Journal of Ecosystems The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Assessment of Water Pollution Signs in the Brazilian Pampa Biome Using Stress Biomarkers in Fish (Astyanax sp.) Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:58:39 +0000 Located in southern Brazil, the Pampa biome has been under constant threat due to improper management of human effluents and use of pesticides. These contaminants accumulate mainly in water resources resulting in chronic poisoning of aquatic biota. Up to date, no studies on the assessment of environmental quality in the Brazilian portion of Pampa biome have been undertaken. Thereby, our main goal in this study was to investigate the ecotoxicological risks caused by human activity in the Santa Maria River, a major water course in the Brazilian Pampa biome. Brain and muscle tissues were used for determining oxidative stress and cholinesterase biomarkers in fish (Astyanax sp.) exposed to urban and agricultural effluents. A substantial decrease in fish muscle acetylcholinesterase activity was observed in exposed animals, compared to controls (kept under laboratory conditions). In parallel, increased lipid peroxidation and significant changes in stress-responsive antioxidant enzymes (GST, CAT, GPx, and TrxR) were detected. In the fish brain, a significant increase in GST activity is reported. In conclusion, our results showed significant changes in biomarkers of water contamination in Astyanax captured in Santa Maria River, pointing to important levels of water pollution in the region and validating the use of Astyanax in biomonitoring programs within the Pampa biome borders. Mauro Nunes, Fabio Wacker da Silva, Dennis Costa-Silva, Gabriel Luz Wallau, Thais Posser, and Jeferson Luis Franco Copyright © 2015 Mauro Nunes et al. All rights reserved. Water Physicochemistry and Zooplankton Fauna of Aiba Reservoir Headwater Streams, Iwo, Nigeria Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The physicochemical water condition and zooplankton fauna of the two main inflows of Aiba Reservoir were assessed over an annual hydrological cycle (May 2013–March 2014). The concentrations of total solids (TS) and total suspended solids (TSS) in the two streams were unusually higher in the dry season for typical inland waters of Nigeria and showed a decrease from the upper reaches towards the lower reaches (reservoir’s inlet). Dissolved oxygen, , and recorded their highest concentrations at the reservoir’s inlet. A total of 37 species of zooplankton were recorded in the study, comprising 5 species of Protozoa, 14 species of Rotifera, 10 species of Copepoda, 4 species of Ostracoda, and 4 species of Insecta. Aiba stream recorded higher number of zooplankton species and abundance than Onikan stream. While number of zooplankton species and abundance showed an increase from the upper reaches to the lower reaches of both streams, species diversity and equitability generally showed a decrease. Correlation and regression analysis suggests that the concentration of TS and TSS played a major role in determining the zooplankton community structure of the streams. concentrations as well as the community structures of zooplankton faunas of the two streams were indicative of a polluted freshwater system with unstable habitat structure. Emmanuel O. Akindele and Godwin O. Olutona Copyright © 2014 Emmanuel O. Akindele and Godwin O. Olutona. All rights reserved. Litter Production, Decomposition, and Nutrient Release in Subalpine Forest Communities of the Northwest Himalaya Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:51:50 +0000 Production, decomposition, and release of nutrients from leaf and nonleaf litter were investigated in four subalpine forests of North-West Himalaya, India. Total annual litter fall in four communities varied from 2950.00 to 4040.00 kg ha−1 and was found significant (CD0.05 = 118.2). Decomposition of leaf litter varied from 1.82–3.5% during autumn-winter to 36.14–45.51 during summer rainy season in all stands and percent of mass loss was significantly varied in stands (CD6.00). Similarly, decomposition in nonleaf litter was varied from 0.3–1.1% during autumn-winter to 19.59–30.05% during summer rainy season and was significantly varied irrespective of seasons. However, percent decomposition of leaf litter and the values of decay constant () were at par in all stands. Total standing state of nutrients in fresh litter as well as release of total nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in due course of decomposition (12 months) was also varying significantly. The rate of nonleaf litter decomposition was significantly positively correlated with air temperature ( in all communities). The significant correlation was observed only in Rhododendron-Sorbus forest community (PRS). Study indicates that the air temperature is a major determinant for nonleaf litter decomposition in this region. Vinod K. Bisht, Bhagwati P. Nautiyal, Chandra P. Kuniyal, P. Prasad, and Rakesh C. Sundriyal Copyright © 2014 Vinod K. Bisht et al. All rights reserved. Seasonal/Interannual Variations of Carbon Sequestration and Carbon Emission in a Warm-Season Perennial Grassland Tue, 11 Nov 2014 06:57:48 +0000 Carbon sequestration and carbon emission are processes of ecosystem carbon cycling that can be affected while land area converted to grassland resulting in increased soil carbon storage and below-ground respiration. Discerning the importance of carbon cycle in grassland, we aimed to estimate carbon sequestration in photosynthesis and carbon emission in respiration from soil, root, and microbes, for four consecutive years (2007–2010) in a warm-season perennial grassland, Japan. Soil carbon emission increased with increasing growing season temperature which ranged from 438 to 1642 mg CO2 m−2 h−1. Four years’ average soil carbon emission for growing season, nongrowing season, and annual emission was 1123, 364, and 1488 g C m−2, respectively. Nongrowing and snow covered season soil carbon emission contributed 23–25% and 14–17% to the annual emission. Above-ground biomass varied seasonally and variation in green biomass affected soil carbon emission with increasing temperature and precipitation. Temperature effect on root carbon emission contributed about 1/4th of the total soil carbon emission. Variation in soil and root carbon emission is affected by below-ground biomass. Long-term estimation concluded that seasonal and interannual variations in carbon sequestration and emission are very common in grassland ecosystem. Deepa Dhital, Tomoharu Inoue, and Hiroshi Koizumi Copyright © 2014 Deepa Dhital et al. All rights reserved. Associated Use Attainment Response between Multiple Aquatic Assemblage Indicators for Evaluating Catchment, Habitat, Water Quality, and Contaminants Wed, 15 Oct 2014 09:48:25 +0000 Use attainability analysis (UAA) at a watershed scale typically relies on the assumption that indicator organisms are responding similarly to the same environmental stressor. Factors explaining variance in fish, crayfish, and macroinvertebrate assemblage structure and function were investigated with emphasis on catchment and reach scale land use, habitat, contaminants, and water quality variables. Habitat quality scores ranged from 25 to 85 (average ). The substrate score, instream cover, riffle-run score, and channel score were primary factors contributing to declining habitat quality. Factor analysis found that four factors explained 69% of the contributed variance in fish assemblage, two factors accounted for 56% of variance in macroinvertebrate assemblages, and two factors explained 49% of the variance in crayfish assemblages. Overall drivers of assemblage structure were associated with broad scale issues of wastewater treatment, groundwater, and land use. Our results show that fish, macroinvertebrate, and crayfish assemblages respond to similar broad scale stimulus; however, the specific constituents responsible for the stress may vary with the magnitude of the cumulative stress, which may be expressed by each organismal group differently. Our data suggest that varying organismal groups can respond independently and stress reflected in one assemblage may not necessarily be observed in another since each organismal group is measuring different aspects of the environment. Thomas P. Simon and Charles C. Morris Copyright © 2014 Thomas P. Simon and Charles C. Morris. All rights reserved. Study on Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Some Tanzanian Rivers as a Basis for Developing Biomonitoring Index for Assessing Pollution in Tropical African Regions Mon, 13 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Macroinvertebrates and physicochemical parameters were assessed at 15 sites along five rivers in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, with the aim of understanding their ecological status and setting a base to the development of a biological index for tropical regions. Investigated rivers that occur within Pangani basin include Karanga, Rau, Lumbanga, Sere, and Umbwe. Sampling sites were categorized according to the level of water and habitat quality as follows: reference or least impacted (4 sites), moderately impacted (5 sites), and highly impacted (6 sites) sites. A total of 12,527 macroinvertebrates belonging to 13 orders and 48 families were recorded. The highest total abundance of 4,110 individuals per m2 was found in Karanga river, while Umbwe river had the lowest with 1,203 individuals per m2. Chironomidae was the most abundant family (2,588 individuals per m2) and the least were Hydridae and Thiaridae, each having 5 individuals per m2. High numbers of taxa were noted among the orders: Ephemeroptera (8), Odonata (8), Diptera (7), and Trichoptera (6). In conclusion, orders with greater diversity of macroinvertebrate families offer a wide range of tolerance to pollution and, thus can potentially be used to develop a biomonitoring index for evaluating pollution in tropical African rivers. Julius D. Elias, Jasper N. Ijumba, Yunus D. Mgaya, and Florence A. Mamboya Copyright © 2014 Julius D. Elias et al. All rights reserved. Impact of Environmental Factors on the Carbon Dynamics at Hooghly Estuarine Region Thu, 11 Sep 2014 07:11:43 +0000 Degradation of litter from mangrove forests adjacent to the creeks at Sagar Island of the Hooghly-Matla estuarine ecosystem is one of the principal sources of nutrient to the estuary. This system receives a major load of carbon from adjacent mangrove forest in the form of litterfall throughout the year. Keeping in view, the effect of environmental factor on the dynamics of carbon is studied through multivariate statistics. Essential environmental variables like soil carbon, dissolved carbon, temperature, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen are analyzed following standard protocol. Multivariate statistical analyses like correlation, regression, and centered PCA ordination are done in order to know the impact of environmental variables on carbon dynamics. The results reflect a close intercorrelation among the studied environmental variables and carbon. It also emphasizes the fact that soil and water temperature, and dissolved oxygen affect soil carbon dynamics, whereas salinity and pH of soil and water greatly regulate dissolved carbon dynamics. The variance pattern of these studied variables through seasons is also enumerated by PCA ordination studies. Joyita Mukherjee, Moitreyee Banerjee, Arnab Banerjee, Madhumita Roy, Phani Bhusan Ghosh, and Santanu Ray Copyright © 2014 Joyita Mukherjee et al. All rights reserved. Surface Water Quality Assessment of Wular Lake, A Ramsar Site in Kashmir Himalaya, Using Discriminant Analysis and WQI Sun, 31 Aug 2014 06:32:52 +0000 Multivariate techniques, discriminant analysis, and WQI were applied to analyze a water quality data set including 27 parameters at 5 sites of the Lake Wular in Kashmir Himalaya from 2011 to 2013 to investigate spatiotemporal variations and identify potential pollution sources. Spatial and temporal variations in water quality parameters were evaluated through stepwise discriminant analysis (DA). The first spatial discriminant function (DF) accounted for 76.5% of the total spatial variance, and the second DF accounted for 19.1%. The mean values of water temperature, EC, total-N, K, and silicate showed a strong contribution to discriminate the five sampling sites. The mean concentration of NO2-N, total-N, and sulphate showed a strong contribution to discriminate the four sampling seasons and accounted for most of the expected seasonal variations. The order of major cations and anions was and respectively. The results of water quality index, employing thirteen core parameters vital for drinking water purposes, showed values of 49.2, 46.5, 47.3, 40.6, and 37.1 for sites I, II, III, IV, and V, respectively. These index values reflect that the water of lake is in good condition for different purposes but increased values alarm us about future repercussions. Salim Aijaz Bhat and Ashok K. Pandit Copyright © 2014 Salim Aijaz Bhat and Ashok K. Pandit. All rights reserved. Habitat Preference and Population Ecology of Limpets Cellana karachiensis (Winckworth) and Siphonaria siphonaria (Sowerby) at Veraval Coast of Kathiawar Peninsula, India Sun, 17 Aug 2014 12:19:18 +0000 Present study reports the habitat preference and spatiotemporal variations in the population abundance of limpets Cellana karachiensis and Siphonaria siphonaria inhabiting rocky intertidal zones of Veraval coast, Kathiawar Peninsula, India. The entire intertidal zone of the Veraval coast was divided into five microsampling sites based on their substratum type and assemblage structure. Extensive field surveys were conducted every month in these microsampling sites and the population abundance of two limpet species was analyzed using belt transect method. The results revealed that C. karachiensis was the dominating species at microsampling Site-1 (having rocky substratum) possibly due to its ability to tolerate high desiccation, salinity, and temperature fluctuations, while the S. siphonaria was found to be the most dominating species at microsampling Site-2 (having rocky substratum with abundant algal population) possibly due to their preference for the perpetual wet areas. The study also indicated that S. siphonaria preferred upper littoral zone where the green algae were abundant while C. karachiensis preferred the spray zone, where it faces almost no competition for space and food with other molluscs. The condition of the spray zone is very harsh for other species to survive. Julee Faladu, Bhavik Vakani, Paresh Poriya, and Rahul Kundu Copyright © 2014 Julee Faladu et al. All rights reserved. Variation in Seedling Growth of Tamarindus indica (L.): A Threatening Medicinal Fruit Tree Species in Bangladesh Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:14:15 +0000 Seedling growth is a precondition for conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources which depends upon understanding of breeding system, genetic inconsistency, and evolutionary forces in forest tree improvement. The aim of this study was to determine variation in seedling growth and age-age correlations of Tamarindus indica at population level in Bangladesh. The study revealed significant () differences of seasonal variation in seedling growth. Height and collar diameter growth showed significant () positive correlation with mean monthly rainfall. The study also revealed significant difference () of seedling growth among T. indica population. PCA illustrated rainfall, height growth, and diameter growth as the main characters in this study which defined drought as an additive character for this species. Cluster analysis of similarity showed how seedlings from 22.67°N latitude (origin) separated from others. An increasing trend of age-age correlation was identified in both cases of shoot height and diameter growth. The study concluded that seed collection for either ex situ conservation or seedling production can be done from 22.67°N latitude as seedlings from that area performed better than others, and early clonal selection of T. indica can be done at the age of 9 months. Md. Salim Azad, Nurun Nahar, Abdus Subhan Mollick, and Md. Abdul Matin Copyright © 2014 Md. Salim Azad et al. All rights reserved. Trends in Tree Diversity and Stand Structure during Restoration: A Case Study in Fragmented Moist Deciduous Forest Ecosystems of Northeast India Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:37:43 +0000 Ecological implications for the conservation of fragmented forests to managed local plant diversity have recently drawn much attention of most conservationists. Present study investigates the importance of fragmented forests using different quantitative measures of species diversity and stand structure as indicators of natural restoration from past disturbances. Eleven independent 500 m × 10 m belt transects (5.5 ha) were established within fragmented low land moist deciduous forests of Tripura. All woody plants ≥10 cm girth at breast height (GBH) were measured. A total of 7,134 individuals with mean density of 648.55 stems ha−1 and 16.36 m2 ha−1 of basal area were recorded, which represented 134 species, 93 genera, and 43 families of woody plants. Diversity-dominance curve showed that maximum number of species were ranked >10 due to low abundance value. Maximum distributions of stems (>50%) were recorded at lowest girth class (10–30 cm) as an indication of advanced regeneration and significantly declined towards upper girth (; ) and height (; ) classes, which also indicated that some plants were adopted with ongoing disturbances through both seeded and nonseeded regeneration. Species richness (; ), dominance (; ), and density (; ) were significantly increased at different disturbance intensities. Disturbances strongly influenced typical community association and structure by increasing diversity and population at certain magnitude and thereby showed declining trend towards maturation. Fragmented moist deciduous forests seek immediate attention as they represent spatial habitat for many economical or ecological important species, thus sustaining local biodiversity for livelihoods. Koushik Majumdar, Uma Shankar, and Badal Kumar Datta Copyright © 2014 Koushik Majumdar et al. All rights reserved. Application of Remote Sensing and Developed Allometric Models for Estimating Wood Carbon Stocks in a North-Western Miombo Woodland Landscape of Tanzania Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:50:04 +0000 Quantifying ecosystem carbon stocks is vital for understanding the relationship between changes in land use and cover (LULC) and carbon emissions; however, few studies have documented the impacts of carbon cycling on Miombo ecosystems. Here, we estimate the amounts of wood carbon which is stored and lost as a result of LULC changes in Kagoma Forest Reserve (KFR) for the periods between 1988 and 2010 using GIS data, Landsat imagery, and field observations. The land cover was captured on the basis of Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM. The amounts of wood carbon stored and lost were estimated based on four previously developed allometric models. Spatial analysis of the Landsat images shows that in the year 1988, woodlands dominated the area by covering 32.66% whereas in the year 2010 the woodlands covered only 7.34% of the total area. The findings of the current study reveal that KFR had undergone notable changes in terms of LULC for the period of 1988–2010. It was estimated that the woodlands in the KFR lost an average of 4409.79 t . In this study, the amount of carbon stocks stored was estimated to be 21457.02 tonnes in tree stem biomass based on the area (1226.12 ha) that was covered by woodlands. We estimated that an average of 17.79 t was stored in the Miombo woodlands based on the four models. The efforts to ensure sustainable management of the Miombo ecosystem can contribute to the creation of a considerable carbon sink. Geofrey Soka and Nanjiva Nzunda Copyright © 2014 Geofrey Soka and Nanjiva Nzunda. All rights reserved. Nutrient and Phytoplankton Dynamics along the Ocean Road Sewage Discharge Channel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Wed, 04 Jun 2014 08:56:57 +0000 Ocean Road shoreline is situated close to Dar es Salaam largest fish market and is subjected to sewage discharge. In this study, temporal and spatial variations of physicochemical parameters and phytoplankton were studied in five stations along the Ocean Road Coast. Phytoplankton composition, temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), salinity, water clarity, pH, and dissolved inorganic nutrients (DIN) including nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate were measured. Results revealed that DIN were significantly higher in the station close to the discharge point than other stations (). There were no significant temporal variations in DIN except nitrate that was significantly higher during Northeast Monsoon than Southeast Monsoon (). Other environmental parameters showed no significant differences except clarity, conductivity, and DO. Occurrence of potential harmful species such as Trichodesmium, Microcystis, and Pseudo-nitzschia was observed. The phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll a) ranged from 3.2 to 56.5 mg m−3 and 18 to 113 mg m−3 for Mjimwema (MJ) and Ocean Road (OR) stations, respectively. There was significant difference () in chlorophyll a among the stations being higher in OR II. The phytoplankton biomass was positively correlated with nutrient concentration in all stations except OR I. This study suggests an alarming level of DIN at OR that may alter phytoplankton biomass, abundance, and composition. Mariam I. Hamisi and Florence A. Mamboya Copyright © 2014 Mariam I. Hamisi and Florence A. Mamboya. All rights reserved. How Good is the Governance Status in Community Forestry? A Case Study from Midhills in Nepal Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:26:20 +0000 Five representative community forest user groups (CFUGs) from Gorkha district in Nepal were studied in order to evaluate the status of good governance in community forestry (CF). Eight criteria and their local indicators were employed to quantify the governance status in CF using simple mathematical procedures. Results show that overall governance level ranges from 70.7% to 79.8%. Among the eight criteria, “consensus-oriented” received the highest score (90.72%), and “accountability” acquired the lowest score (65.34%). Lack of accountability was the striking factor in all CFUGs. Crafting CFUGs and their executive committees more accountable and responsive to all CFUG users including poor, women, and disadvantaged groups, was one of the major challenges. However, the practice of regular auditing of CFUG funds, maintenance of records and other documents, and inclusion of women and poor in the executive committee were some striking opportunities. Because of the inequitable distribution system of forest products, the gap between the rich and poor users is widening and the involvement of poor and marginalized members in CFUG activities has been decreasing. Dhananjaya Lamichhane and Rajan Parajuli Copyright © 2014 Dhananjaya Lamichhane and Rajan Parajuli. All rights reserved. A New Trophic State Index for Lagoons Sun, 09 Mar 2014 07:29:17 +0000 This paper proposes a new nitrogen-based trophic state index (TSI) for the estimation of status of eutrophication in a lagoon system. Nitrite-nitrogen (NO2-N) is preferable because of its greater abundance in Chilika lagoon and its relation to other criteria of trophic state, for example, chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and Secchi disk depth (SDD). Nitrite is preferable over nitrate because the former decreases the fluorescence and affects photosynthesis, thereby controlling primary production. This paper also computes TSI using Chl-a and SDD. The three parameters account for the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of the lagoon. It will be possible to estimate the TSI of freshwater and brackish water lagoons and other water bodies using the new expressions taking into consideration the spatial and temporal variability in the dataset. Depending on the data availability, alternative TSI (Chl-a) and TSI (SDD) can account for the biological and physical contributions to eutrophication. The estimated TSI can account for Chl-a and NO2-N up to 322.18 mg m−3 and 61.99 μg L−1, respectively. The TSI based on these three parameters can serve as a complimentary and predictive tool for lagoon management and field programs to monitor the health of a lagoon. Mukesh Gupta Copyright © 2014 Mukesh Gupta. All rights reserved. Ecological Characteristics That Enhance Broussonetia papyrifera’s Invasion in a Semideciduous Forest in Ghana Wed, 05 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent. (Moraceae) was introduced to Ghana in 1969 and has since become second only to Chromolaena odorata as an invasive species in Ghanaian forests. This study determined its ecological traits that enhance its invasion of plant communities. Fruiting and viability patterns were studied through monthly monitoring of 985 trees (≥6 cm gbh) in one forest site. The effect of light on its seed germination was tested in light-proof boxes. Means of propagation were determined by tracking the origin of newly regenerated plants on a newly cleared plot of land that B. papyrifera had occupied. It fruited twice a year with one season (January–March) producing more fruits than the other (July-August). Fruiting occurred in trees as small as 9 cm gbh but the percentage of individuals fruiting in each size class increased with tree size. There was a clear pattern of seed viability during the January–March fruiting period. The species did not appear to have a naturally high seed viability with germination always below 50% of each weekly collection. Seed germination was depressed in dark. These results suggest that the species may be competitive in disturbed forest sites and therefore its spread may be aided by forest degradation. B. Kyereh, V. K. Agyeman, and I. K. Abebrese Copyright © 2014 B. Kyereh et al. All rights reserved. Social and Ecological Drivers of the Economic Value of Pollination Services Delivered to Coffee in Central Uganda Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000 On-farm pollination experiments were conducted in 30 different small-scale coffee fields to determine monetary value attributable to pollination services in coffee production and to identify the degree of influences of various socio-ecological drivers in Uganda. Ecological-economic approaches were applied to determine the economic value of pollinating services. Economic value of bees increased significantly with increase in coffee farm size, bee diversity, and cover of seminatural habitats. The value of bees declined sharply () with forest distance and cultivation intensity. Economic values of pollinating services associated with coffee fields established in regions with low intensity were found to be high. Organically managed small-scale coffee fields were 2 times more profitable than commercially managed farms. The annual value of pollinating services delivered by wild bees oscillated between US$67.18 and US$1431.36. Central Uganda produces in total 0.401 million tons of coffee beans for an approximate economic value of US$214 million from which US$149.42 million are attributable to pollination services. Policy makers should strengthen environmental/agricultural extension service systems to better serve farmers. Farmers are recommended to protect/increase the cover of natural and semi-natural habitats in the vicinity of their coffee fields to receive high economic benefits from pollinating services delivered by bees. Bin Mushambanyi Théodore Munyuli Copyright © 2014 Bin Mushambanyi Théodore Munyuli. All rights reserved. Dynamics of Dissolved Oxygen in Relation to Saturation and Health of an Aquatic Body: A Case for Chilka Lagoon, India Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:19:31 +0000 Dissolved oxygen (DO) is essential for an aquatic ecosystem since it controls the biological productivity. Here, we propose a unidimensional dynamic model for DO by incorporating biological (photosynthesis, respiration, and mineralization), physical (atmospheric reaeration) and chemical (nitrification) processes so characteristic of shallow coastal water bodies. The analytical study of the proposed model is focussed on supersaturation and undersaturation of oxygen in the water body. The controllability of the ecosystem health has also been investigated. Model results indicate that, while undersaturation of oxygen is largely governed by nitrification and Net Ecosystem Metabolism (NEM), the supersaturation is controlled by photosynthetic activity. The model results are corroborated with observed data collected from Chilka lagoon, India. Subsequently, a biogeochemical model to study the DO variations in Chilka lagoon has been constructed. The model is properly calibrated and validated with observed data. Two independent sets of data (2004-2005 and 2005-2006) were used for model calibration and validation and Chi-square tests supported its robustness ( and 0.987; ). The model was used to evaluate independently the influence of individual taxa (diatoms, microphytobenthos, and cyanophyceans) on DO variations. Simulations indicate the vital role of microphytobenthos in lagoon DO dynamics and the overall wellbeing. B. S. R. V. Prasad, P. D. N. Srinivasu, P. Sarada Varma, A. V. Raman, and Santanu Ray Copyright © 2014 B. S. R. V. Prasad et al. All rights reserved. Population Structure and Curative Uses of Invasive Plants in and around the Protected Forests of Bangladesh: A Means of Utilization of Potential Invasive Species Wed, 12 Feb 2014 06:44:41 +0000 Invasive plants were planted in Bangladesh to improve the stand stock quickly and meet the country’s rapidly growing demand for timber. Although invasive species have negative impacts on local ecosystems, but some species are useful too. Therefore, the present study was conducted in and around two protected forests of Bangladesh to assess the status, species diversity, and curative uses of invasive plants. A total of 60 sample plots were surveyed from 5 habitat types, for example, forest, roadside, homestead, fallow land, and others. Plants uses data were collected through interviews and focus group discussions. Study recorded 43 invasive medicinal plant species belonging to 28 families, of which Asteraceae constituted the highest family importance value (21.9). Among the habitat types, fallow land (32 species) and roadside (29 species) possess the highest number of species. Based on people’s perceptions, plants were categorized into three level of invasion: low (11 species), moderate (19 species), and high (13 species). The use of aerial plant parts was higher (68%) than the whole plant (17%). Consensus of local community’s (ICF) was high in managing gastrointestinal (0.65) followed by respiratory (0.60) diseases. A number of biological diversity indices were applied to quantify definite diversity. Therefore, a national programme must be initiated to increased invasive plant inventory, monitoring, and research on distinguishing the harmful from the harmless species and identifying the potential uses of invasive species. Md. Habibur Rahman and Bishwajit Roy Copyright © 2014 Md. Habibur Rahman and Bishwajit Roy. All rights reserved. Statistical Assessment of Water Quality Parameters for Pollution Source Identification in Sukhnag Stream: An Inflow Stream of Lake Wular (Ramsar Site), Kashmir Himalaya Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:29:55 +0000 The precursors of deterioration of immaculate Kashmir Himalaya water bodies are apparent. This study statistically analyzes the deteriorating water quality of the Sukhnag stream, one of the major inflow stream of Lake Wular. Statistical techniques, such as principal component analysis (PCA), regression analysis, and cluster analysis, were applied to 26 water quality parameters. PCA identified a reduced number of mean 2 varifactors, indicating that 96% of temporal and spatial changes affect the water quality in this stream. First factor from factor analysis explained 66% of the total variance between velocity, total-P, NO3–N, Ca2+, Na+, TS, TSS, and TDS. Bray-Curtis cluster analysis showed a similarity of 96% between sites IV and V and 94% between sites II and III. The dendrogram of seasonal similarity showed a maximum similarity of 97% between spring and autumn and 82% between winter and summer clusters. For nitrate, nitrite, and chloride, the trend in accumulation factor (AF) showed that the downstream concentrations were about 2.0, 2.0, and 2.9, times respectively, greater than upstream concentrations. Salim Aijaz Bhat, Gowhar Meraj, Sayar Yaseen, and Ashok K. Pandit Copyright © 2014 Salim Aijaz Bhat et al. All rights reserved. Gastrointestinal Helminth Parasites Community of Fish Species in a Niger Delta Tidal Creek, Nigeria Sun, 12 Jan 2014 06:36:14 +0000 A pool of fish species in a Niger Delta tidal creek, Buguma Creek, Nigeria, collected monthly from November 2004 to June 2006, at flood tides, were examined for gastrointestinal helminth parasites. The fish species were caught with hooks and lines and cast nets. Only nematode parasites were encountered in the study. Of the 1,149 fish specimens examined, 213 (representing 18.5%) were infected with various nematodes parasites. Dasyatis margarita had the highest prevalence rate of 66.7% (2 infected out of 3 examined), followed by Pseudotolithus (Pseudotolithus) senegalensis with a prevalence of 41.7% (10 infected out of 24), while the least infected were Arius gigas and Pomadasys jubelini with prevalence of 3.8% and 1.4%, respectively. No infection was recorded in Elops lacerta, Gobius sp., Lutjanus agennes, L. goreensis, Argyrosomus regius, Sphyraena guachancho, S. sphyraena, Cynoglossus senegalensis, Sarotherodon melanotheron, Tilapia guineensis, Liza falcipinnis, Mugil cephalus, and M. curema. The nematode parasites, Capillaria zederi, and Aplectana hamatospicula had the highest prevalence of 33.3% in D. margarita. Laurotravassoxyuris sp. also had the same prevalence in Trichiurus lepturus. Goezia sigalasi had the second highest prevalence of 12.5% in P. (Fonticulus) elongatus which had the highest number examined, due to its high dominance in the water. Anthony Ekata Ogbeibu, Christopher Ehighaukho Okaka, and Blessing Julius Oribhabor Copyright © 2014 Anthony Ekata Ogbeibu et al. All rights reserved. Microcystin Contamination in Sea Mussel Farms from the Italian Southern Adriatic Coast following Cyanobacterial Blooms in an Artificial Reservoir Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000 An experimental study was performed in 2009-2010 to investigate the polluting effect of eutrophic inland waters communicating with the sea coast. The study was planned after a heavy and long-lasting Planktothrix rubescens bloom occurred in the Lake Occhito, an artificial reservoir. The waters of the reservoir flow into the southern Adriatic Sea, near several marine breeding of Mytilus galloprovincialis mussels, a typical seafood from the Apulia region (Southern Italy). A monitoring study of water and mussels from the sea coast of northern Apulia region and on the Occhito reservoir was carried out over twelve months, to get more information regarding the contamination by cyanobacteria and related cyanotoxins. Elisa immunoassay analyses estimated total microcystin amounts from 1.73 to 256 ng/g in mussels, up to 0.61 μg/L in sea water and up to 298.7 μg/L in lake water. Analyses of some samples of free-living marine clams as well as of marine and freshwater fish proved microcystin contamination. Selective confirmatory analyses by LC/ESI-Q-ToF-MS/MS on some mussel samples identified the microcystin desMe-MC-RR as the major toxin; this compound has been reported in the literature as a specific marker toxin of Planktothrix rubescens blooms. Our study describes for the first time the direct relationship between environmental pollution and food safety, caused by seafood contamination from freshwater toxic blooms. De Pace Rita, Vita Valeria, Bucci Maria Silvia, Gallo Pasquale, and Bruno Milena Copyright © 2014 De Pace Rita et al. All rights reserved. The Range of Prey Size of the Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarbans Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:45:47 +0000 Relatively little is known about the feeding habit of the Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarbans and the relative biomass of individual prey base species that the predator consumes during each kill. This is the first attempt to collect such data from the study area. Data sets of two phases have been used. Identification of undigested remains of 214 tiger scat samples was carried out. A comparison with Sundarbans tigers in zoo has been made. In its natural habitat, the tiger consumes more of spotted deer, followed by wild boar, rhesus monkey, and water monitor. Though the tiger consumes a relatively low proportion of small prey species to meet its dietary requirements, it gains importance in the present perspective. Significant increase is noted in the relative number of prey species consumed in the second phase, which correlates well with increased prey availability. Hypotheses formulated to find the difference in prey biomass and relative number of prey consumed have been tested statistically. A significant difference in terms of relative number of prey consumed only was derived which has been qualitatively correlated with the positive effect of increased vigilance, as revealed by secondary data, on conserving tiger habitat vis-a-vis the increased prey availability in Sundarbans. Subrat Mukherjee and Neera Sen Sarkar Copyright © 2013 Subrat Mukherjee and Neera Sen Sarkar. All rights reserved. Spatial Assessment of a Biocriteria Applied to Texas Tidal Streams Mon, 04 Nov 2013 15:29:04 +0000 This study reports on a derived multivariate method for assessing ecosystem health within tidally influenced portions of river basins and coastal basins. These tidally influenced areas are highly productive transitional areas which serve as important nursery areas for many fish and shellfish species. Numerous Texas tidal streams under varying degrees of anthropogenic stressors were analyzed jointly with this new, standardized methodology. Physical and chemical constituents of the tidal systems, as well as their resident nekton communities, were compared with nonparametric ordination techniques in order to uncover a biocriteria that might have general applicability over large spatial scales. All of the tidal stream communities were dominated by only a few taxa that each displays tremendous euryhaline/physiological tolerances, and these abilities allow taxa utilizing tidal streams to adapt to a wide variety of environmental stressors. The absence of any clear connections between degraded water-bodies and any impaired nektonic communities should not automatically be viewed as a constraint inherent to the techniques of the methodology presented, but rather a verification that impaired tidal streams are not that common of an occurrence along the Texas coast, at least not when using nekton communities as the degradation indicator. James M. Tolan and Janet M. Nelson Copyright © 2013 James M. Tolan and Janet M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Status of Coral Reef Communities on Two Carbonate Platforms (Tun Sakaran Marine Park, East Sabah, Malaysia) Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:41:42 +0000 This study concerns three sites, located on carbonate platforms, east Sabah: Gaya West, Gaya East, and Mantabuan. At each site, the dominant coral shapes and their health were recorded (lagoons and outer slopes). Densities of echinoderms, Tridacna, and nudibranchs were recorded while fish density was estimated. Generally, the coral vitality is low (≤50% living corals). Massive corals dominate all sites, except the Gaya West-outer slope where coral coverage and diversity are the highest. On the Mantabuan-mesh reef, a diverse Acropora assemblage dominates the landscape. On the reef flat of Gaya East, monospecific circa 10 meter coral patches occur. Primary producers are scarce on all sites. Sea urchins, dominated by Diadema, are abundant on the Gaya East-reef flat and the Gaya West-mesh reef. Sea stars and holothurids are the most prevalent in Gaya West-outer slope, although they remain scarce. Crinoids are only abundant in Mantabuan. Stegastes damselfish highly characterizes the sites of Gaya East (reef flat and inner slope) and the Mantabuan-mesh reef. On the Mantabuan-outer slope, parrotfish and other fishes are plentiful. No sign of eutrophication has been detected and natural hypersedimentation and/or eventual ancient bleaching events appear to be the direct principal causes of coral death or coral degradation. A. Montagne, O. Naim, C. Tourrand, B. Pierson, and D. Menier Copyright © 2013 A. Montagne et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of the Ecological Impact of Human Settlement on the Water Quality of Lower Cross River, Nigeria Sun, 27 Oct 2013 08:38:50 +0000 The ecological impact of human settlement on the water quality of Lower Cross River, Nigeria was evaluated. The physical and chemical conditions of the river water were determined from January to August, 2011. Three stations comprising Itu in Akwa Ibom State with intense human activities (station 2), its upstream (without human settlement) at Cross River State (station 1) and the downstream (station 3) were sampled. The Parametric One Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) indicated that of the 17 physical and chemical parameters determined, only water level and COD were found to be significantly different () among stations. The spatial variations in the level of significant correlation of the physical and chemical parameters among the stations and the higher level of interrelationship in downstream station 2 and 3 than station 1 could be attributed to inputs resulting from human settlement. Comparison between some parameters with Standard Organization of Nigeria, and World Health Organization maximum permitted levels for drinking water indicated that the water was not polluted. However, the BOD and COD concentrations of greater than 2 mg/L and 20 mg/L respectively were indicative of pollution. B. J. Oribhabor, O. M. Udoidiong, D. F. Udoh, and B. E. Akpan Copyright © 2013 B. J. Oribhabor et al. All rights reserved. Application of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Water Budget Manual to Finderne Farms Wetland Mitigation and Assessment of Project Performance Tue, 01 Oct 2013 12:24:14 +0000 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NY District’s wetland mitigation proposal for Finderne Farms in Bridgewater, NJ, was approved in August 2005 by the state regulatory agency. The design goal was to provide mitigation for wetlands impacted by the Green Brook Flood Control project at a ratio of 2 : 1. As part of the design process in 2001, the available historical hydrologic data was evaluated. At that time, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Water Budget Manual was not available as a tool for accessing an acceptable design hydroperiod. Construction of the Finderne mitigation site was completed in July 2006. A six-year postconstruction monitoring program has determined that certain areas at the site have not achieved the established wetland success criteria. In 2012, there was a 28% survival of planted woody vegetation and a 74% cover of invasive species within Creation Area 1, a palustrine forested wetland. With the advent of the Water Budget Manual, a reevaluation of the historical hydrologic data was performed. Based on this analysis, the hydroperiod and soil moisture conditions are not representative of sustainable wetlands. Adaptive management measures are currently being developed and evaluated to improve the hydrology, hydric soil conditions, and survival of target vegetation at the Finderne site. Roy C. Messaros Copyright © 2013 Roy C. Messaros. All rights reserved. Investigating the Effect of Aspirin on Mercury Toxicity Sun, 08 Sep 2013 12:47:14 +0000 The effect of aspirin on the toxicology of mercury was investigated by using fish. The variations between blood parameters of the fish, which were made exposed directly to mercury solutions prepared at certain concentrations (500 μg/L, 250 μg/L, 125 μg/L, 62.5 μg/L, and 31.25 μg/L), and blood parameters of the fish, which were made exposed to mercury at the same concentrations after they had been interacting with aspirin, were investigated. At the end of the study, increases in blood parameters were observed depending on the increases in mercury concentration. Statistically significant variations were observed in blood parameters of the fish, which were made exposed to mercury at the same concentrations after they had been interacting with aspirin, compared to blood parameters of the fish, which were made exposed directly to mercury (). It was found that aspirin has caused significant increases in especially the levels of serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotranspherase and significant decreases in cortisol and glucose levels among to blood parameters. It was concluded that aspirin alters the toxic effect of mercury. Fatih Polat and Tarık Dal Copyright © 2013 Fatih Polat and Tarık Dal. All rights reserved. Short-Term Photochemical and Biological Unreactivity of Macrophyte-Derived Dissolved Organic Matter in a Subtropical Shallow Lake Tue, 30 Jul 2013 08:26:38 +0000 Macrophytes have been associated with low bacterial metabolism in the littoral zones of lake Mangueira, but an explanation for this pattern is largely unknown. In this study, macrophyte-derived DOM was incubated in situ for the measurement of the effect of grazers, bacteria, and light on its degradation in three experiments. The water was separated in bulk, bacterial, and control (+ HgCl2) fractions and exposed to or hidden from sunlight for 120 h. Unchange in bacterial variables in the bulk fraction suggested a combined control of radiation and grazing on bacteria. Light treatment increased bacterial density but not biomass and biovolume, while bacterial density decreased in the dark. Significant fading of water color in the bacterial fraction only occurred after light exposure, indicating a complementary pathway of light and bacteria. DOC and the Abs250 : 365 ratio did not change with incubation, indicating no net change of DOC pool and reactivity. Due to continuous carbon loading from macrophytes and low UV irradiance, the very low rates of DOM degradation provide the mechanistic explanation for the observed impacts of macrophytes in lake’s carbon metabolism in littoral zones. Ng Haig They, David Motta Marques, Rafael Siqueira Souza, and Lúcia Ribeiro Rodrigues Copyright © 2013 Ng Haig They et al. All rights reserved. Comparison of Two PARAFAC Models of Dissolved Organic Matter Fluorescence for a Mid-Atlantic Forested Watershed in the USA Thu, 11 Jul 2013 09:18:45 +0000 The composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in a mid-Atlantic forested watershed was evaluated using two fluorescence models—one based on previously validated model (Cory and McKnight, 2005) and the other developed specifically for our study site. DOM samples for the models were collected from multiple watershed sources over a two-year period. The previously validated parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) model had 13 DOM components whereas our site-specific model yielded six distinct components including two terrestrial humic-like, two microbial-derived humic-like, and two protein-like components. The humic-like components were highest in surficial watershed sources and decreased from soil water to groundwater whereas the protein-like components were highest for groundwater sources. Discriminant analyses indicated that our site-specific model was more sensitive to subtle differences in DOM and the sum of the humic- and protein-like constituents yielded more pronounced differences among watershed sources as opposed to the prevalidated model. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) concentrations and selected DOM metrics were also more strongly correlated with the site-specific model components. These results suggest that while the pre-validated model may capture broader trends in DOM composition and allow comparisons with other study sites, a site-specific model will be more sensitive for characterizing within-site differences in DOM. Shatrughan Singh, Shreeram Inamdar, and Durelle Scott Copyright © 2013 Shatrughan Singh et al. All rights reserved.