Nutrient pollution damages streams in ways previously unknown
An important food resource has been disappearing from streams without anyone noticing until now.
In a new study, a team of researchers led by University of Georgia (UGA) 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.
"This study shows how excess nutrients reduce stream health in a way that was previously unknown," said the study's lead author Amy Rosemond, an associate professor in the UGA Odum School of Ecology.
"Our results provide a more complete picture of nutrient effects in streams, suggesting that increased efforts at addressing their impacts can now improve stream health in more than one way," she said.
Click here for source (University of Alabama)
Photo: University of Alabama