Journal of Ecosystems http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/724728/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/874013/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/270956/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/845142/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/714734/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/271456/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/541374/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/152473/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/270196/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/298141/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/526245/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/249807/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/898054/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/246283/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2014/374027/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/351756/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/726594/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/358183/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/840295/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/983438/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/737059/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/316709/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/532424/ 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. Changes in Regulating Ecosystem Services following Establishing Exclosures on Communal Grazing Lands in Ethiopia: A Synthesis Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:29:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/860736/ In four separate studies undertaken in the northern highlands of Ethiopia, changes in regulating ecosystem services, economic viability, and the perception of local communities following establishing exclosures on communal grazing lands were investigated. Replicated 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year-old exclosures were selected and paired each exclosure with an adjacent grazing land. All exclosures displayed higher ecosystem services than communal grazing lands. Differences between exclosures and grazing lands varied between 29 (±4.9) and 61 (±6.7) Mg C ha−1 for ecosystem carbon stock (ECS), 2.4 (±0.6) and 6.9 (±1.8) Mg ha−1 for total soil N stock, and 17 (±3) to 39 (±7) Kg ha−1 for the available P stock, and all differences increased with exclosure duration. Differences in plant species richness and biomass between an exclosure age and communal grazing land were higher in oldest than in youngest exclosures. Over a period of 30 years, sequestered carbon dioxide was 246 Mg ha−1, total soil nitrogen increased by 7.9 Mg ha−1, and additional available phosphorous stocks amounted to 40 kg ha−1. The Net Present Value of exclosures ecosystem services under consideration was about 28% (837 US$) higher than alternative wheat production indicating that exclosures are competitive to alternative land uses. There are substantial opportunities to mobilize the local communities in efforts to establish exclosures, given that more than 75% had a positive view on exclosures effectiveness to restore degraded ecosystems. Establishing exclosures on communal grazing lands can be effective for restoring degraded ecosystems and the services that they provide. Wolde Mekuria Copyright © 2013 Wolde Mekuria. All rights reserved. Dinoflagellate Bloom of Karenia mikimotoi along the Southeast Arabian Sea, Bordering Western India Sun, 02 Jun 2013 15:23:06 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/463720/ A harmful algal bloom (HAB) occurred along the southeast Arabian Sea, bordering Western India, during September to November 2004. This bloom was unique in the region in terms of its large spatial extent, and the trend was weakened towards November. Mass mortality of fish, emanation of noxious odour, and respiratory problems among the children on the coastal stretch were noticed. The phytoplankton species Gymnodiniium, class Dinophyceae bloom accounted for 98% of the standing crop. The bloom Karenia mikimotoi showed a maximum density of  cells L−1 and  cells L−1 at nearshore and offshore, respectively. The remotely sensed chlorophyll a (Chl a) data from seaWiFS, sea surface temperature (SST) from advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR), rainfall from tropical rainfall measuring Mission (TRMM), and Sea winds from QuickSCAT reflected the bloom due to Karenia mikimotoi, suggesting the advection process at the coastal waters. The release of toxins specifically the neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) and azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP) from the bloom was assessed by chemical and mouse bioassay of the extract from mussel Perna indica, showing negative results. These indicate that asphyxiation and abnormal mucus secreted by the K. mikimotoi led to clogging of gills that accentuated the mass fish kills. R. S. Robin, Vishnu Vardhan Kanuri, Pradipta R. Muduli, Rajani K. Mishra, M. Jaikumar, P. Karthikeyan, C. Suresh Kumar, and C. Saravana Kumar Copyright © 2013 R. S. Robin et al. All rights reserved. The Assimilation and Retention of Carbon in Upland Heath Plant Communities Typical of Contrasting Management Regimes: A 13C Tracer Study Mon, 15 Apr 2013 13:34:45 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/209890/ Upland heath is an extensive habitat in the UK and is currently managed for a range of objectives: agricultural grazing, sporting interests, and biodiversity conservation. Increasingly land management will also have to address the provision of the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration (transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere into long-lived pools for storage). This study investigates carbon sequestration in Calluna- and Nardus-dominated upland heath vegetation communities in NE Scotland, which typically occurs as a result of low and high intensity management (grazing and burning) regimes, respectively. A 13CO2 tracer experiment compared the rate of carbon assimilation and the retention of assimilated carbon over six weeks during the growing season between these two communities. There was no difference in 13CO2 uptake between Calluna- or Nardus-dominated vegetation communities and they both retained over 40% of the assimilated 13C after six weeks. The 13C retained was mostly held in Calluna leaf and stem tissue in the Calluna-dominated community and in graminoid leaves in the Nardus-dominated community. Consideration of the strategies of the dominant species and the attributes of the tissues in which 13C was retained suggests that Calluna-dominated vegetation may be of greater benefit to carbon sequestration in the longer term. Samuel L. O. Quin, Tara R. A. Conolly, Rebekka R. E. Artz, Andrew Coupar, and Sarah J. Woodin Copyright © 2013 Samuel L. O. Quin et al. All rights reserved. Cumulative Impacts of Human Interventions and Climate Change on Mangrove Ecosystems of South and Southeast Asia: An Overview Tue, 09 Apr 2013 10:38:21 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/379429/ The paper provides an insight into the chronological extinction of the Indo-Malayan mangroves along the South and Southeast Asian coast and categorizes several area-specific anthropogenic and climatic factors that triggered the annihilation of 1.9 million ha of diverse mangroves. On a regional scale, coastal agricultural land development and shrimp farming were identified as major factors accounting for 90% of the reported loss. The paper also focuses on the existing mangrove management framework of nine developing countries of this region and conducts a comparative analysis of the prevailing legislative arrangement for mangrove management. In general, weak enforcements of legal measures and improper monitoring have been identified as major drawbacks in conservation and restoration initiatives. On the other hand, this paper strongly encourages the prospects of community-based mangrove management (CBMM) and provides good examples from the ecoregion through comparative case studies. Finally, it concludes with recommendations that outline a suitable mangrove management strategy involving more community empowerment, legalization and mainstreaming of comanagement initiatives, inclusive benefit sharing, and regional cooperation for transboundary ecosystem management. Rajarshi DasGupta and Rajib Shaw Copyright © 2013 Rajarshi DasGupta and Rajib Shaw. All rights reserved. Preliminary Study on Physico-Chemical Parameters and Phytoplankton of Chiffa River (Blida, Algeria) Thu, 28 Mar 2013 09:17:46 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/148793/ The present study was carried out to determine the monthly variations of physico-chemical parameters in water samples from Chiffa river at Blida, North West of Algeria from April to August 2006. Water samples were analyzed for physico-chemical parameters and the results showed their monthly variations as follows: pH 7.5-7.6, electrical conductivity 0.87–1.06 mS·cm−1, nitrate 0–7.00 mg·L−1, nitrite 0–0.28 mg·L−1, ammonia 0–0.03 mg·L−1, phosphate 0–0.94 mg·L−1, sodium 19.3–47.0 mg·L−1, chloride 35.7–52.0 mg·L−1, calcium 90.3–104.7 mg·L−1, magnesium 27.3–37.7 mg·L−1, organic matter 0.4–3.9 mg·L−1, chlorophyll a 0.7–132.3 mg·L−1, and bicarbonate 219.3–248.7 mg·L−1. The analyzed physico-chemical parameters were almost not exceeded the maximum permissible limit of WHO and Algerian Water Quality Guidelines. A total of 53 taxa belonging to 4 divisions have been identified, including Chlorophyta (52.83% of taxa), Bacillariophyta (28.30%), Cyanophyceae (16.98%), and Charophyta (1.89%). Fella Hamaidi-Chergui, Mohamed Brahim Errahmani, Fatouma Benouaklil, and Mohand Said Hamaidi Copyright © 2013 Fella Hamaidi-Chergui et al. All rights reserved.