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Special Issue "Anthropogenic and Climatic Disturbances in Freshwater and Coastal Ecosystems: Interactive Impacts and Expected Threats"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Stefano Cozzi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR—ISMAR Marine Science Institute, 34149 Trieste, Italy
Interests: chemical oceanography; biogeochemistry; climate change; coastal ecosystems; air–sea interactions; eutrophication; runoff; mucilage phenomenon; sea-ice zone processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last century, freshwater and coastal marine environments have been impacted by growing anthropogenic pressure, which is now globally spread. Discharges of nutrients, pollutants, sediments, and biogeochemical transformations originated by an intensive usage of ecosystem services, have often definitively changed the structure of these aquatic environments, even in regions where recent improvements of environmental management practices have mitigated pollution and eutrophication.

At the same time, these environments are currently exposed to direct and indirect disturbances originated by the climate change, as their status depends on the evolution of meteorological conditions, runoff, extreme events, hydrology, circulation, sea level, and orographic characteristics. Today, there is a growing body of knowledge about climate change at regional scales.

This Special Issue will explore current and expected interactions between anthropogenic pressures and climate change in freshwater and coastal ecosystems. A large variety of environments can be considered, from tropical to high-latitude systems, provided that they are analyzed as case studies that highlight the combination of anthropogenic and climatic disturbances. Multidisciplinary studies based on experimental activities, reanalysis of data-series, ecological modeling, and review and synthesis of the scientific information are encouraged.

Dr. Stefano Cozzi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • hydrological regime
  • water quality
  • water resource management
  • eutrophication
  • ecosystem services
  • community dynamics
  • ecosystem structure
  • environmental indicators
  • coastal zones
  • river and lake ecosystems

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Climatic Changes and Anthropogenic Activities Driving the Increase in Nitrogen: Evidence from the South-to-North Water Diversion Project
Water 2021, 13(18), 2517; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182517 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
As one of the most widespread elements, nitrogen has been broadly concerned in water bodies. Understanding variations in nitrogen is of paramount importance to ecosystem stability and human health. The spatiotemporal variations in total nitrogen (TN) and ammonia in the Middle Route of [...] Read more.
As one of the most widespread elements, nitrogen has been broadly concerned in water bodies. Understanding variations in nitrogen is of paramount importance to ecosystem stability and human health. The spatiotemporal variations in total nitrogen (TN) and ammonia in the Middle Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (MRP) during the period from 2015 to 2019 were evaluated. The correlation between anthropogenic activities based on quantitative land use cover and nitrogen concentration was addressed. The results indicated that TN increased by 0.072 mg/L from south to north over the period (p < 0.05), but ammonia decreased by 0.018 mg/L (p < 0.05), notably, in five years. In addition, Chl a had the highest concentration in autumn, showing seasonal variation. The linear regression showed that ammonia concentration was significantly negatively correlated with Chl a (p < 0.1). Furthermore, as human activities’ intensity increased by 6‰ from 2015 to 2019, TN increased and ammonia decreased. The rhythm of meteorological conditions could also result in the variation in nitrogen, which affected N concentration in the MRP. The increase in construction land and agricultural land led to TN increase, and algae absorption was one of the reasons leading to the decrease in ammonia. It could be concluded that climatic changes and anthropogenic activities were the driving forces of nitrogen changes in the MRP. Thus, land use changes around the MRP should be the focus of attention to reduce the nitrogen concentration. This study is the first report on the nitrogen distribution pattern in the MRP. It could be useful to authorities for the control and management of nitrogen pollution and better protection of water quality. Full article
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Article
Bacterial Diversity in a Dynamic and Extreme Sub-Arctic Watercourse (Pasvik River, Norwegian Arctic)
Water 2020, 12(11), 3098; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113098 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Microbial communities promptly respond to the environmental perturbations, especially in the Arctic and sub-Arctic systems that are highly impacted by climate change, and fluctuations in the diversity level of microbial assemblages could give insights on their expected response. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing [...] Read more.
Microbial communities promptly respond to the environmental perturbations, especially in the Arctic and sub-Arctic systems that are highly impacted by climate change, and fluctuations in the diversity level of microbial assemblages could give insights on their expected response. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was applied to describe the bacterial community composition in water and sediment through the sub-Arctic Pasvik River. Our results showed that river water and sediment harbored distinct communities in terms of diversity and composition at genus level. The distribution of the bacterial communities was mainly affected by both salinity and temperature in sediment samples, and by oxygen in water samples. Glacial meltwaters and runoff waters from melting ice probably influenced the composition of the bacterial community at upper and middle river sites. Interestingly, marine-derived bacteria consistently accounted for a small proportion of the total sequences and were also more prominent in the inner part of the river. Results evidenced that particular conditions occurring at sampling sites (such as algal blooms, heavy metal contamination and anaerobiosis) may select species at local scale from a shared bacterial pool, thus favoring certain bacterial taxa. Conversely, the few phylotypes specifically detected in some sites are probably due to localized external inputs introducing allochthonous microbial groups. Full article
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Article
Phytoplankton–Macrophyte Interaction in the Lagoon of Venice (Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy)
Water 2020, 12(10), 2810; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102810 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
The coexistence of phytoplankton and macrophytes in the Lagoon of Venice (Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) was investigated using in situ data collected monthly as part of International Long Term Ecosystem Research (LTER), together with satellite imagery for the period 1998–2017. The concentrations of [...] Read more.
The coexistence of phytoplankton and macrophytes in the Lagoon of Venice (Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) was investigated using in situ data collected monthly as part of International Long Term Ecosystem Research (LTER), together with satellite imagery for the period 1998–2017. The concentrations of chlorophyll a and hydrochemical parameters were measured in three areas of the lagoon, where the expansion of well-developed stands of submerged vegetation was observed by remote sensing. Our results suggest interaction between phytoplankton and macrophytes (macroalgae and seagrasses) in the last few years of the time series, evidenced by decreasing chlorophyll a concentrations in the vicinity of the macrophyte stands. The integration of LTER and remotely sensed data made it possible to evaluate the interaction of macrophytes and phytoplankton at the ecosystem scale for the first time in the Lagoon of Venice. Full article
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Article
Climatic and Anthropogenic Impacts on Environmental Conditions and Phytoplankton Community in the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea)
Water 2020, 12(9), 2652; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092652 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
During the last century, human activities have exerted an increasing pressure on coastal ecosystems, primarily inducing their eutrophication, with a more recent partial mitigation of this phenomenon where improvements of environmental management practices were adopted. However, a reanalysis of the pressures on coastal [...] Read more.
During the last century, human activities have exerted an increasing pressure on coastal ecosystems, primarily inducing their eutrophication, with a more recent partial mitigation of this phenomenon where improvements of environmental management practices were adopted. However, a reanalysis of the pressures on coastal zones and surrounding drainage basins is needed because of the alterations induced nowadays by the climate changes. A comparative analysis of long-term oceanographic and environmental data series (1986–2018) was performed, in order to highlight the effects of anthropogenic and climatic disturbances on the phytoplankton community in the Gulf of Trieste (GoT). After the 1980s, the decline in phytoplankton abundance was matched to increasing periods of low runoff, an overall deficit of the precipitation and to a decrease in phosphate availability in the coastal waters (−0.003 µmol L−1 yr−1), even in the presence of large riverine inputs of nitrogen and silicates. This trend of oligotrophication was reversed in the 2010s by the beginning of a new and unexpected phase of climatic instability, which also caused changes of the composition and seasonal cycle of the phytoplankton community. Beyond the management of nutrient loads, it was shown that climatic drivers such as seawater warming, precipitation and wind regime affect both nutrient balance and phytoplankton community in this coastal zone. Full article
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Article
Seasonal and Interannual Trends of Oceanographic Parameters over 40 Years in the Northern Adriatic Sea in Relation to Nutrient Loadings Using the EMODnet Chemistry Data Portal
Water 2020, 12(8), 2280; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082280 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 980
Abstract
Long-term data series (1971–2015) of physical and biogeochemical parameters were analyzed in order to assess trends and variability of oceanographic conditions in the northern Adriatic Sea (NAS), a mid-latitude shallow continental shelf strongly impacted by river discharges, human activities and climate changes. Interpolation [...] Read more.
Long-term data series (1971–2015) of physical and biogeochemical parameters were analyzed in order to assess trends and variability of oceanographic conditions in the northern Adriatic Sea (NAS), a mid-latitude shallow continental shelf strongly impacted by river discharges, human activities and climate changes. Interpolation maps and statistical models were applied to investigate seasonal and spatial variability, as well as decadal trends of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a and nutrients. This analysis shows that sea surface temperature increased by +0.36% year−1 over four decades. Annual mean flow of the Po River markedly changed due to the occurrence of periods of persistent drought, whereas the frequency of flow rates higher than 3000 m3 s−1 decreased between 2006 and 2015. Moreover, we observed a long-term decrease in surface phosphate concentrations in Po River water (−1.34% year−1) and in seawater (in summer −2.56% year−1) coupled, however, to a significant increase in nitrate concentration in seawater (+3.80% year−1) in almost all seasons. These changes indicate that the nutrient concentrations in the NAS have been largely modulated, in the last forty years, by the evolution of environmental management practices and of the runoff. This implies that further alteration of the marine environment must be expected as a consequence of the climate changes. Full article
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Article
Factors Controlling Hypoxia Occurrence in Estuaries, Chester River, Chesapeake Bay
Water 2020, 12(7), 1961; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071961 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 792
Abstract
The Chester River, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay, provides critical habitats for numerous living species and oyster aquaculture, but faces increasing anthropogenic stresses due to excessive nutrient loading and hypoxia occurrence. An application of the Integrated Compartment Water Quality Model (ICM), coupled with [...] Read more.
The Chester River, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay, provides critical habitats for numerous living species and oyster aquaculture, but faces increasing anthropogenic stresses due to excessive nutrient loading and hypoxia occurrence. An application of the Integrated Compartment Water Quality Model (ICM), coupled with the Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM), was carried out to study the controlling mechanisms and interannual variability in hypoxia occurrence from 2002 to 2011. Our study shows that hypoxia occurs mostly in the main stem in July, followed by August and June. On an interannual scale, 2005 had the highest hypoxia occurrence with an accumulative hypoxia volume of about 10 km3-days, whereas 2008 had the lowest occurrence with an accumulative hypoxia volume of about 1 km3-days. Nutrient loading is the predominant factor in determining the intensity and interannual variability in hypoxia in the Chester River estuary, followed by stratification and saltwater intrusion. Phosphorus has been found to be more efficient in controlling hypoxia occurrence than nitrogen due to their different limiting extent. On a local scale, the Chester River estuary is characterized by several meanders, and at certain curvatures helical circulation is formed due to centrifugal forces, leading to better reaeration and dissolved oxygen (DO) supply to the deeper layers. Our study provides valuable information for nutrient management and restoration efforts in the Chester River. Full article
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Article
Spatiotemporal Urea Distribution, Sources, and Indication of DON Bioavailability in Zhanjiang Bay, China
Water 2020, 12(3), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030633 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
In marine environments, urea is an important component of the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen. The autochthonous and allochthonous sources (rivers, aquaculture, waste water input, etc.) of urea play a key role in urea cycles in adjacent coastal waters. Because urea is a specific [...] Read more.
In marine environments, urea is an important component of the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen. The autochthonous and allochthonous sources (rivers, aquaculture, waste water input, etc.) of urea play a key role in urea cycles in adjacent coastal waters. Because urea is a specific marker to trace the sewage fluxes in coastal waters, we investigated urea associated with terrestrial source input and coastal water in Zhanjiang Bay (ZJB) during the time from November 2018 to July 2019, and the spatiotemporal urea distribution and the bioavailability of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) based on urea concentration in the ZJB were explored. The results showed that the urea enrichment in coastal water was mainly due to discharge from urban sewage systems, rivers, and coastal aquaculture. The concentration of urea ranged from 1.14 to 5.53 μmol·L−1, and its mean value was 3.13 ± 1.02 μmol·L−1 in the ZJB. The urea concentration showed a significantly different seasonal variation in the ZJB (p < 0.05), and the highest and lowest concentrations were found in November 2018 and April 2019, respectively. Its high value appeared in the north and northeast of the ZJB, which were polluted by coastal aquaculture and agriculture fertilizer utilization. The range of urea concentration of terrestrial source inputs in the ZJB was 1.31–10.29 μmol·L−1, and the average urea concentration reached 3.22 ± 0.82 μmol·L−1. Moreover, the total urea flux surrounding the ZJB was 2905 tons·year−1. The seasonal terrestrial source of urea flux contributions had significant seasonal variation in wet, normal, and dry seasons (p < 0.05). The ZJB was subjected to a large flux of urea by estuaries and sewage outlet discharges. The seasonal urea concentration in all stations (>1 μmol·L−1) indicated that urea in the ZJB may have a bioavailable DON source. As a bioavailable nitrogen source, the ability of terrestrial source-derived urea to increase eutrophication should not be ignored in ZJB. 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: Ecological importance of alkaline phosphatase activity in changing marine environmental conditions
Authors: Ingrid Ivančić 1,*; Romina Kraus 1; Mirjana Najdek 1; Stefano Cozzi 2,*
Affiliation: 1 Center for Marine Research, Ruđer Bošković Institute, G. Paliaga 5, HR-52210 Rovinj, Croatia.
2 CNR - ISMAR, Marine Sciences Institute, Area Science Park – Basovizza, SS 14, 34149 Trieste, Italy.
Abstract: Most of the coastal zones and continental shelves surrounding developed countries are subjected to large discharges of the nutrients, which primarily originate by the runoff of the continental waters. These inputs have significantly changed the biogeochemistry of these shallow marine environments, often causing an exponential rise of the frequency of coastal hypoxia, at least since the 1960’, as well as the dystrophic phenomena and an altered post-eutrophic conditions during the most recent decades. The Northern Adriatic continental shelf is an excellent example of such marine ecosystems. It is impacted by a large freshwater discharge that can reach, on annual scale, one third of the total seawater volume of this marine region, and by a discharge of continental nutrients that far exceeds their budgets into the sea. The most prominent characteristics of nutrient discharges in the Northern Adriatic Sea is the extreme overload of nitrogen compared to phosphorus, that makes it a clear example of phosphorus limited marine ecosystem. Moreover, the Northern Adriatic Sea is nowadays impacted by oscillations of the runoff and by a large seawater warming induced by climatic forcing. For these reasons, the analysis of the dynamics of phosphorus utilization and recycling is a key point for the assessment of the ecological status of this marine environment. Due to complex hydrodynamics and alternating eutrophic freshwater and oligotrophic middle Adriatic waters influence, it is expected that the region undergo different areal and temporal P-stress conditions. Microbes respond to P-stress inducing alkaline phosphatase activity (APA), enzymes that enable them to use organic phosphorus sources. Hence, APA response helps us to understand the severity of P-stress in different environmental conditions. Therefore, multiannual data of environmental parameters, nutrients, organic phosphorus and microbial biomass were analyzed (849 dataset collected during 2004-2013) to establish their influence on APA. Analyses were performed separately for waters saturated with oxygen where assimilation processes prevail, and undersaturated waters where regeneration processes prevail. The stratification period was compared to the mixing period, since nutrient sources in these two periods greatly differ. Furthermore, situation when the freshwater supply of nutrients triggered new primary production were compared with situation in which microbial growth was based on a constant recycling of once produced organic matter in lower saline waters impoverished in nutrients or in waters not influenced by freshwater. Due to steep gradients of environmental parameters over the year, the northern Adriatic is a favorable basin for such studies of environmental change scenarios and their influence on P-stress. Results of this study can help us to understand possible scenarios in future climatic changes such as oscillations of the freshwater runoff and sea warming.

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