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Industrial arsenic contamination causes catastrophic changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Chen G, Shi H, Tao J, Chen L, Liu Y, Lei G, Liu X, Smol JP - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: Heavy metal pollution is now widely recognized to pose severe health and environmental threats, yet much of what is known concerning its adverse impacts on ecosystem health is derived from short-term ecotoxicological studies.Concurrently, coherent responses in keystone biota signal pronounced ecosystem changes, with a >10-fold loss in crustacean zooplankton (important herbivores in the food webs of these lake systems) and a >5-fold increase in a highly metal-tolerant alga.Such fundamental ecological changes will cascade through the ecosystem, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for ecosystem services in contaminated regions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Plateau Lake Ecology and Global Change, School of Tourism and Geography, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.

ABSTRACT
Heavy metal pollution is now widely recognized to pose severe health and environmental threats, yet much of what is known concerning its adverse impacts on ecosystem health is derived from short-term ecotoxicological studies. Due to the frequent absence of long-term monitoring data, little is known of the long-tem ecological consequences of pollutants such as arsenic. Here, our dated sediment records from two contaminated lakes in China faithfully document a 13.9 and 21.4-fold increase of total arsenic relative to pre-1950 background levels. Concurrently, coherent responses in keystone biota signal pronounced ecosystem changes, with a >10-fold loss in crustacean zooplankton (important herbivores in the food webs of these lake systems) and a >5-fold increase in a highly metal-tolerant alga. Such fundamental ecological changes will cascade through the ecosystem, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for ecosystem services in contaminated regions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

L Locations (a) and monitored lake water arsenic concentrations (b) of the two study sites from Yunnan, China. ake water arsenic data (annual mean ±1 standard error) were analyzed by the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kunming, China. The x-axis of the bottom panel is in calendar years and the site map was created using ArcMap10.0 (ESRI).
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f1: L Locations (a) and monitored lake water arsenic concentrations (b) of the two study sites from Yunnan, China. ake water arsenic data (annual mean ±1 standard error) were analyzed by the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kunming, China. The x-axis of the bottom panel is in calendar years and the site map was created using ArcMap10.0 (ESRI).

Mentions: Here, we present highly-resolved and well-dated paleolimnological records of two lakes from Southwest China with documented histories of arsenic contaminations. Yangzong, a large and deep lake (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Table 1), has experienced an industrial tailing leakage accident along the southwest part of the lake basin with arsenic concentrations in water increasing from ~7.3 μg L−1 in 2007 to ~177 μg L−1 in December 200820. The arsenic level remained at ~50.0 μg L−1 in 2013 (Fig. 1b), well above the WHO standard level of 10.0 μg L−1 for drinking water. Meanwhile, shallow Datun Lake (Supplementary Table 1) has been susceptible to wastewater input during flooding periods as the south basin, which was dammed in 1966, has served as the dumping site for mineral tailings. The monitored arsenic concentrations in water spiked from ~12.0 μg L−1 in 1990 to ~1,140 μg L−1 in 2008. These numbers are especially alarming as arsenic concentrations as low as <100 μg L−1 can cause adverse effects on aquatic biota such as algae and invertebrates21, through damaging algal cell growth, subdivision and photosynthesis16 and inhibiting the development and reproduction of invertebrates8. Here we explore whether known arsenic pollution has had discernable and directional effects on key aquatic biota, using a long temporal perspective made available by sedimentary archives.


Industrial arsenic contamination causes catastrophic changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Chen G, Shi H, Tao J, Chen L, Liu Y, Lei G, Liu X, Smol JP - Sci Rep (2015)

L Locations (a) and monitored lake water arsenic concentrations (b) of the two study sites from Yunnan, China. ake water arsenic data (annual mean ±1 standard error) were analyzed by the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kunming, China. The x-axis of the bottom panel is in calendar years and the site map was created using ArcMap10.0 (ESRI).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4663503&req=5

f1: L Locations (a) and monitored lake water arsenic concentrations (b) of the two study sites from Yunnan, China. ake water arsenic data (annual mean ±1 standard error) were analyzed by the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kunming, China. The x-axis of the bottom panel is in calendar years and the site map was created using ArcMap10.0 (ESRI).
Mentions: Here, we present highly-resolved and well-dated paleolimnological records of two lakes from Southwest China with documented histories of arsenic contaminations. Yangzong, a large and deep lake (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Table 1), has experienced an industrial tailing leakage accident along the southwest part of the lake basin with arsenic concentrations in water increasing from ~7.3 μg L−1 in 2007 to ~177 μg L−1 in December 200820. The arsenic level remained at ~50.0 μg L−1 in 2013 (Fig. 1b), well above the WHO standard level of 10.0 μg L−1 for drinking water. Meanwhile, shallow Datun Lake (Supplementary Table 1) has been susceptible to wastewater input during flooding periods as the south basin, which was dammed in 1966, has served as the dumping site for mineral tailings. The monitored arsenic concentrations in water spiked from ~12.0 μg L−1 in 1990 to ~1,140 μg L−1 in 2008. These numbers are especially alarming as arsenic concentrations as low as <100 μg L−1 can cause adverse effects on aquatic biota such as algae and invertebrates21, through damaging algal cell growth, subdivision and photosynthesis16 and inhibiting the development and reproduction of invertebrates8. Here we explore whether known arsenic pollution has had discernable and directional effects on key aquatic biota, using a long temporal perspective made available by sedimentary archives.

Bottom Line: Heavy metal pollution is now widely recognized to pose severe health and environmental threats, yet much of what is known concerning its adverse impacts on ecosystem health is derived from short-term ecotoxicological studies.Concurrently, coherent responses in keystone biota signal pronounced ecosystem changes, with a >10-fold loss in crustacean zooplankton (important herbivores in the food webs of these lake systems) and a >5-fold increase in a highly metal-tolerant alga.Such fundamental ecological changes will cascade through the ecosystem, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for ecosystem services in contaminated regions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Plateau Lake Ecology and Global Change, School of Tourism and Geography, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.

ABSTRACT
Heavy metal pollution is now widely recognized to pose severe health and environmental threats, yet much of what is known concerning its adverse impacts on ecosystem health is derived from short-term ecotoxicological studies. Due to the frequent absence of long-term monitoring data, little is known of the long-tem ecological consequences of pollutants such as arsenic. Here, our dated sediment records from two contaminated lakes in China faithfully document a 13.9 and 21.4-fold increase of total arsenic relative to pre-1950 background levels. Concurrently, coherent responses in keystone biota signal pronounced ecosystem changes, with a >10-fold loss in crustacean zooplankton (important herbivores in the food webs of these lake systems) and a >5-fold increase in a highly metal-tolerant alga. Such fundamental ecological changes will cascade through the ecosystem, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for ecosystem services in contaminated regions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus