatic environments and animals. The toxicological effects of different concentrations of enrofloxacin residues in cultured water on Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) [...] Read more.
Enrofloxacin is an important antimicrobial drug that is widely used in aquaculture. Enrofloxacin residues can have negative effects on aquatic environments and animals. The toxicological effects of different concentrations of enrofloxacin residues in cultured water on Chinese mitten crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) were compared. A histological analysis of the E. sinensis hepatopancreas demonstrated that the hepatopancreas was damaged by the different enrofloxacin residue concentrations. The hepatopancreas transcriptome results revealed that 1245 genes were upregulated and that 1298 genes were downregulated in the low-concentration enrofloxacin residue group. In the high-concentration enrofloxacin residue group, 380 genes were upregulated, and 529 genes were downregulated. The enrofloxacin residues led to differentially expressed genes related to the immune system and metabolic processes in the hepatopancreas of the Chinese mitten crab, such as the genes for alkaline phosphatase, NF-kappa B inhibitor alpha, alpha-amylase, and beta-galactosidase-like. The gene ontology terms “biological process” and “molecular function” were enriched in the carboxylic acid metabolic process, DNA replication, the synthesis of RNA primers, the transmembrane transporter activity, the hydrolase activity, and the oxidoreductase activity. A Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis determined that the immune and metabolic signal transduction pathways were significantly enriched. Furthermore, the nonspecific immune enzyme (alkaline phosphatase) and the metabolic enzyme system played a role in the enrofloxacin metabolism in the E. sinensis hepatopancreas. These findings helped us to further understand the basis of the toxicological effects of enrofloxacin residues on river crabs and provided valuable information for the better utilization of enrofloxacin in aquatic water environments. Full article
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16 pages, 2348 KiB  
Article
Water Quality Evaluation and Pollution Source Apportionment of Surface Water in a Major City in Southeast China Using Multi-Statistical Analyses and Machine Learning Models
by Yu Zhou, Xinmin Wang, Weiying Li, Shuyun Zhou and Laizhu Jiang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010881 - 3 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
The comprehensive evaluation of water quality and identification of potential pollution sources has become a hot research topic. In this study, 14 water quality parameters at 4 water quality monitoring stations on the M River of a city in southeast China were measured [...] Read more.
The comprehensive evaluation of water quality and identification of potential pollution sources has become a hot research topic. In this study, 14 water quality parameters at 4 water quality monitoring stations on the M River of a city in southeast China were measured monthly for 10 years (2011–2020). Multiple statistical methods, the water quality index (WQI) model, machine learning (ML), and positive matrix factorisation (PMF) models were used to assess the overall condition of the river, select crucial water quality parameters, and identify potential pollution sources. The average WQI values of the four sites ranged from 68.31 to 77.16, with a clear trend of deterioration from upstream to downstream. A random forest-based WQI model (WQIRF model) was developed, and the results showed that Mn, Fe, faecal coliform, dissolved oxygen, and total nitrogen were selected as the top five important water quality parameters. Based on the results of the WQIRF and PMF models, the contributions of potential pollution sources to the variation in the WQI values were quantitatively assessed and ranked. These findings prove the effectiveness of ML in evaluating water quality, and improve our understanding of surface water quality, thus providing support for the formulation of water quality management strategies. Full article
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10 pages, 5140 KiB  
Article
The Preparation of N-Doped Titanium Dioxide Films and Their Degradation of Organic Pollutants
by Yanyan Dou, Yixuan Chang, Xuejun Duan, Leilei Fan, Bo Yang and Jingjing Lv
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 15721; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315721 - 25 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
N-doped TiO2 films supported by glass slides showed superior photocatalytic efficiency compared with naked TiO2 powder due to them being easier to separate and especially being responsive to visible light. The films in this study were prepared via the sol–gel method [...] Read more.
N-doped TiO2 films supported by glass slides showed superior photocatalytic efficiency compared with naked TiO2 powder due to them being easier to separate and especially being responsive to visible light. The films in this study were prepared via the sol–gel method using TBOT hydrolyzed in an ethanol solution and the nitrogen was provided by cabamide. The N-doped TiO2 coatings were prepared via a dip-coating method on glass substrates (30 × 30 × 2 mm) and then annealed in air at 490 °C for 3 h. The samples were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and UV-vis. The doping rate of N ranged from 0.1 to 0.9 (molar ratio), which caused redshifts to a longer wavelength as seen in the UV-vis analysis. The photocatalytic activity was investigated in terms of the degradation of phenol under both UV light and visible light over 4 h. Under UV light, the degradation rate of phenol ranged from 86% to 94% for all the samples because of the sufficient photon energy from the UV light. Meanwhile, under visible light, a peak appeared at the N-doping rate of 0.5, which had a degrading efficiency that reached 79.2%, and the lowest degradation rate was 32.9%. The SEM, XRD and UV-vis experimental results were consistent with each other. Full article
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13 pages, 3059 KiB  
Article
Heavy Metal Pollution in Xinfengjiang River Sediment and the Response of Fish Species Abundance to Heavy Metal Concentrations
by Guoxiu Shang, Xiaogang Wang, Long Zhu, Shan Liu, Hongze Li, Zhe Wang, Biao Wang and Zhengxian Zhang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 11087; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191711087 - 4 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1785
Abstract
Xinfengjiang River, the largest tributary of Dongjiang River, plays a key role in the water supply of Heyuan, Huizhou, Guangzhou and even the Pearl River urban agglomeration. It is crucial to determine the pollution status, potential ecological risk degree of heavy metals in [...] Read more.
Xinfengjiang River, the largest tributary of Dongjiang River, plays a key role in the water supply of Heyuan, Huizhou, Guangzhou and even the Pearl River urban agglomeration. It is crucial to determine the pollution status, potential ecological risk degree of heavy metals in Xinfengjiang river sediment and their influence on the abundance of fish species. In this paper, seven heavy metal concentrations in sediment from the Heyuan section of the Xinfengjiang river were investigated. The order of average concentration was: As > Zn > Pb > Cr > Cu > Cd > Hg. The average concentrations of Cd, Zn and Cu in the upper reaches of the Xinfengjiang Reservoir were significantly higher than those in the reservoir. The mean value order of Igeo was: Cd > Zn > Pb > As > Cu > Cr > Hg. Cd and As had the highest ecological risk index and the greatest threat to the ecological environment. Pearson correlation analysis and principal component analysis demonstrated that the pollution source of heavy metals such as Cu and Cd are much more likely to originate from the mine fields located in the northeast of the sampling sites. In addition, agriculture, electronic industry and domestic sewage also contributed to the concentration of heavy metals in different degrees. Redundancy analysis showed that the abundance of Cypriniformes was negatively correlated with Cu and Cd concentrations, suggesting that mining activities might indirectly affect the abundance of fish species. Full article
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16 pages, 4157 KiB  
Article
Preparation of High-Porosity B-TiO2/C3N4 Composite Materials: Adsorption–Degradation Capacity and Photo-Regeneration Properties
by Xiang Guo, Lei Rao and Zhenyu Shi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148683 - 17 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1955
Abstract
Adsorption can quickly remove pollutants in water, while photocatalysis can effectively decompose organic matter. B-TiO2/g-C3N4 ternary composite photocatalytic materials were prepared by molten method, and their adsorption–degradation capability under visible light conditions was discussed. The morphology of the [...] Read more.
Adsorption can quickly remove pollutants in water, while photocatalysis can effectively decompose organic matter. B-TiO2/g-C3N4 ternary composite photocatalytic materials were prepared by molten method, and their adsorption–degradation capability under visible light conditions was discussed. The morphology of the B-TiO2/g-C3N4 materials was inspected by SEM, TEM, BET, and EDS, and the results showed that close interfacial connections between TiO2 and g-C3N4, which are favorable for charge transfer between these two semiconductors, formed heterojunctions with suitable band structure which was contributed by the molten B2O3. Meanwhile, the molten B2O3 effectively increased the specific surface area of TiO2/C3N4 materials, thereby increasing the active sites and reducing the recombination of photogenerated electron–hole pairs and improving the photocatalytic degradation abilities of TiO2 and g-C3N4. Elsewhere, the crystal structure analysis (XRD, XPS, FTIR) results indicated that the polar -B=O bond formed a new structure with TiO2 and g-C3N4, which is not only beneficial for inhibiting the recombination of electron holes but also improving the photocatalytic activity. By removal experiment, the adsorption and degradation performances of B-TiO2/g-C3N4 composite material were found to be 8.5 times and 3.4 times higher than that of g-C3N4. Above all, this study prepared a material for removing water pollutants with high efficiency and provides theoretical support and experimental basis for the research on the synergistic removal of pollutants by adsorption and photocatalysis. Full article
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22 pages, 4522 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Algal Responses and Adaptation Capability to Ultraviolet Radiation with Different Nutrient Regimes
by Lingxiao Ren, Jing Huang, Keqiang Ding, Yi Wang, Yangyang Yang, Lijuan Zhang and Haoyu Wu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095485 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1587
Abstract
Frequent outbreaks of harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent one of the most serious outcomes of eutrophication, and light radiation plays a critical role in the succession of species. Therefore, a better understanding of the impact of light radiation is essential for mitigating HABs. [...] Read more.
Frequent outbreaks of harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent one of the most serious outcomes of eutrophication, and light radiation plays a critical role in the succession of species. Therefore, a better understanding of the impact of light radiation is essential for mitigating HABs. In this study, Chlorella pyrenoidosa and non-toxic and toxic Microcystis aeruginosa were mono-cultured and co-cultured to explore algal responses under different nutrient regimes. Comparisons were made according to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), UV-B radiation exerted oxidative stresses, and negative effects on the photosynthesis and growth of three species under normal growth conditions, and algal adaptive responses included extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) production, the regulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, photosynthetic pigments synthesis, etc. Three species had strain-specific responses to UV-B radiation and toxic M. aeruginosa was more tolerant and showed a higher adaptation capability to UV-B in the mono-cultures, including the lower sensitivity and better self-repair efficiency. In addition to stable μmax in PAR ad UV-B treatments, higher EPS production and enhanced production of photosynthetic pigments under UV-B radiation, toxic M. aeruginosa showed a better recovery of its photosynthetic efficiency. Nutrient enrichment alleviated the negative effects of UV-B radiation on three species, and the growth of toxic M. aeruginosa was comparable between PAR and UV-B treatment. In the co-cultures with nutrient enrichment, M. aeruginosa gradually outcompeted C. pyrenoidosa in the PAR treatment and UV-B treatment enhanced the growth advantages of M. aeruginosa, when toxic M. aeruginosa showed a greater competitiveness. Overall, our study indicated the adaptation of typical algal species to ambient UV-B radiation and the stronger competitive ability of toxic M. aeruginosa in the UV-radiated waters with severer eutrophication. Full article
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16 pages, 10753 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Distribution Analysis of Atmospheric Pollutants in Chengdu–Chongqing Twin-City Economic Circle
by Ning Qi, Xuemei Tan, Tengfei Wu, Qing Tang, Fengshou Ning, Debin Jiang, Tengtun Xu, Hong Wu, Lingxiao Ren and Wei Deng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074333 - 4 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2125
Abstract
In order to study the temporal and spatial distribution characteristics of atmospheric pollutants in cities (districts and counties) in the Chengdu–Chongqing Twin-city Economic Circle (CCEC) and to provide a theoretical basis for atmospheric pollution prevention and control, this paper combined Ambient Air Quality [...] Read more.
In order to study the temporal and spatial distribution characteristics of atmospheric pollutants in cities (districts and counties) in the Chengdu–Chongqing Twin-city Economic Circle (CCEC) and to provide a theoretical basis for atmospheric pollution prevention and control, this paper combined Ambient Air Quality Standards (AAQS) and WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines (GAQG) to evaluate atmospheric pollution and used spatial correlation to determine key pollution areas. The results showed that the distribution of atmospheric pollutants in CCEC presents a certain law, which was consistent with the air pollution transmission channels. Except for particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and ozone (O3), other pollutants reached Grade II of AAQS in 2020, among which particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 10 μm (PM10), PM2.5, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) have improved. Compared with the air quality guidelines given in the GAQG, PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and O3 have certain effects on human health. The spatial aggregation of PM10 and PM2.5 decreased year by year, while the spatial aggregation of O3 increased with the change in time, and the distribution of NO2 pollution had no obvious aggregation. Comprehensive analysis showed that the pollution problems of particulate matter, NO2 and O3 in CCEC need to be further controlled. Full article
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21 pages, 2981 KiB  
Article
An Assessment of Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Regional Water Resources Security in the DPSIR Framework in Jiangxi Province, China
by Mengtian Lu, Siyu Wang, Xiaoying Wang, Weihong Liao, Chao Wang, Xiaohui Lei and Hao Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063650 - 19 Mar 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2330
Abstract
Water resources are critical for the survival and prosperity of both natural and socioeconomic systems. A good and informational water resources evaluation system is substantial in monitoring and maintaining sustainable use of water. The Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework is a widely used general framework [...] Read more.
Water resources are critical for the survival and prosperity of both natural and socioeconomic systems. A good and informational water resources evaluation system is substantial in monitoring and maintaining sustainable use of water. The Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework is a widely used general framework that enabled the measurement of water resources security in five different environmental and socioeconomic subsystems: driver, pressure, state, impact, and response. Methodologically, outcomes of water resources evaluation based on such framework and using fuzzy set pair analysis method and confidence interval rating method depend critically on a confidence threshold parameter which was often subjectively chosen in previous studies. In this work, we demonstrated that the subjectivity in the choice of this critical parameter can lead to contradicting conclusions about water resources security, and we addressed this caveat of subjectivity by proposing a simple modification in which we sample a range of thresholds and pool them to make more objective evaluations. We applied our modified method and used DPSIR framework to evaluate the regional water resource security in Jiangxi Province, China. The spatial-temporal analysis of water resources security level was carried out in the study area, despite the improvement in Pressure, Impact, and Response factors, the Driver factor is found to become less safe over the years. Significant variation of water security across cities are found notably in Pressure and Response factors. Furthermore, we assessed both cross-sectionally and longitudinally the inter-correlations among the DPSIR nodes in the DPSIR framework. The region-specific associations among the DPSIR nodes showed important deviances from the general DPSIR framework, and our analysis showed that in our study region, although Responses of regional government work effectively in improving Pressure and State security, more attention should be paid to improving Driver security in future regional water resources planning and management in Jiangxi Province, China. Full article
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13 pages, 3680 KiB  
Article
Phytoplankton Composition and Their Related Factors in Five Different Lakes in China: Implications for Lake Management
by Junmei Jia, Qiuwen Chen, Haidong Ren, Renjie Lu, Hui He and Peiwen Gu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 3135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19053135 - 7 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2475
Abstract
In this paper, two trophic lakes: Lake Taihu and Lake Yanghe, and three alpine lakes: Lake Qinghai, Lake Keluke, and Lake Tuosu, were investigated to discover the connections between environmental factors and the phytoplankton community in lakes with differences in trophic levels and [...] Read more.
In this paper, two trophic lakes: Lake Taihu and Lake Yanghe, and three alpine lakes: Lake Qinghai, Lake Keluke, and Lake Tuosu, were investigated to discover the connections between environmental factors and the phytoplankton community in lakes with differences in trophic levels and climatic conditions. Three seasonal data, including water quality and phytoplankton, were collected from the five lakes. The results demonstrated clear differences in water parameters and phytoplankton compositions in different lakes. The phytoplankton was dominated by Bacillariophyta, followed by Cyanobacteria and Chlorophyta in Lake Qinghai, Lake Keluke, and Lake Tuosu. It was dominated by Cyanobacteria (followed by Chlorophyta and Bacillariophyta in Lake Yanghe) and Cyanobacteria (followed by Chlorophyta and Cryptophyta in Lake Taihu). The temperature was an essential factor favoring the growth of Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, and Bacillariophyta, especially Cyanobacteria and Chlorophyta. The pH had significantly negative relationships with Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, and Bacillariophyta. Particularly, a high pH might be a strong and negative factor for phytoplankton growth in alpine lakes. A high salinity was also an adverse factor for phytoplankton. Those results could provide fundamental information about the phytoplankton community and their correlated factors in the alpine lakes of the Tibetan Plateau, contributing to the protection and management of alpine lakes. Full article
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19 pages, 3486 KiB  
Article
Benthic Biofilm Bacterial Communities and Their Linkage with Water-Soluble Organic Matter in Effluent Receivers
by Longfei Wang, Yutao Wang, Yi Li, Wenlong Zhang, Huanjun Zhang, Lihua Niu and Nuzahat Habibul
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 1994; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19041994 - 10 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1708
Abstract
Benthic biofilms are pioneering microbial aggregates responding to effluent discharge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, knowledge of the characteristics and linkage of bacterial communities and water-soluble organic matter (WSOM) of benthic biofilms in effluent-receiving rivers remains unknown. Here, we investigated the quality [...] Read more.
Benthic biofilms are pioneering microbial aggregates responding to effluent discharge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, knowledge of the characteristics and linkage of bacterial communities and water-soluble organic matter (WSOM) of benthic biofilms in effluent-receiving rivers remains unknown. Here, we investigated the quality of WSOM and the evolution of bacterial communities in benthic biofilm to evaluate the ecological impacts of effluent discharge on a representative receiving water. Tryptophan-like proteins showed an increased proportion in biofilms collected from the discharge area and downstream from the WWTP, especially in summer. Biofilm WSOM showed weak humic character and strong autochthonous components, and species turnover was proven to be the main factor governing biofilm bacteria community diversity patterns. The bacterial community alpha diversity, interspecies interaction, biological index, and humification index were signally altered in the biofilms from the discharge area, while the values were more similar in biofilms collected upstream and downstream from the WWTP, indicating that both biofilm bacterial communities and WSOM characters have resilience capacities. Although effluent discharge simplified the network pattern of the biofilm bacterial community, its metabolic functional abundance was basically stable. The functional abundance of carbohydrate metabolism and amino acid metabolism in the discharge area increased, and the key modules in the non-random co-occurrence network also verified the important ecological role of carbon metabolism in the effluent-receiving river. The study sheds light on how benthic biofilms respond to effluent discharge from both ecological and material points of view, providing new insights on the feasibility of utilizing benthic biofilms as robust indicators reflecting river ecological health. Full article
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