Special Issue "Multiple Stressors Effects on Soil and Freshwater Ecosystems, in a Climate Change Scenario"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Patrícia Palma
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Earth Sciences (ICT-Evora)/Polytechnic Institute of Beja, Portugal
Interests: ecological and chemical status of water bodies; risk assessment of emergent contaminants; ecotoxicological tools

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Degradation of ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales occurs through multiple stressors, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and in an impoverishment of ecosystem services. Nowadays, the preservation of the structure and function of ecosystems is essential to ensure economic, cultural, and recreational benefits for the human population and to guarantee the maintenance of ecological balance with the protection of biodiversity. The global change scenario, with the appearance of new stressors and changes at climate patterns (including drought, temperature increase and intensification of heavy rainfalls), may negatively influence the quality of soil and freshwater systems, incrementing its scarcity and degradability. The main goal of this Special Issue is to bring together current research and reviews looking into the dynamic and impacts of emergent contaminants and/or potentially toxic metals on freshwater and soil ecosystems, from the perspective of climate change. Submissions addressing water and soil quality studies, ecological and ecotoxicological indicators, risk assessment methodologies, and environmental prioritization studies are also welcome.

Dr. Patrícia Palma
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • emergent contaminants
  • potentially toxic metals
  • freshwater quality
  • soil degradability
  • environmental risk assessment
  • ecological indicators
  • ecotoxicological tools
  • climate change

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Assessment of the Environmental Impact of Acid Mine Drainage on Surface Water, Stream Sediments, and Macrophytes Using a Battery of Chemical and Ecotoxicological Indicators
Water 2021, 13(10), 1436; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101436 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 2029
Abstract
Mining activities at the Portuguese sector of the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) have been responsible for the pollution of water, sediments, and biota, caused by the acid mine drainage (AMD) from the tailing deposits. The impact has been felt for years in the [...] Read more.
Mining activities at the Portuguese sector of the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) have been responsible for the pollution of water, sediments, and biota, caused by the acid mine drainage (AMD) from the tailing deposits. The impact has been felt for years in the rivers and streams receiving AMD from the Aljustrel mine (SW sector of the IPB, Portugal), such as at the Água Forte stream, a tributary of the Roxo stream (Sado and Mira Hydrographic Region). To evaluate the extent of that environmental impact prior to the remediation actions, surface water, sediments, and the macrophyte Scirpus holoschoenus L. were sampled at the Água Forte and the Roxo streams, upstream and downstream from the confluence. The surface water and the sediments were extremely acidic at the Água Forte stream (pH ranges 2.22–2.92 for the water and 2.57–3.32 for the sediment), with high As, Cu, Pb, and Zn concentrations of 2.1, 120, 0.21, and 421 mg kg−1, respectively, in the water, and 661, 1746, 539, and 1994 mg kg−1, respectively, in the sediment, in the location closer to the mine. Two aquatic bioassays evidenced the high ecotoxicity of the Água Forte water at that site, with very low EC50 values for Vibrio fischeri luminescence inhibition (<3.1% v/v) and Daphnia magna 48-hour immobilization/mortality assays (<6.3% v/v). The impact of the AMD was also evident in the sediments of the Roxo stream, but not so marked in the water, with circa neutral pH and lower As, Cu, Pb, and Zn concentrations. Consistently, the ecotoxicological response was only felt in the sampling point closer to the confluence of the Água Forte with the Roxo stream, with an EC20 of 27.0% (v/v) towards the V. fischeri. One of the dominant and well adapted macrophytes, S. holoschoenus L., presented low bioaccumulation factors for Cu (0.04) and Zn (0.15) in their emerging parts, and very low concentrations for As and Pb, making this plant a potential candidate to be used in phytoremediation actions to treat and control AMD in the IPB. Full article
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Article
Water-Sediment Physicochemical Dynamics in a Large Reservoir in the Mediterranean Region under Multiple Stressors
Water 2021, 13(5), 707; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050707 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 523
Abstract
Nowadays, the Mediterranean freshwater systems face the threat of water scarcity, along with multiple other stressors (e.g., organic and inorganic contamination, geomorphological alterations, invasive species), leading to the impairment of their ecosystem services. All these stressors have been speeding up, due to climate [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the Mediterranean freshwater systems face the threat of water scarcity, along with multiple other stressors (e.g., organic and inorganic contamination, geomorphological alterations, invasive species), leading to the impairment of their ecosystem services. All these stressors have been speeding up, due to climate variability and land cover/land use changes, turning them into a big challenge for the water management plans. The present study analyses the physicochemical and phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll-a) dynamics of a large reservoir, in the Mediterranean region (Alqueva reservoir, Southern Portugal), under diverse meteorological conditions and land cover/land use real scenarios (2017 and 2018). The most important stressors were identified and the necessary tools and information for a more effective management plan were provided. Changes in these parameters were further related to the observed variations in the meteorological conditions and in the land cover/land use. The increase in nutrients and ions in the water column, and of potentially toxic metals in the sediment, were more obvious in periods of severe drought. Further, the enhancement of nutrients concentrations, potentially caused by the intensification of agricultural activities, may indicate an increased risk of water eutrophication. The results highlight that a holistic approach is essential for a better water resources management strategy. Full article
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Article
Risk Assessment of Irrigation-Related Soil Salinization and Sodification in Mediterranean Areas
Water 2020, 12(12), 3569; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123569 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Salinization and sodification are important processes of soil degradation affecting irrigated lands. A large proportion of the global irrigated area is affected by some degree of soil salinity or sodicity caused by the intensification of irrigation. The increase of the frequency of adverse [...] Read more.
Salinization and sodification are important processes of soil degradation affecting irrigated lands. A large proportion of the global irrigated area is affected by some degree of soil salinity or sodicity caused by the intensification of irrigation. The increase of the frequency of adverse climatic conditions, like high temperatures and variations in precipitation patterns caused by climate change, will potentially amplify these processes in arid, semi-arid, and Mediterranean areas. The use of integrated approaches for the spatial and temporal prediction of the risk of salinization and sodification in irrigated areas is of great value, helping in the decision-making regarding land uses and choice of more suitable agricultural practices. In this study, based on key criteria for the assessment of irrigation-related salinization processes (e.g., climate, topography, soil drainage, water quality for irrigation, and crop irrigation method), we developed a methodology for the prediction of soil salinity and sodicity risk in irrigated lands, using two composite indices, the Salinization Risk (RSA) index and the Sodification Risk (RSO) index. The application of these indices to a real scenario (a Mediterranean area in Southern Portugal) showed that 67% of the potentially irrigated area presented a low risk of salinity development, 68% had a moderate risk of sodification, and 16% was of high risk of sodicity development. Areas under moderate risk of salinization (26%) were mostly characterized by low slopes and fine-textured soils, like Luvisols and Vertisols, with limited drainage conditions. Areas with high risk of soil sodification presented a large incidence of low slope terrain, moderate-to-restricted soil drainage, in high clay content Luvisols, Vertisols and Cambisols, and land use dominated by annual crops irrigated with surface or sprinkler systems. These risk prediction tools have the potential to be used for resource use planning by policymakers and on-farm management decision by farmers, contributing to the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in Mediterranean regions. Full article
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Article
Land-Cover Patterns and Hydrogeomorphology of Tributaries: Are These Important Stressors for the Water Quality of Reservoirs in the Mediterranean Region?
Water 2020, 12(10), 2665; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102665 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
Four streams in the Guadiana watershed were followed up to assess hydrogeomorphological and physicochemical characteristics, and to analyze its correlation with land use/land cover (LULC), analyzing their possible influence in reservoir water quality and possible influence in the reservoir water quality. The highest [...] Read more.
Four streams in the Guadiana watershed were followed up to assess hydrogeomorphological and physicochemical characteristics, and to analyze its correlation with land use/land cover (LULC), analyzing their possible influence in reservoir water quality and possible influence in the reservoir water quality. The highest amounts of organic descriptors and nutrients were quantified in streams with the major percentage of olive groves and vineyards and urban land cover classes. Streams more influenced by agro-silvo-pastoral class presented better water quality, as this type of LULC acts as a buffer of the contamination runoff. The results highlighted that the hydrogeomorphology of the streams may influence the transfer of pollutants loads to reservoirs. Hence, in intermittent streams characterized by coarse particles in the sediment, high amounts of pollutants are accumulated when the flow ceases, and are further transported to the reservoirs when the flow retakes. On the contrary, streams with sediments characterized by a great percentage of fine particles and organic matter do not induce so much stress in reservoirs, since these allow the adsorption of nutrients and trace elements, without their transfer to reservoirs. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Predicting the risks of soil salinization and sodification in irrigated agroecosystems: a case study in the Brinches-Enxoé irrigation project (South Portugal)

Authors: Alexandra Tomaz 1,2,*, Maria João Costa 3,4,5, João Coutinho 6, José Dôres 1, Adriana Catarino 1, Inês Martins 1, Clarisse Mourinha 1, Isabel Guerreiro 1, Maria Margarida Pereira 1, Marta Fabião 7, Luis Boteta 7, Manuel Patanita 1,2, Rui Salgado 3,4,5, Patrícia Palma 1,4

Affiliations: 1 Escola Superior Agrária, Instituto Politécnico de Beja, R. Pedro Soares S/N, 7800-295 Beja, Portugal.
2 GeoBioTec, NOVA School of Science and Technology, Campus da Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal.
3 Earth Remote Sensing Laboratory (EaRSLab), Universidade de Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal.
4 Instituto de Ciências da Terra (ICT), Universidade de Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal.
5 Departamento de Física, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal.
6 Centro de Química, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal.
7 Centro Operativo e de Tecnologia de Regadio. Quinta da Saúde, Apartado 354, 7800-999 Beja, Portugal

Abstract: The increase in temperature and the decrease in precipitation resulting from climate change in Mediterranean regions like South Portugal are likely to enhance soil salinization processes. In agricultural regions, salinization varies spatially and temporally, depending on the climate, soil texture and permeability and, in irrigated areas, also on the irrigation water quality and the irrigation systems performance. In this sense, any risk assessment methodology must be based on representative soil and water indicators, in order to assess the probability and severity with which a given soil may be affected. In this work, two indices, the Salinization Risk Index (RSA) and the Sodification Risk Index (RSO) were applied to the irrigation area of Brinches-Enxoé (Alqueva, South Portugal). For this purpose, information on climate, irrigation water quality, soil and land use, was obtained, for comparison purposes, from large-scale databases and from local sampling in 10 irrigated plots. Then, maps of salinization and sodification risk were obtained based on easily available data and using more detailed data and in situ measurements. The comparability between the two-tiered approach of risk areas identification through these indices showed potential to be used at large scales and territorial planning, but also at the farm plot level, encouraging the adoption of agricultural practices that can contribute to the sustainability of irrigated agriculture.

Keywords: Irrigation water quality; Mediterranean irrigation areas; Risk assessment; Soil salinity; Soil sodicity.

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