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Nutrient Pollution Damages Stream Health
An important food resource has been disappearing from streams without anyone noticing until now.

In a new study published March 6 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by University of Georgia ecologists reports that nutrient pollution causes a significant loss of forest-derived carbon from stream ecosystems, reducing the ability of streams to support aquatic life.

The findings show that the in-stream residence time of carbon from leaves, twigs and other forest matter, which provide much of the energy that fuels stream food webs, is cut in half when moderate amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus are added to a stream.

Stream food webs are based on carbon from two main sources. One is algae, which produce carbon through photosynthesis. Nutrient pollution has long been known to increase carbon production by algae, often causing nuisance and harmful algal blooms. The second source is leaves and bits of wood from streamside forests. This forest-derived carbon typically persists year-round, making it a staple food resource for stream organisms.

This study shows how excess nutrients reduce stream health in a way that was previously unknown.


 
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Agencies Unite to Combat Aquatic Invasive Species in Lake Erie - With the prevention and management of invasive species a top priority for natural resource agencies in the Great Lakes region, it didn’t take much convincing when the Michigan and Ohio natural resources departments offered the opportunity to participate in a recent invasive carp field exercise on Lake Erie.


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