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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

Time series of annual industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharges during 1981–2013 (a), accumulated discharge of heavy metals derived from industrial wastewaters (b) and soil pollution status (c) in China44. The industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharge data for 1991–2013 were collated from the annual environmental reports of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/zwgk/hjtj/nb/, accessed January, 2015). The national soil survey data (c) show the proportion of total soil sample sites polluted according to the Chinese national soil quality standards (GB15618–1995), covering a land area of 6.3 million km2, and those of the surveyed sites polluted with each of the eight heavy metals across China. The National Soil Pollution Survey Bulletin was jointly released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources in April 2014 (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/t20140417_270670.htm, date of access:17/04/2014). The x-axes of data panels (a,b) are in calendar years.
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f3: Time series of annual industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharges during 1981–2013 (a), accumulated discharge of heavy metals derived from industrial wastewaters (b) and soil pollution status (c) in China44. The industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharge data for 1991–2013 were collated from the annual environmental reports of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/zwgk/hjtj/nb/, accessed January, 2015). The national soil survey data (c) show the proportion of total soil sample sites polluted according to the Chinese national soil quality standards (GB15618–1995), covering a land area of 6.3 million km2, and those of the surveyed sites polluted with each of the eight heavy metals across China. The National Soil Pollution Survey Bulletin was jointly released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources in April 2014 (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/t20140417_270670.htm, date of access:17/04/2014). The x-axes of data panels (a,b) are in calendar years.

Mentions: The threat of arsenic contamination derived from wastewater discharge is widespread in many industrial and urban areas around the world111. For example, in China alone, industrial wastewater discharge fluctuated annually in the range of 20–27 billion tonnes during 1981–2013 (Fig. 3a). Despite a declining trend in annual heavy metal loadings, the accumulated amount has reached >25 thousand tonnes of arsenic during the last three decades (Fig. 3b). These large stocks of pollutants, if not properly treated, can severely damage environmental quality (Fig. 3c) and ecosystem health. However, comprehensive monitoring has rarely accompanied these pollution events in the past, and so only indirect forensic approaches, like those used in this study, can supply these critical data. Remarkably altered algal composition and major losses of keystone herbivores indicate a severely threatened food web structure due to arsenic contamination, and thus will have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem services as these changes cascade through the ecosystem.


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)

Time series of annual industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharges during 1981–2013 (a), accumulated discharge of heavy metals derived from industrial wastewaters (b) and soil pollution status (c) in China44. The industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharge data for 1991–2013 were collated from the annual environmental reports of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/zwgk/hjtj/nb/, accessed January, 2015). The national soil survey data (c) show the proportion of total soil sample sites polluted according to the Chinese national soil quality standards (GB15618–1995), covering a land area of 6.3 million km2, and those of the surveyed sites polluted with each of the eight heavy metals across China. The National Soil Pollution Survey Bulletin was jointly released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources in April 2014 (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/t20140417_270670.htm, date of access:17/04/2014). The x-axes of data panels (a,b) are in calendar years.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f3: Time series of annual industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharges during 1981–2013 (a), accumulated discharge of heavy metals derived from industrial wastewaters (b) and soil pollution status (c) in China44. The industrial wastewater and heavy metal discharge data for 1991–2013 were collated from the annual environmental reports of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/zwgk/hjtj/nb/, accessed January, 2015). The national soil survey data (c) show the proportion of total soil sample sites polluted according to the Chinese national soil quality standards (GB15618–1995), covering a land area of 6.3 million km2, and those of the surveyed sites polluted with each of the eight heavy metals across China. The National Soil Pollution Survey Bulletin was jointly released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources in April 2014 (URL http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/t20140417_270670.htm, date of access:17/04/2014). The x-axes of data panels (a,b) are in calendar years.
Mentions: The threat of arsenic contamination derived from wastewater discharge is widespread in many industrial and urban areas around the world111. For example, in China alone, industrial wastewater discharge fluctuated annually in the range of 20–27 billion tonnes during 1981–2013 (Fig. 3a). Despite a declining trend in annual heavy metal loadings, the accumulated amount has reached >25 thousand tonnes of arsenic during the last three decades (Fig. 3b). These large stocks of pollutants, if not properly treated, can severely damage environmental quality (Fig. 3c) and ecosystem health. However, comprehensive monitoring has rarely accompanied these pollution events in the past, and so only indirect forensic approaches, like those used in this study, can supply these critical data. Remarkably altered algal composition and major losses of keystone herbivores indicate a severely threatened food web structure due to arsenic contamination, and thus will have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem services as these changes cascade through the ecosystem.

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