Special Issue "Assessing the Effects of Multiple Stressors on Aquatic Systems across Temporal and Spatial Scales: From Measurement to 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: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pedro Segurado
Website
Guest Editor
Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: Freshwater ecology; spatial ecology; empirical modelling; landscape connectivity; multiple stressor; ecosystem quality assessment
Dr. Paulo Branco
Website
Guest Editor
Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: Freshwater ecology; fish ecology; river network connectivity; ecohydraulics; multiple stressors; experimental studies
Prof. Dr. Maria Teresa Ferreira
Website
Guest Editor
Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: Freshwater ecology and management; fish ecology and fisheries; riparian ecology; ecosystem quality assessment; river restoration
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The implementation of effective management actions to promote ecological integrity and ensure the long-term provision of services for aquatic ecosystems requires a deep understanding of how multiple stressors act on biota. In turn, this knowledge depends on the ability to disentangle the complexity of multiple stressor cause–effect chains. The temporal dimension induced by future climate and land use changes poses further challenges to tackle this complexity. A key issue is how different stressors interact with each other in their effects on ecosystems. Despite several attempts to seek general patterns of stressor interactions, both based on controlled experiments and empirical data, generalizations about their prevalence in natural systems, geographical trends and spatial/temporal scale effects are still lacking. Acknowledging these important research challenges, in this Special Issue we propose to reduce the gap between science and management, by improving knowledge on the interplay among stressors across spatial and temporal scales and the consequences for the management of aquatic systems. We are interested in fundamental and applied research, based both on experimental or empirical studies performed at single or multiple scales and focused on single or multiple biotic elements and stressor types. Studies that include projections under climate and land use changes, as well as under different management options, are especially welcome.

Dr. Pedro Segurado
Dr. Paulo Branco
Prof. Dr. Maria Teresa Ferreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • multiple stressors
  • stressor interaction
  • effect sizes
  • management plans
  • river systems
  • lake systems
  • estuaries and coastal areas
  • mesocosm experiments
  • monitoring programs
  • anthropogenic pressures
  • empirical modelling
  • process-based modelling

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Multiple-Line Identification of Socio-Ecological Stressors Affecting Aquatic Ecosystems in Semi-Arid Countries: Implications for Sustainable Management of Fisheries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Water 2020, 12(6), 1518; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061518 - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Water resources are among the fundamental resources that are the most threatened worldwide by various pressures. This study applied the Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework as an innovative tool to better understand the dynamic interlinkages between the different sources of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems [...] Read more.
Water resources are among the fundamental resources that are the most threatened worldwide by various pressures. This study applied the Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework as an innovative tool to better understand the dynamic interlinkages between the different sources of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems in Burkina Faso. The triangulation of evidences from interviews, literature reviews, and strategic simulations shows that several human impacts as well as climate change and its effects (such as the decrease of the water level, and the increase of the surface water temperature) are detrimental to fish productivity, abundance, and average size. Furthermore, the ongoing demographic and nutritional transition is driving cumulative pressures on water and fish resources. In this context, the development of aquaculture could offer alternative livelihoods and help fish stocks in natural ecosystems to recover, thereby reducing fishermen’s vulnerability and easing overfishing pressures. Further, the empowerment of the actors and their participation to reinforce fisheries regulation are required to escape the current “regeneration trap” and to achieve a sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems in Burkina Faso. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Historical Changes in the Ecological Connectivity of the Seine River for Fish: A Focus on Physical and Chemical Barriers Since the Mid-19th Century
Water 2020, 12(5), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051352 - 10 May 2020
Abstract
To understand the long-term fate of fish assemblages in the context of global change and to design efficient restoration measures in river management, it is essential to consider the historical component of these ecosystems. The human-impacted Seine River Basin is a relevant case [...] Read more.
To understand the long-term fate of fish assemblages in the context of global change and to design efficient restoration measures in river management, it is essential to consider the historical component of these ecosystems. The human-impacted Seine River Basin is a relevant case that has experienced the extinction of diadromous fishes over the last two centuries and has recently witnessed the recolonization of some species. One key issue is to understand the historical evolution of habitat accessibility for these migratory species. Thanks to the unique availability of historical, mainly hand-written sources of multiple types (river engineering projects, navigation maps, paper-based databases on oxygen, etc.), we documented and integrated, in a geographic information system-based database, the changes to physical and chemical barriers in the Seine River from the sea to Paris for three time periods (1900s, 1970s, and 2010s). The potential impact of these changes on the runs of three migratory species that have different migratory behaviors—Atlantic salmon, allis shad, and sea lamprey—was evaluated by ecological connectivity modeling, using a least-cost approach that integrates distance, costs, and risks related to barriers. We found that accessibility was contrasted between species, emphasizing the crucial role of the migration type, period, and level of tolerance to low dissolved oxygen values. The highest disruption of ecological connectivity was visible in the 1970s, when the effects of large hypoxic areas were compounded by those of impassable navigation weirs (i.e., without fish passes). As the approach was able to reveal the relative contribution of physical and chemical barriers on overall functional connectivity, it may constitute a model work in assessing the functioning of large river ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Do Eutrophication and Temperature Interact to Shape the Community Structures of Phytoplankton and Fish in Lakes?
Water 2020, 12(3), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030779 - 11 Mar 2020
Abstract
Freshwater ecosystems are among the systems most threatened and impacted by anthropogenic activities, but there is still a lack of knowledge on how this multi-pressure environment impacts aquatic communities in situ. In Europe, nutrient enrichment and temperature increase due to global change were [...] Read more.
Freshwater ecosystems are among the systems most threatened and impacted by anthropogenic activities, but there is still a lack of knowledge on how this multi-pressure environment impacts aquatic communities in situ. In Europe, nutrient enrichment and temperature increase due to global change were identified as the two main pressures on lakes. Therefore, we investigated how the interaction of these two pressures impacts the community structure of the two extreme components of lake food webs: phytoplankton and fish. We modelled the relationship between community components (abundance, composition, size) and environmental conditions, including these two pressures. Different patterns of response were highlighted. Four metrics responded to only one pressure and one metric to the additive effect of the two pressures. Two fish metrics (average body-size and biomass ratio between perch and roach) were impacted by the interaction of temperature and eutrophication, revealing that the effect of one pressure was dependent on the magnitude of the second pressure. From a management point of view, it appears necessary to consider the type and strength of the interactions between pressures when assessing the sensitivity of communities, otherwise their vulnerability (especially to global change) could be poorly estimated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Disentangling the Effects of Multiple Stressors on Large Rivers Using Benthic Invertebrates—A Study of Southeastern European Large Rivers with Implications for Management
Water 2020, 12(3), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030621 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Predicting anthropogenic actions resulting in undesirable changes in aquatic systems is crucial for the development of effective and sustainable water management strategies. Due to the co-occurrence of stressors and a lack of appropriate data, the effects on large rivers are difficult to elucidate. [...] Read more.
Predicting anthropogenic actions resulting in undesirable changes in aquatic systems is crucial for the development of effective and sustainable water management strategies. Due to the co-occurrence of stressors and a lack of appropriate data, the effects on large rivers are difficult to elucidate. To overcome this problem, we developed a partial canonical correspondence analyses (pCCA) model using 292 benthic invertebrate taxa from 104 sites that incorporated the effects of three stressors groups: hydromorphology, land use, and water quality. The data covered an environmental gradient from near-natural to heavily altered sites in five large rivers in Southeastern Europe. Prior to developing the multi-stressor model, we assessed the importance of natural characteristics on individual stressor groups. Stressors proved to be the dominant factors in shaping benthic invertebrate assemblages. The pCCA among stressor-groups showed that unique effects dominated over joint effects. Thus, benthic invertebrate assemblages were suitable for disentangling the specific effect of each of the three stressor groups. While the effects of hydromorphology were dominant, both water quality and land use effects were nearly equally important. Quantifying the specific effects of hydromorphological alterations, water quality, and land use will allow water managers to better understand how large rivers have changed and to better define expectations for ecosystem conditions in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inconsistent Relationships of Primary Consumer N Stable Isotope Values to Gradients of Sheep/Beef Farming Intensity and Flow Reduction in Streams
Water 2019, 11(11), 2239; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112239 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Stable isotope values of primary consumers have been proposed as indicators of human impacts on nitrogen dynamics. Until now, these values have been related only to single-stressor gradients of land-use intensity in stream ecology, whereas potential interactive effects of multiple stressors are unknown. [...] Read more.
Stable isotope values of primary consumers have been proposed as indicators of human impacts on nitrogen dynamics. Until now, these values have been related only to single-stressor gradients of land-use intensity in stream ecology, whereas potential interactive effects of multiple stressors are unknown. It also remains unknown whether stable isotope values of different primary consumers show similar relationships along gradients of stressor intensities. We sampled three common invertebrate grazers along gradients of sheep/beef farming intensity (0–95% intensively managed exotic pasture) and flow reduction (0–92% streamflow abstracted for irrigation). The δ15N values of the three primary consumers differed substantially along stressor gradients. Deleatidium δ15N values were positively related to farming intensity, showing a saturation curve, whereas Physella snail δ15N values were negatively related to farming intensity and Potamopyrgus snail δ15N values showed no relationship. In addition, Deleatidium stable isotope values responded positively to flow reduction intensity, a previously unstudied variable. An antagonistic multiple-stressor interaction was detected only for the mayfly Deleatidium, which occurred in streams experiencing up to 53% farming intensity. The lack of consistency in the relationships of the most important primary consumer grazers along the studied gradients may reduce their suitability as an indicator of anthropogenic N inputs. Full article
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