Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Finds Widespread Stream Biodiversity Declines at Low Levels of Urban Development

14.06.2011
A new study from biology researchers at Baylor University and the University of Maryland-Baltimore has found that there are consistent and widespread declines in stream biodiversity at lower levels of urban development more damaging than what was previously believed.

The study found that aquatic life actually shows significant loss of biodiversity with less than two percent of developed land in a watershed. This is much less that what a decade-old analysis widely cited by environmental policymakers suggests that it takes up to 15 percent of solid surfaces like roads or parking lots, or 20 to 30 percent developed land in a given area before local water systems no longer sustain normal aquatic life.

“The findings are alarming and imply that water quality in streams is degraded rapidly with relatively low levels of development, which clearly has significant implications to the organisms that live in these streams,” said study co-author Dr. Ryan King, associate professor of biology at Baylor. “Perhaps of even greater concern is that the decline of stream-dwelling animals implies that there is chemical pollution that could also be detrimental to human health via groundwater and downstream drinking water supplies. It is unlikely that it's just the rapid runoff of water from the impervious cover that is causing the loss of biodiversity, but more likely that chemical pollution is also responsible.”

The researchers used samples from about 2,000 streams around Maryland and compared satellite imagery and land cover datasets to analyze how the water ecosystem and biodiversity responded to various levels of impervious cover, which are areas where infiltration of water into the underlying soil is prevented. Roads, parking lots and buildings account for the majority of impervious cover.

Published research in recent years has consistently shown a strong relationship between the percentage of impervious cover in a watershed and the health of the receiving stream. Scientists generally agree that stream degradation consistently occurs at relatively low levels of imperviousness, such as 10 to 20 percent. However, when King and his research team applied a new statistical analysis method that they created called the Threshold Indicator Taxa Analysis (TITAN), it showed biodiversity loss at much lower development levels in the study area. In fact, the analysis showed that approximately 80 percent of the biodiversity loss came between .5 and two percent of impervious cover, and the remaining 20 percent of loss came between two and 25 percent.

“This new statistical analysis method is more precise than current methods and when we applied it to real world environments, it revealed a dramatically lower ecological ‘tipping point’ at which species are threatened,” King said. “The implications of these findings are very important in water management strategies.”

The study appears on-line in the journal Ecological Applications.

Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.baylor.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>