Special Issue "Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Christopher Nietch
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
U.S.EPA, Office of Research and Development, Center for Environmental Measurement and Modelling, Watershed and Ecosystem Characterization Division, Watershed Management Branch, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Interests: aquatic systems ecology; stormwater management; water quality modeling; watershed-scale nutrient management; watershed modeling; carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry; ecotoxicology; mesocosm studies; agricultural best management practices; aquatic life criteria

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Applied ecology research considers fundamental ecological process and function to inform environmental policy and practice. In the field of water quality management, applied aquatic ecology provides the mechanisms, or causes-and-effects, that characterize the quality of water. Waters cannot be protected or restored without considering and accounting for ecological principles and interactions in the project planning, design, and implementation phases of such effort. Under the rapidly changing climate regime there are numerous interacting ecologies, some yet to be realized, that are increasing the uncertainty of water quality management and affecting the ability to assess the success of management effort along with the confidence that program managers can have that spent funds will result in improvements. In this special issue I am seeking contributions that bring new ecological insight to water quality managment. Contributions might describe how water quality mangement uses aquatic ecology to: enhance engineering design of best management practices; guide the development, implementation, and analysis of policies and programs; establish water treatment processes; set objectives for water use; determine effective strategies for public health risk assessment; or help account for the potential benefits and anticipate unintended consequences of management alternatives.

Dr. Christopher Nietch
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

  • ecosystem services
  • harmful algae blooms (HABs)
  • nutrient management
  • best management practices (BMPs)
  • wetlands
  • water quality benefits
  • aquatic life criteria
  • numeric nutrient criteria
  • mixtures
  • ecotoxicology
  • invasive species
  • public policy
  • ecological structure and function
  • point and nonpoint sources

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
A Novel Thin-Film Technique to Improve Accuracy of Fluorescence-Based Estimates for Periphytic Biofilms
Water 2021, 13(11), 1464; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111464 - 23 May 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Recent studies suggest that photophysiological parameters for intact substrates with depth (e.g., periphytic biofilms, microphytobenthos) are overestimated by pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry. This overestimation results from depth-integration effects, following the activation of deeper photosynthesizing layers by an attenuated light signal. To mitigate this [...] Read more.
Recent studies suggest that photophysiological parameters for intact substrates with depth (e.g., periphytic biofilms, microphytobenthos) are overestimated by pulse-amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry. This overestimation results from depth-integration effects, following the activation of deeper photosynthesizing layers by an attenuated light signal. To mitigate this error, we propose a novel slide-based thin-film technique in which fluorescence is measured on a vertically representative subsample of the biofilm, spread evenly on a microscope slide. We compared bias and precision for photosynthetic parameters estimated through conventional PAM fluorometry on intact biofilms and through our novel slide-based technique, both theoretically and empirically. Numerical simulations confirmed the consistent overestimation of key parameters for intact biofilms, with relative errors up to 145%, compared to, at most, 52% on thin films. Paired empirical observations likewise demonstrated that estimates based on intact biofilms were consistently higher (up to 248%, p<0.001) than estimates from thin films. Numerical simulation suggested greater precision with the slide-based technique for homogeneous biofilms, but potentially less precision for heterogeneous biofilms with improper subsampling. Our empirical comparison, however, demonstrated some improvement in precision with the slide-based technique (e.g., the coefficient of variation for the maximum electron transport rate was reduced 30%, p=0.009). We recommend the use of the slide-based technique, particularly for biofilms that are thick or have small light attenuation coefficients. Care should be taken, however, to obtain vertically representative subsamples of the biofilm for measurement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management)
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Article
Physiological, Developmental, and Biomarker Responses of Zebrafish Embryos to Sub-Lethal Exposure of Bendiocarb
Water 2021, 13(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020204 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Bendiocarb is a broad-spectrum insecticide recommended for malaria control by the World Health Organization (WHO). Still, bendiocarb poses a toxic risk to populations of nontargeted aquatic organisms. Thus, our study was aimed to evaluate the sub-lethal effects of bendiocarb exposure on zebrafish ( [...] Read more.
Bendiocarb is a broad-spectrum insecticide recommended for malaria control by the World Health Organization (WHO). Still, bendiocarb poses a toxic risk to populations of nontargeted aquatic organisms. Thus, our study was aimed to evaluate the sub-lethal effects of bendiocarb exposure on zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos by assessing of physiological, developmental, and biochemical parameters. Bendiocarb-induced adverse effects on embryonic development, larval growth, heart rate, changes in phase II detoxifying enzyme glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity, oxidative stress-related enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT)), and the damage-linked biomarker lipid peroxidation (LPO) in early life stage zebrafish were investigated. Our results highlight that the selected nonlethal concentrations (96 h median lethal concentration in this study was 32.52 mg/L−1) of bendiocarb inflicted adverse effects resulting in embryo deformities (96 h EC50 = 2.30 mg L−1), reduced body- and notochord length (above 0.75 and 0.39 mg L−1 bendiocarb concentrations at 96 hpf, respectively), oxidative stress, and altered heart rate (above 0.4 mg L−1 at 48 hpf) in the studied model system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management)
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Article
Characterization of Antibiotic Resistance and Metal Homeostasis Genes in Midwest USA Agricultural Sediments
Water 2020, 12(9), 2476; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092476 - 04 Sep 2020
Viewed by 582
Abstract
Microbial antibiotic resistance is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has grown in part with the use of antibiotics in agricultural operation. There are also known connections between genes for metal homeostasis and antibiotic resistance, and either antibiotics or metals may select for both [...] Read more.
Microbial antibiotic resistance is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has grown in part with the use of antibiotics in agricultural operation. There are also known connections between genes for metal homeostasis and antibiotic resistance, and either antibiotics or metals may select for both kinds of genes. Antibiotics, metals, and their associated genes have the potential to enter agricultural drainage channels and migrate to downstream locations through receiving water bodies. A relatively new agricultural best management practice—the two-stage channel design—functions by sequestering sediments and dissolved constituents as they flow through agricultural ditches from surface runoff and tile drainage discharge. Sedimentation in agricultural watersheds may entrap aggregate pollutants including antibiotics, metals, and associated resistance genes before transport into the drainage system. Here, we characterized the abundance and diversity of 22 antibiotic resistance and metal homeostasis genes in three two-stage channels that had self-developed in an area dominated by agricultural land use. Additionally, we analyzed the sediments for 17 antibiotics and nine metals that could affect the selection of these genes. In these rural systems that drain into Lake Erie, the abundance of antibiotic resistance and metal homeostasis genes were on the lower end of ranges (e.g., <106 gene copies g−1 of intI1) reported in other riverine and lake systems, with only five genes—intI1, aacA, mexB, cadA, and merA—differing significantly between sites. The diversity of antibiotic resistance and metal homeostasis genes for these sediment samples were largely similar to other human impacted environments. Few antibiotics were detected in two stage channel sediments, with concentrations below the quantifiable limits (<0.02–34.5 µg kg−1 soil) in most cases. Likewise, metals were present at what could be considered background concentrations. Despite serving as important drainage channel features in a region dominated by agricultural land use, results serve as an important baseline reference against which other monitoring studies can be compared to assess the perturbation of antibiotics and metals on agricultural channel sediments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management)
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Article
Drivers of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Equatorial Alpine Rivers of the Rwenzoris (Uganda)
Water 2020, 12(6), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061668 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 761
Abstract
The Sub-Saharan alpine freshwater biodiversity is currently impacted by human settlements, climate change, agriculture, and mining activities. Because of the limited biodiversity studies in the region, a better understanding is needed of the important environmental variables affecting macroinvertebrate assemblages. In this paper, macroinvertebrate [...] Read more.
The Sub-Saharan alpine freshwater biodiversity is currently impacted by human settlements, climate change, agriculture, and mining activities. Because of the limited biodiversity studies in the region, a better understanding is needed of the important environmental variables affecting macroinvertebrate assemblages. In this paper, macroinvertebrate diversity responses to 18 environmental variables were studied at 30 sites along unique Rwenzori rivers at the equator in Uganda. We hypothesized that anthropogenic disturbance and local environmental variables affect macroinvertebrate diversity, irrespective of altitudinal gradients. Based on altitude and climate, the sites were subdivided into three altitude groups consisting of 10 sites each: upstream (US) 1400–1600 m.a.s.l.; midstream (MS) 1091–1399 m.a.s.l., and downstream (DS) 900–1090 m.a.s.l. A total of 44 macroinvertebrate families and 1623 individuals were identified. The macroinvertebrate diversity patterns were influenced by temperature, altitude, and latitude. Regression analysis revealed that temperature and nickel, were negative predictors of taxa richness. Nickel, which is released by mining activity, is detrimental to aquatic communities in Sub-Saharan alpine ecosystems. Significant longitudinal variation in macroinvertebrate diversity was observed between the sites, which were also affected by mineral and temperature gradients. Our study highlights the need for long-term monitoring in this region to detect and reduce the threats to river biodiversity from anthropogenic activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management)
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Article
Uptake of Sulfate from Ambient Water by Freshwater Animals
Water 2020, 12(5), 1496; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051496 - 23 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
To better understand how the sulfate (SO42−) anion may contribute to the adverse effects associated with elevated ionic strength or salinity in freshwaters, we measured the uptake and efflux of SO42− in four freshwater species: the fathead minnow [...] Read more.
To better understand how the sulfate (SO42−) anion may contribute to the adverse effects associated with elevated ionic strength or salinity in freshwaters, we measured the uptake and efflux of SO42− in four freshwater species: the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas, Teleostei: Cyprinidae), paper pondshell (Utterbackia imbecillis, Bivalvia: Unionidae), red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii, Crustacea: Cambaridae), and two-lined mayfly (Hexagenia bilineata, Insecta: Ephemeridae). Using δ(34S/32S) stable isotope ratios and the concentrations of S and SO42−, we measured the SO42− influx rate (Jin), net flux (Jnet), and efflux rate (Jout) during a 24 h exposure period. For all four species, the means of Jin for SO42− were positive, and Jin was significantly greater than 0 at both target SO42− concentrations in the fish and mollusk and at the lower SO42− concentration in the crayfish. The means of Jout and Jnet were much more variable than those for Jin, but several species by target SO42− concentration combinations for Jout and Jnet, were negative, which suggests the net excretion of SO42− by the animals. The results of our experiments suggest a greater regulation of SO42− in freshwater animals than has been previously reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ecology Research for Water Quality Management)
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