Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental change impacts Oklahoma rivers

Date:
February 1, 2010
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
Biodiversity in freshwater systems is impacted as much or more by environmental change than tropical rain forests, according to new research.

Trout Stream at Beaver's Bend State Park, Eastern Oklahoma.
Credit: iStockphoto/Karen Harrison

Biodiversity in freshwater systems is impacted as much or more by environmental change than tropical rain forests, according to University of Oklahoma Professor Caryn Vaughn, who serves as director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey. "When we think about species becoming extinct, we don't necessarily think of the common species in freshwater systems, many of which are declining," says Vaughn.

Related Articles


"We need to be concerned about these declines, because these common species provide many goods and services for humans," she states. "Factors underlying these declines include water pollution, habitat destruction and degradation, and environmental changes, such as overexploitation of water and aquatic organisms, all of which are linked to human activities. Freshwater biodiversity is also threatened by climate change which is predicted to alter species ranges and abundance."

Vaughn studies freshwater mussels, or clams, that live in Oklahoma's rivers. North America contains the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world with over 300 species, but over 50 percent of these species are declining. Oklahoma contains 55 mussel species, mainly in rivers in the eastern portion of the state.

The roles freshwater mussels fill in ecosystems have not been studied so far, so Vaughn's study is at the forefront of research on freshwater ecosystems. "We have seen that environmental changes are leading to species shifts in freshwater ecosystems, including changes in Oklahoma's mussel fauna," remarks Vaughn. "We need to understand how these changes will influence the services mussels provide in these systems."

Mussels feed by filtering material from the water with their gills, thus mussels act as a biofiltration system in freshwater ecosystems. Losses of these critical species can result in diminished water quality and added expenses for water treatment. Because they are large with hard shells, mussels also provide or improve habitat for many other aquatic organisms.

Multiple approaches are needed to reach Vaughn's research goal of understanding the goods and services provided by mussel communities, how these may be affected by environmental change and how we can better manage our water resources to protect mussels and meet human needs. The study is being done in southeast Oklahoma where there is an abundance of mussel species.

Vaughn believes we have to rethink how we use water in the future because it will impact quality of life for the next 100 years. "Water is our most precious resource," says Vaughn. "Sustainable water quantity and quality is a fundamental need of both wildlife and humans and is a critical component for economic growth." She works with several state agencies and participates on a task force to address water challenges in the state and make recommendations for protecting this resource.

Vaughn recently published an article on the subject in the January 2010 issue of the scientific journal, BioScience. The National Science Foundation provided funding through a grant for this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Environmental change impacts Oklahoma rivers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126101427.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2010, February 1). Environmental change impacts Oklahoma rivers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126101427.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Environmental change impacts Oklahoma rivers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126101427.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins