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2nd Edition: Water Quality and Ecosystem Monitoring, Analysis, and Management

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 March 2023) | Viewed by 16640

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Health Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Republic of Korea
Interests: nutrient dynamics; harmful algae; biological water quality assessment; ecosystem health; lake and river management; periphyton; plankton food web; cyanobacterial akinete
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Ecology and Ecological Informatics, Department of Biology, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
Interests: ecological modeling; community ecology; ecosystem monitoring and assessment; invasion biology; aquatic ecosystem management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Ocean Integrated Science, Chonnam National University, Yeosu 59626, Korea
Interests: biological stress response; molecular biomarker; food chain flow; benthos; chironomids; ecotoxicology; benthos risk assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water, a critical resource for human survival and ecosystem sustainability, involves a variety of interacting factors that determine its condition. Intensifying land use, increasing water demand, eutrophication, pollution, and climate change have worsened water quality in recent years. Therefore, it is important to understand water quality problems in the framework of both watershed and ecosystem integrity.

This Special Issue follows on from the first edition, focusing again on the current state of knowledge on water quality and ecosystem monitoring, analysis, and management with respect to related challenges in this area, such as land use, eutrophication, chemical and heavy metal pollution, harmful organisms and their metabolites, ecosystem health, and climate change. We welcome the submission of research papers, systematic reviews, and technical and methodological papers. We will also consider relevant manuscripts from different disciplines, including toxicology, epidemiology, environmental risk and health impact assessment, and policy and intervention science.

Prof. Dr. Soon-Jin Hwang
Prof. Dr. Young-Seuk Park
Prof. Dr. Ihn-Sil Kwak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water quality, biomonitoring, and ecosystem health
  • management and restoration
  • modeling and meta-analysis
  • land use
  • eutrophication
  • climate change and meteoro-hydrological impacts contaminants at the source of ambient and drinking water
  • harmful microscopic organisms and their metabolites
  • water policy, governance, and intervention

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 5615 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Dissolved Organic Matter from Agricultural and Livestock Effluents: Implications for Water Quality Monitoring
by Guizhi Qi, Borui Zhang, Biao Tian, Rui Yang, Andy Baker, Pan Wu and Shouyang He
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(6), 5121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20065121 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
There is growing concern about the impact of agricultural practices on water quality. The loss of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous through agricultural runoff poses a potential risk of water quality degradation. However, it is unclear how dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition [...] Read more.
There is growing concern about the impact of agricultural practices on water quality. The loss of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous through agricultural runoff poses a potential risk of water quality degradation. However, it is unclear how dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition is associated with pollution levels in water bodies. To address this, we conducted a cross-year investigation to reveal the nature of DOM and its relationship to water quality in agricultural effluents (AEs) and livestock effluents (LEs). We discovered that DOM fluorescence components of AEs were mainly from autochthonous and terrestrial sources, while in LEs it was primarily from autochthonous sources. LEs showed a higher β:α and biological index (BIX) than AEs, indicating that LEs had higher biological activity. Compared to the LEs, DOM in AEs exhibited a higher humification index (HIX), illustrating that DOM was more humic and aromatic. Overall, our results suggest that the BIX and fluorescence index (FI) were best suited for the characterization of water bodies impacted by LEs and AEs. Excitation–emission matrix spectroscopy and parallel factor (EEMs-PARAFAC) analysis showed that DOM in AEs was mainly a humic-like material (~64%) and in LEs was mainly protein-like (~68%). Tryptophan-like compounds (C1) were made more abundant in AEs because of the breakdown of aquatic vegetation. The microbial activity enhanced protein-like substances (C1 and C2) in LEs. Our study revealed a positive correlation between five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) concentrations and tyrosine-like substance components, suggesting that fluorescence peak B may be a good predictor of water quality affected by anthropogenic activities. For both LEs and AEs, our results suggest that peak D may be a reliable water quality surrogate for total phosphorus (TP). Full article
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15 pages, 1951 KiB  
Article
Reducing the Risk of Benthic Algae Outbreaks by Regulating the Flow Velocity in a Simulated South–North Water Diversion Open Channel
by Longfei Sun, Leixiang Wu, Xiaobo Liu, Wei Huang, Dayu Zhu, Zhuowei Wang, Ronghao Guan and Xingchen Liu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3564; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043564 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1673
Abstract
The reduction in open-channel flow velocity due to China’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project (SNP) increases the risk of benthic algal community blooms resulting in drinking water safety issues. Consequently, it has attracted attention from all walks of life. However, regulatory measures to mitigate [...] Read more.
The reduction in open-channel flow velocity due to China’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project (SNP) increases the risk of benthic algal community blooms resulting in drinking water safety issues. Consequently, it has attracted attention from all walks of life. However, regulatory measures to mitigate the risk of algal blooms and the main risk-causing factors are unclear. This study simulated the river ecosystem of the SNP channel through water diversion. Simulated gradient-increasing river flow velocity affects environmental factors and benthic algal alterations, and can be used to explore the feasibility of regulating the flow velocity to reduce the risk of algal blooms. We found that the algal biomasses in the velocity environments of 0.211 and 0.418 m/s decreased by 30.19% and 39.88%, respectively. Community structure alterations from diatoms to filamentous green algae were 75.56% and 87.53%, respectively. We observed significant differences in biodiversity, especially in terms of richness and evenness. The α diversity index of a species is influenced by physical and chemical environmental factors (especially flow velocity). Our study revealed that flow velocity is the main factor affecting the growth and outbreak of benthic algae. The risk of algal blooms in open channels can be effectively mitigated by regulating the flow velocity. This provides a theoretical basis for ensuring the water safety of large-scale water conservancy projects. Full article
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17 pages, 4262 KiB  
Article
Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Reservoirs of South Korea
by Da-Yeong Lee, Dae-Seong Lee and Young-Seuk Park
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010673 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2197
Abstract
Numerous community indices have been developed to quantify the various aspects of communities. However, indices including functional aspects have been less focused on. Here, we examined how community composition varies in response to the environment and discovered the relationship between taxonomic diversity and [...] Read more.
Numerous community indices have been developed to quantify the various aspects of communities. However, indices including functional aspects have been less focused on. Here, we examined how community composition varies in response to the environment and discovered the relationship between taxonomic diversity and functional diversity while considering the environment. Macroinvertebrate communities were collected from 20 reservoirs in South Korea. To characterize functional diversity, functional traits in four categories were considered: generation per year, adult lifespan, adult size, and functional feeding groups. Based on their community composition, we classified the reservoirs using hierarchical cluster analysis. Physicochemical and land use variables varied considerably between clusters. Non-metric multidimensional scaling indicated differences between reservoirs and clusters in terms of structure, functional diversity, and environmental variables. A self-organizing map was used to categorize functional traits, and network association analysis was used to unravel relationships between functional traits. Our results support the characteristics of species’ survival strategies such as r- and K-selection. Functional richness exhibited a relationship with taxonomic diversity. Our findings suggest that different types of diversity could play complementary roles in identifying biodiversity. Our findings should prove useful in developing new criteria for assessing freshwater ecosystem health, as well as in evaluating and predicting future alteration of benthic macroinvertebrate communities facing anthropogenic disturbances. Full article
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12 pages, 2065 KiB  
Article
Transcriptional Responses of Stress-Related Genes in Pale Chub (Zacco platypus) Inhabiting Different Aquatic Environments: Application for Biomonitoring Aquatic Ecosystems
by Won-Seok Kim, Kiyun Park, Jae-Won Park, Sun-Ho Lee, Ji-Hoon Kim, Yong-Jun Kim, Gun-Hee Oh, Bong-Soon Ko, Ji-Won Park, Cheol Hong, Tae-Sik Yu and Ihn-Sil Kwak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811471 - 12 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
Pale chub (Zacco platypus) is a dominant species in urban rivers and reservoirs, and it is used as an indicator to monitor the effects of environmental contaminants. Gene responses at the molecular level can reflect the health of fish challenged with [...] Read more.
Pale chub (Zacco platypus) is a dominant species in urban rivers and reservoirs, and it is used as an indicator to monitor the effects of environmental contaminants. Gene responses at the molecular level can reflect the health of fish challenged with environmental stressors. The objective of this study was to identify correlations between water quality factors and the expression of stress-related genes in Z. platypus from different lake environments (Singal and Juam Lakes). To do so, transcriptional responses of genes involving cellular homeostasis (heat-shock protein 70, HSP70; heat-shock protein 90, HSP90), metal detoxification (metallothionein, MT), and antioxidation (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT) were analyzed in the gill and liver tissues of Z. platypus. HSP70, HSP90, and MT genes were overall upregulated in Z. platypus from Singal Lake, which suffered from poorer water quality than Juam Lake. In addition, gene responses were significantly higher in Singal Lake outflow. Upregulation of HSP70, HSP90, and MT was significantly higher in Z. platypus gills than in the liver tissue. In addition, integrated biomarker response and heatmap analysis determined correlations between expression of biomarker genes or water quality factors and sampling sites of both lakes. These results suggest that stress-related genes used as multiple biomarkers may reflect spatial characteristics and water quality of different lake environments, and they can be used for biomonitoring and ecological risk assessment. Full article
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14 pages, 1418 KiB  
Article
Profiling Analysis of Filter Feeder Polypedilum (Chironomidae) Gut Contents Using eDNA Metabarcoding Following Contrasting Habitat Types—Weir and Stream
by Boobal Rangaswamy, Chang Woo Ji, Won-Seok Kim, Jae-Won Park, Yong Jun Kim and Ihn-Sil Kwak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10945; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710945 - 2 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1657
Abstract
We analyzed the dietary composition of Polypedilum larvae among two contrasting habitats (river and weir). Our approach was (i) to apply eDNA-based sampling to reveal the gut content of the chironomid larvae, (ii) the diversity of gut contents in the two aquatic habitats, [...] Read more.
We analyzed the dietary composition of Polypedilum larvae among two contrasting habitats (river and weir). Our approach was (i) to apply eDNA-based sampling to reveal the gut content of the chironomid larvae, (ii) the diversity of gut contents in the two aquatic habitats, and (iii) assessment of habitat sediment condition with the food sources in the gut. The most abundant food was Chlorophyta in the gut of the river (20%) and weir (39%) chironomids. The average ratio of fungi, protozoa, and zooplankton in river chironomids gut was 5.9%, 7.2%, and 3.8%, while it was found decreased to 1.2%, 2.5%, and 0.1% in weir chironomids. Aerobic fungi in river midge guts were 3.6% and 10.34% in SC and IS, while they were in the range of 0.34–2.58% in weir midges. The hierarchical clustering analysis showed a relationship of environmental factors with food contents. Abiotic factors (e.g., pH) in the river and weir habitats correlated the clustered pattern with phytoplankton and minor groups of fungi. This study could help understand the food source diversity in the chironomid and habitat environmental conditions by using eDNA metabarcoding as an effective tool to determine dietary composition. Full article
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25 pages, 5520 KiB  
Article
Heavy Metals in River Sediments: Contamination, Toxicity, and Source Identification—A Case Study from Poland
by Mariusz Sojka and Joanna Jaskuła
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10502; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710502 - 23 Aug 2022
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3240
Abstract
This study investigated the spatial distribution, contamination, potential ecological risks and quantities of pollutant sources of six heavy metals (HMs) in sediments of 47 rivers. The catchments of the investigated rivers are situated in Poland, but some of them are located in Slovakia, [...] Read more.
This study investigated the spatial distribution, contamination, potential ecological risks and quantities of pollutant sources of six heavy metals (HMs) in sediments of 47 rivers. The catchments of the investigated rivers are situated in Poland, but some of them are located in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Cluster analysis was applied to analyze the spatial distribution of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in river sediments. Moran I and Getis-Ord Gi* statistics were calculated to reveal the distribution pattern and hotspot values. Principal component analysis (PCA) and positive matrix factorization (PMF) were used to identify pollution sources. Furthermore, geochemical indices and sediment quality guidelines allowed us to assess sediment contamination and potential toxic effects on aquatic biota. The results showed that in 1/3rd of the rivers, the HM pattern and concentrations indicate sediment contamination. The EF, PLI, and MPI indices indicate that concentrations were at a rather low level in 2/3rd of the analyzed rivers. Only in individual rivers may the HMs have toxic effects on aquatic biota. Spatial autocorrelation analysis using the Moran I statistic revealed a random and dispersed pattern of HMs in river sediments. PCA analysis identified two sources of HMs’ delivery to the aquatic environment. Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn originate from point and non-point sources, while Cd concentrations have a dominant natural origin. The PMF identified three sources of pollution. Among them, urban pollution sources are responsible for Cu delivery, agricultural pollution for Zn, and industrial pollution for Ni and Cr. Moreover, the analysis showed no relationship between catchment land-use patterns and HM content in river sediments. Full article
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23 pages, 5599 KiB  
Article
Succession of the Abandoned Rice Fields Restores the Riparian Forest
by Bong Soon Lim, Jaewon Seol, A Reum Kim, Ji Hong An, Chi Hong Lim and Chang Seok Lee
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 10416; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191610416 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2274
Abstract
The vegetation changes in the abandoned rice fields with different abandonment histories were analyzed across the country of South Korea. The successional process was confirmed by changes in vegetation profiles and species composition. The vegetation profile showed the process of starting with grassland, [...] Read more.
The vegetation changes in the abandoned rice fields with different abandonment histories were analyzed across the country of South Korea. The successional process was confirmed by changes in vegetation profiles and species composition. The vegetation profile showed the process of starting with grassland, passing through the shrub stage, and turning into a tree-dominated forest. DCA ordination based on vegetation data showed that the process began with grasslands consisting of Persicaria thunbergii, Juncus effusus var. decipiens, Phalaris arundinacea, etc., then partially went through shrubland stages consisting of Salix gracilistyla, S. integra, young Salix koreensis, etc., and ultimately changed to a Salix koreensis dominated forest. In order to study the relationship between the succession process of the abandoned rice paddies and riparian vegetation, information on riparian vegetation was collected in the same watershed as the abandoned rice paddies investigated. Riparian vegetation tended to be distributed in the order of grasslands consisting of Phragmites japonica, Miscanthus sacchariflorusP. arundinacea, etc., shrubland dominated by Salix gracilistyla, S. integra, etc., and a S. koreensis community dominated forest by reflecting the flooding regime as far away from the waterway. The result of stand ordination based on the riparian vegetation data also reflected the trend. From this result, we confirmed that the temporal sequence of the vegetation change that occurred in the abandoned rice fields resembled the spatial distribution of the riparian vegetation. Consequently, succession of the abandoned rice fields restored the riparian forest, which has almost disappeared in Korea and other Asian countries that use rice as their staple food. Full article
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23 pages, 7335 KiB  
Article
Downstream Transport of Geosmin Based on Harmful Cyanobacterial Outbreak Upstream in a Reservoir Cascade
by Jae-Ki Shin, Yongeun Park, Nan-Young Kim and Soon-Jin Hwang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9294; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159294 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Understanding water quality events in a multiple-impoundment series is important but seldom presented comprehensively. Therefore, this study was conducted to systematically understand the explosion event of geosmin (GSM) in the North Han River (Chuncheon, Soyang, Euiam, and Cheongpyeong Reservoirs) and Han River (Paldang [...] Read more.
Understanding water quality events in a multiple-impoundment series is important but seldom presented comprehensively. Therefore, this study was conducted to systematically understand the explosion event of geosmin (GSM) in the North Han River (Chuncheon, Soyang, Euiam, and Cheongpyeong Reservoirs) and Han River (Paldang Reservoir), which consists of a cascade reservoir series, the largest drinking water source system in South Korea. We investigated the spatiotemporal relationship of harmful cyanobacterial blooms in the upstream reservoir (Euiam) with the water quality incident event caused by the GSM in the downstream reservoir (Paldang) from January to December 2011. The harmful cyanobacterial bloom occurred during August–September under a high water temperature (>20 °C) after a heavy-rainfall-based flood runoff event. The high chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration in the upper Euiam Reservoir was prolonged for two months with a maximum concentration of 1150.5 mg m−3, in which the filamentous Dolichospermum circinale Kütz dominated the algal community at a rate of >99%. These parameters remarkably decreased (17.3 mg Chl-a m−3) in October 2011 when the water temperature decreased (5 °C) and soluble reactive phosphorus was depleted. However, high and unprecedented GSM concentrations, with a maximum value of 1640 ng L−1, were detected in the downstream reservoirs (Cheongpyeong and Paldang); the level was 11 times higher than the value (10 ng L−1) recommended by the World Health Organization. The concentrations of GSM gradually decreased and had an adverse effect on the drinking water quality until the end of December 2011. Our study indicated that the time lag between the summer–fall cyanobacterial outbreak in the upstream reservoir and winter GSM explosion events in the downstream reservoirs could be attributed to the transport and release of GSM through the effluent from hydroelectric power generation in this multiple-reservoir system. Therefore, we suggest that a structural understanding of the reservoir cascade be considered during water quality management of drinking water sources to avoid such incidents in the future. Full article
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