Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Target Tackles Question of Nutrient Source in Watershed

23.01.2009
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have for the first time adopted a technique used in marine environments to examine the sources of excess nutrients found in streams in the Illinois River Watershed.

Graduate student Brian Breaker, with Erik Pollock, Brian Haggard of the Arkansas Water Resources Center and professor Phil Hays of the geosciences department and the U.S. Geological Survey, reported their preliminary findings at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The Illinois River Watershed is the site of a mystery – high nutrient loads that have muddied the waters between Arkansas and Oklahoma. The nutrient loads themselves are not contested, but the source of these high amounts of nitrogen and phosphates are, and currently the sources of the nutrients are not explicitly identified.

Breaker and his colleagues are looking at oxygen isotopes of dissolved phosphates to try to identify the sources of the nutrients found in the watershed. Isotopes, or atoms of the same type but with slightly different weights, are found in plants, animals and organic matter. Different types of organic material have different isotope signatures, or unique proportions of a particular atom at a particular atomic weight. The researchers wanted to see if they could see a signature that varied between sources. If so, those signatures also might be seen in the nutrient loads downstream.

The researchers examined five different sources of potential nutrient loads in the watershed – soil derived phosphorus, septic system effluent, wastewater treatment plant effluent, poultry litter and commercial fertilizers. They collected water samples from the source and examined the oxygen isotopes of the phosphates contained in each one.

“We went straight to the point where we had a firm handle on the source,” Hays said. The researchers then took the samples to the laboratory, where they examined the oxygen isotope ratios found in the phosphates.

“We do indeed see a recognizable distinction between these sources,” Hays said.
The researchers continue to work in the watershed and plan to expand the project for further testing, collecting more environmental samples across a broader realm of ecosystems in the area.

“This could be a strong and effective method for managing nutrients,” Hays said. “It’s not a silver bullet. But it is another tool in the toolbox that can help clarify things.”

Phil Hays, professor, geosciences
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-7343, pdhays@uark.edu

Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>