Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diatoms reveal freshwater pollution

Date:
May 6, 2010
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Researchers in India have demonstrated that microscopic aquatic creatures could be used as the ecological equivalent of a canary in a coalmine for assessing inland freshwater lakes and ponds. The team reports how diatoms respond badly to pollutants and sewage contamination.

Researchers in India have demonstrated that microscopic aquatic creatures could be used as the ecological equivalent of a canary in a coalmine for assessing inland freshwater lakes and ponds. Writing in the World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development the team explains how diatoms respond badly to pollutants and sewage contamination.

Bijaya Kumar Padhi, Jnanendra Rath, and Pratap Kumar Padhy of the Visva-Bharati University, in Santiniketan, India, have looked at the ecological responses of diatoms to pollution and nutrient enrichment, caused by domestic and municipal sewage, in five freshwater ponds. Absent diatom species were present in some heavily polluted lakes, while raised levels of nutrients boost numbers of other species. They suggest that a Biological Index for Diatoms could be used as a simple biological method for monitoring water quality that avoids the need for sophisticated chemical analysis.

Rapid urbanization and economic development have resulted in unfavorable changes in the hydrology and ecology of freshwater systems, which are felt most acutely in the developing world. The researchers explain that the remediation and protection of freshwater ecosystems is increasingly important but water quality management requires reliable long-term data on water quality and how remediation work affects the water. Moreover, information about natural, baseline, conditions in undisturbed ponds, lakes and rivers is needed against which polluted bodies of water undergoing remediation might be gauged.

Natural changes in environmental conditions, such as flow rate, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and food resources exert direct control on the population dynamics of aquatic organisms, which gives rise to characteristic biological communities within different ecosystems. However, pollution and other human activities also disturb these community profiles significantly and so can provide such a measure.

Diatoms are important contributors to the primary production in aquatic ecosystems, sitting at the bottom of the food chain. They are eukaryotic algae, commonly unicellular, although they do exist as filamentous colonies and are good indicators of the environmental integrity, the researchers explain. They have several advantages over other indicators, the team adds.

First, they are readily dispersed and can invade a variety of habitats. They are relatively easy to sample and such sampling has negligible impact on the ecosystem during collection. Their "response" time to variation in environmental conditions lies between bacteria (change hourly) and bigger invertebrates (change over the course of months). Finally, diatoms are sensitive to very subtle changes in environmental conditions and/or disturbances that may not visibly affect other communities, or may only affect other communities at greater levels of disturbance.

The team's evaluation of diatom monitoring of five freshwater bodies was consistent with more conventional physical and chemical determinations carried out in parallel. Diatoms usually grow better in unpolluted ponds and streams and this preliminary investigation suggests that they could be useful for biological monitoring of pollution levels and ecosystem integrity in the short and potentially in the long-term once seasonal studies confirm the preliminary results.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bijaya Kumar Padhi, Jnanendra Rath, Pratap Kumar Padhy. Diatoms for assessing the ecological condition of inland freshwater bodies. World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, 2010; 7 (4): 352 DOI: 10.1504/WRSTSD.2010.032743

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Diatoms reveal freshwater pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504095111.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2010, May 6). Diatoms reveal freshwater pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504095111.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Diatoms reveal freshwater pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504095111.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) MIT researchers were able to change whether bad memories in mice made them anxious by flicking an emotional switch in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A study out of University at Buffalo claims couples who smoke marijuana are less likely to experience intimate partner violence. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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