Publications by authors named "Martyn Futter"

56 Publications

Estimating societal benefits from Nordic catchments: An integrative approach using a final ecosystem services framework.

PLoS One 2021 1;16(6):e0252352. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Nordic catchments provide a variety of ecosystem services, from harvestable goods to mitigation of climate change and recreational possibilities. Flows of supplied ecosystem services depend on a broad range of factors, including climate, hydrology, land management and human population density. The aims of this study were: 1) to quantify the total economic value (TEV) of consumed ecosystem services across Nordic catchments, 2) to explain variation in ecosystem service value using socio-geographic and natural factors as explanatory variables in multiple linear regression, and 3) to determine which societal groups benefit from these ecosystem services. Furthermore, we tested the scientific rigour of our framework based on the concept of final ecosystem services (FES). We used a spatially explicit, integrative framework for ecosystem services quantification to compile data on final ecosystem services provision from six catchments across Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Our estimates showed a broad variation in TEV and in the proportion contributed by separate services, with the highest TEV of €7,199 ± 4,561 ha-1 y-1 (mean ± standard deviation) in the Norwegian Orrevassdraget catchment, and the lowest TEV of €183 ± 517 ha-1 y-1 in the Finnish Simojoki catchment. The value of material services was dependent on both geographic factors and land management practices, while the value of immaterial services was strongly dependent on population density and the availability of water. Using spatial data on land use, forest productivity and population density in a GIS analysis showed where hotspots of ecosystem services supply are located, and where specific stakeholder groups benefit most. We show that our framework is applicable to a broad variety of data sources and across countries, making international comparative analyses possible.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0252352PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168860PMC
June 2021

Microplastics in terrestrial ecosystems: Moving beyond the state of the art to minimize the risk of ecological surprise.

Glob Chang Biol 2021 May 27. Epub 2021 May 27.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Microplastic (plastic particles measuring <5mm) pollution is ubiquitous. Unlike in other well-studied ecosystems, for example, marine and freshwater environments, microplastics in terrestrial systems are relatively understudied. Their potential impacts on terrestrial environments, in particular the risk of causing ecological surprise, must be better understood and quantified. Ecological surprise occurs when ecosystem behavior deviates radically from expectations and generally has negative consequences for ecosystem services. The properties and behavior of microplastics within terrestrial environments may increase their likelihood of causing ecological surprises as they (a) are highly persistent global pollutants that will last for centuries, (b) can interact with the abiotic environment in a complex manner, (c) can impact terrestrial organisms directly or indirectly and (d) interact with other contaminants and can facilitate their transport. Here, we compiled findings of previous research on microplastics in terrestrial environments. We systematically focused on studies addressing different facets of microplastics related to their distribution, dispersion, impact on soil characteristics and functions, levels of biological organization of tested terrestrial biota (single species vs. assemblages), scale of experimental study and corresponding ecotoxicological effects. Our systematic assessment of previous microplastic research revealed that most studies have been conducted on single species under laboratory conditions with short-term exposures; few studies were conducted under more realistic long-term field conditions and/or with multi-species assemblages. Studies targeting multi-species assemblages primarily considered soil bacterial communities and showed that microplastics can alter essential nutrient cycling functions. More ecologically meaningful studies of terrestrial microplastics encompassing multi-species assemblages, critical ecological processes (e.g., biogeochemical cycles and pollination) and interactions with other anthropogenic stressors must be conducted. Addressing these knowledge gaps will provide a better understanding of microplastics as emerging global stressors and should lower the risk of ecological surprise in terrestrial ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15724DOI Listing
May 2021

Variability in fluvial suspended and streambed sediment phosphorus fractions among small agricultural streams.

J Environ Qual 2021 May 5;50(3):612-626. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Dep. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7050, Uppsala, Sweden.

Agriculture is a major source of sediment and particulate phosphorus (P) inputs to freshwaters. Distinguishing between P fractions in sediment can aid in understanding its eutrophication risk. Although streams and rivers are important parts of the P cycle in agricultural catchments, streambed sediment and especially fluvial suspended sediment (FSS) and its P fractions are less studied. To address this knowledge gap, seasonal variations in FSS P fractions and their relation to water quality and streambed sediment were examined in three Swedish agricultural headwater catchments over 2 yr. Sequential fractionation was used to characterize P fractions in both streambed sediment and FSS. All catchments had similar annual P losses (0.4-0.8 kg ha ), suspended solids (124-183 mg L ), and FSS total P concentrations (1.15-1.19 mg g ). However, distribution of P fractions and the dominant P fractions in FSS differed among catchments (p < .05), which was most likely dependent on differences in catchment geology, clay content, external P sources, and flow conditions. The most prominent seasonal pattern in all catchments was found for iron-bound P, with high concentrations during low summer flows and low concentrations during winter high flows. Streambed sediment P fractions were in the same concentration ranges as in FSS, and the distribution of the fractions differed between catchments. This study highlights the need to quantify P fractions, not just total P in FSS, to obtain a more complete understanding of the eutrophication risk posed by agricultural sediment losses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jeq2.20210DOI Listing
May 2021

Nordic Bioeconomy Pathways: Future narratives for assessment of water-related ecosystem services in agricultural and forest management.

Ambio 2020 Nov 13;49(11):1710-1721. Epub 2020 Sep 13.

Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden.

Further development of the bioeconomy, the substitution of bioresources for fossil resources, will lead to an increased pressure on land and water resources in both agriculture and forestry. It is important to study whether resultant changes in land management may in turn lead to impairment of water services. This paper describes the Nordic Bioeconomy Pathways (NBPs), a set of regional sectoral storylines nested within the global Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) framework developed to provide the BIOWATER research program with land management scenarios for projecting future developments to explore possible conflicts between land management changes and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The NBPs are a set of narrative storylines capturing a range of plausible future trajectories for the Nordic bioeconomy until 2050 and that are fit for use within hydrological catchment modelling, ecosystem service studies and stakeholder dialogue about possible changes in agricultural and forestry management practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01389-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487143PMC
November 2020

Potential impacts of a future Nordic bioeconomy on surface water quality.

Ambio 2020 Nov 12;49(11):1722-1735. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349, Oslo, Norway.

Nordic water bodies face multiple stressors due to human activities, generating diffuse loading and climate change. The 'green shift' towards a bio-based economy poses new demands and increased pressure on the environment. Bioeconomy-related pressures consist primarily of more intensive land management to maximise production of biomass. These activities can add considerable nutrient and sediment loads to receiving waters, posing a threat to ecosystem services and good ecological status of surface waters. The potential threats of climate change and the 'green shift' highlight the need for improved understanding of catchment-scale water and element fluxes. Here, we assess possible bioeconomy-induced pressures on Nordic catchments and associated impacts on water quality. We suggest measures to protect water quality under the 'green shift' and propose 'road maps' towards sustainable catchment management. We also identify knowledge gaps and highlight the importance of long-term monitoring data and good models to evaluate changes in water quality, improve understanding of bioeconomy-related impacts, support mitigation measures and maintain ecosystem services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01355-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7502645PMC
November 2020

Transfer and transport of microplastics from biosolids to agricultural soils and the wider environment.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 1;724:138334. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadelléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

Between April to November of 2017, microplastics (MPs) were analysed in biosolids from two separate suppliers, and in the soils of three agricultural fields to which they were applied, in Ontario, Canada. Soils of a control site with no history of biosolid application were also examined. High MP concentrations of between 8.7 × 10 MP kg and 1.4 × 10 MP kg were found in biosolids samples. Lower MP concentrations observed in Provider 2 biosolids may be due to storage, settling and supernatant removal prior to applications. Annual MP additions to agricultural soils across Ontario were estimated at between 4.1 × 10 and 1.3 × 10 particles. All fields receiving biosolids had higher soil pre-treatment MP concentrations than the control. The field with the greatest number of previous biosolid treatments had the highest pre-treatment soil MP concentrations; suggesting some MP retention in soils between applications. Immediately following biosolids applications, two fields demonstrated significant increases in soil MP concentrations, with preferential retention of MP fibers over fragments observed, while a reduction in soil MP concentrations were observed in the third. Surprisingly, only one field demonstrated a net gain in soil MPs over the course of the study. At all three fields, >99% of MPs applied in biosolids in 2017 were unaccounted for. The study suggests that despite adhering to applicable legislation, biosolids applications at all sites likely result in high rates of MP export. This study is the first to track MP transport through soils following their application in biosolids, and contributes to filling current knowledge gaps regarding export of MPs to aquatic systems from the terrestrial environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138334DOI Listing
July 2020

Cleaning up seas using blue growth initiatives: Mussel farming for eutrophication control in the Baltic Sea.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Mar 19;709:136144. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Marine Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, FIN-00790 Helsinki, Finland.

Eutrophication is a serious threat to aquatic ecosystems globally with pronounced negative effects in the Baltic and other semi-enclosed estuaries and regional seas, where algal growth associated with excess nutrients causes widespread oxygen free "dead zones" and other threats to sustainability. Decades of policy initiatives to reduce external (land-based and atmospheric) nutrient loads have so far failed to control Baltic Sea eutrophication, which is compounded by significant internal release of legacy phosphorus (P) and biological nitrogen (N) fixation. Farming and harvesting of the native mussel species (Mytilus edulis/trossulus) is a promising internal measure for eutrophication control in the brackish Baltic Sea. Mussels from the more saline outer Baltic had higher N and P content than those from either the inner or central Baltic. Despite their relatively low nutrient content, harvesting farmed mussels from the central Baltic can be a cost-effective complement to land-based measures needed to reach eutrophication status targets and is an important contributor to circularity. Cost effectiveness of nutrient removal is more dependent on farm type than mussel nutrient content, suggesting the need for additional development of farm technology. Furthermore, current regulations are not sufficiently conducive to implementation of internal measures, and may constitute a bottleneck for reaching eutrophication status targets in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136144DOI Listing
March 2020

Particulate phosphorus and suspended solids losses from small agricultural catchments: Links to stream and catchment characteristics.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Apr 23;711:134616. Epub 2019 Nov 23.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7050, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.

Excessive phosphorus (P) inputs from agriculture are well established as a contributor to freshwater eutrophication. Decreasing these inputs is an important step in improving the ecological state of impaired waters. Particulate P (PP) is a significant contributor to diffuse P inputs in agricultural catchments. Identifying the main correlates for PP losses is an important step in reducing these inputs. However, there are few studies of long term temporal and spatial dynamics of PP in agricultural streams. Here, we investigate the relative importance of hydrology, catchment characteristics and geochemistry on PP concentrations and fluxes in agricultural headwaters. We evaluate long-term monitoring data from eleven small (<35 km) Swedish catchments with at least seven years of measured flow and flow proportional water quality sampling. Using parametric and non-parametric regression together with principal components analysis (PCA), we identify in-stream and catchment variables relevant for predicting PP concentrations, e.g., suspended solids concentrations (SS), soil texture and average catchment soil P content, measured as ammonium lactate/acetic acid extractable P (P-AL). We show that PP is primarily correlated to SS concentrations, which in turn are correlated to average clay content and land use. However, the SS:PP relationships differ between catchments. No correlation between PP concentrations in the stream and soil P content was found. An increasing clay content decreases the slope of the relationship between SS and PP, i.e., in catchments with higher clay content, less PP is transported per unit SS. The PP/SS ratio increased significantly (p < 0.05) over time in four catchments, despite limited changes in SS or PP concentrations. Our study highlights the importance of long time series since the enrichment of P on SS in the streams is only detected when using long term monitoring data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134616DOI Listing
April 2020

Drivers of long-term invertebrate community stability in changing Swedish lakes.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 03 14;26(3):1259-1270. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Research on ecosystem stability has had a strong focus on local systems. However, environmental change often occurs slowly at broad spatial scales, which requires regional-level assessments of long-term stability. In this study, we assess the stability of macroinvertebrate communities across 105 lakes in the Swedish "lakescape." Using a hierarchical mixed-model approach, we first evaluate the environmental pressures affecting invertebrate communities in two ecoregions (north, south) using a 23 year time series (1995-2017) and then examine how a set of environmental and physical variables affect the stability of these communities. Results show that lake latitude, size, total phosphorus and alkalinity affect community composition in northern and southern lakes. We find that lake stability is affected by species richness and lake size in both ecoregions and alkalinity and total phosphorus in northern lakes. There is large heterogeneity in the patterns of community stability of individual lakes, but relationships between that stability and environmental drivers begin to emerge when the lakescape, composed of many discrete lakes, is the focal unit of study. The results of this study highlight that broad-scale comparisons in combination with long time series are essential to understand the effects of environmental change on the stability of lake communities in space and time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14952DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078863PMC
March 2020

Ecohydrological consequences of tree removal in an urban park evaluated using open data, free software and a minimalist measuring campaign.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Mar 22;655:1495-1504. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, P.O. Box 7070, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:

With ongoing global climate change and an increasingly urbanized population, the importance of city parks and other forms of urban vegetation increases. Trees in urban parks can play an important role in mitigating runoff and delivering other ecosystem services. Park managers, E-NGOs, citizen scientists and others are increasingly called upon to evaluate the possible consequences of changes in park management such as, e.g., tree removal. Here, we present an unorthodox approach to hydrological modelling and its potential use in local policy making regarding urban greenery. The approach consists of a minimalist field campaign to characterize vegetation and soil moisture status combined with a novel model calibration using freely available data and software. During modelling, we were able to obtain coefficients of determination (R) of 0.66 and 0.73 for probe-measured and simulated soil moisture under tree stand and park lawn land covers respectively. The results demonstrated that tree cover had a significant positive effect on the hydrological regime of the locality through interception, transpiration and effects on soil moisture. Simulations suggested that tree cover was twice as effective at mitigating runoff than park lawn and almost seven times better than impervious surfaces. In the case of a potential replacement of tree vegetation in favour of park lawn or impervious surfaces an increase in runoff of 14% and 81% respectively could be expected. The main conclusion drawn from our study was that such an approach can be a very useful tool for supporting local decision-making processes as it offers a freely available, cheap and relatively easy-to-use way to describe the hydrological consequences of landcover change (e.g., tree removal) with sufficient accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.277DOI Listing
March 2019

Studies of the effects of microplastics on aquatic organisms: What do we know and where should we focus our efforts in the future?

Sci Total Environ 2018 Dec 20;645:1029-1039. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:

The effects of microplastics (MP) on aquatic organisms are currently the subject of intense research. Here, we provide a critical perspective on published studies of MP ingestion by aquatic biota. We summarize the available research on MP presence, behaviour and effects on aquatic organisms monitored in the field and on laboratory studies of the ecotoxicological consequences of MP ingestion. We consider MP polymer type, shape, size as well as group of organisms studied and type of effect reported. Specifically, we evaluate whether or not the available laboratory studies of MP are representative of the types of MPs found in the environment and whether or not they have reported on relevant groups or organisms. Analysis of the available data revealed that 1) despite their widespread detection in field-based studies, polypropylene, polyester and polyamide particles were under-represented in laboratory studies; 2) fibres and fragments (800-1600 μm) are the most common form of MPs reported in animals collected from the field; 3) to date, most studies have been conducted on fish; knowledge is needed about the effects of MPs on other groups of organisms, especially invertebrates. Furthermore, there are significant mismatches between the types of MP most commonly found in the environment or reported in field studies and those used in laboratory experiments. Finally, there is an overarching need to understand the mechanism of action and ecotoxicological effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of MPs on aquatic organism health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.207DOI Listing
December 2018

An evaluation of high frequency turbidity as a proxy for riverine total phosphorus concentrations.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Feb 11;651(Pt 1):103-113. Epub 2018 Sep 11.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7050, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden.

Surface water eutrophication resulting from excessive phosphorus (P) inputs is one of today's most challenging environmental issues. Riverine total phosphorus (TP) concentrations have high temporal variability, which complicates flux estimation. We evaluated the usefulness of high frequency in-situ turbidity measurements as a proxy for TP in Sävjaån, a river draining a mixed land use catchment (722 km) in central Sweden. Turbidity was monitored every 10th-15th minute during 6 consecutive years (2012-2017). Linear regression showed a good relationship between high frequency turbidity and TP (r = 0.64) and could hence be used for comparison of flux estimation methods. Predictive power of the turbidity-TP relationship was not improved by adding seasons, hydrograph rising/falling limb or high/low stream discharge to the model which argues for a single transfer function relating turbidity and TP. Both TP and turbidity were log-normally distributed. However, flux estimates were sensitive to data transformation; predicted TP concentrations and fluxes based on log-transformed data were biased towards lower concentrations and fluxes compared to non-transformed data. In five of six years grab sample and high frequency estimated TP fluxes were similar (grab sample estimates -10% to +13% P transport compared to high frequency flux estimates). The exception was in 2013, when a 50-year spring flood occurred, and the grab sample estimated flux was 56% larger than that estimated from high frequency data. Thus, the flux comparisons were mostly affected by stream discharge, which underlines the importance of capturing high discharge episodes with, e.g. in situ sensors. While uncertainties regarding the use of turbidity as a proxy for TP remain, it is clear that credible water chemistry data can be obtained with current high frequency sensors. We conclude that high frequency data can be used to better understand catchment response to external pressures and gain insights into water quality that will be missed with grab sampling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.127DOI Listing
February 2019

Statistical models for evaluating suspected artefacts in long-term environmental monitoring data.

Environ Monit Assess 2018 Aug 29;190(9):558. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Department of Energy and Technology, Division of applied statistics and mathematics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Long-term water quality monitoring is of high value for environmental management as well as for research. Artificial level shifts in time series due to method improvements, flaws in laboratory practices or changes in laboratory are a common limitation for analysis, which, however, are often ignored. Statistical estimation of such artefacts is complicated by the simultaneous existence of trends, seasonal variation and effects of other influencing factors, such as weather conditions. Here, we investigate the performance of generalised additive mixed models (GAMM) to simultaneously identify one or more artefacts associated with artificial level shifts, longitudinal effects related to temporal trends and seasonal variation, as well as to model the serial correlation structure of the data. In the same model, it is possible to estimate separate residual variances for different periods so as to identify if artefacts not only influence the mean level but also the dispersion of a series. Even with an appropriate statistical methodology, it is difficult to quantify artificial level shifts and make appropriate adjustments to the time series. The underlying temporal structure of the series is especially important. As long as there is no prominent underlying trend in the series, the shift estimates are rather stable and show less variation. If an artificial shift occurs during a slower downward or upward tendency, it is difficult to separate these two effects and shift estimates can be both biased and have large variation. In the case of a change in method or laboratory, we show that conducting the analyses with both methods in parallel strongly improves estimates of artefact effects on the time series, even if certain problems remain. Due to the difficulties of estimating artificial level shifts, posterior adjustment is problematic and can lead to time series that no longer can be used for trend analysis or other analysis based on the longitudinal structure of the series. Before carrying out a change in analytic method or laboratory, it should be considered if this is absolutely necessary. If changes cannot be avoided, the analysis of the two methods considered, or the two laboratories contracted, should be run in parallel for a considerable period of time so as to enable a good assessment of changes introduced to the data series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-018-6900-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133026PMC
August 2018

Does forest harvest increase the mercury concentrations in fish? Evidence from Swedish lakes.

Sci Total Environ 2018 May 13;622-623:1353-1362. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

A number of studies have evaluated the effects of forest harvest on mercury (Hg) concentrations and exports in surface waters, but few studies have tested the effect from forest harvest on the change in fish Hg concentrations over the course of several years after harvest. To address this question, mercury (Hg) concentrations in perch (Perca fluviatilis) muscle tissue from five lakes were analyzed for two years before (2010-2011) and three years after (2013-2015) forest harvest conducted in 2012. Fish Hg concentrations in the clear-cut catchments (n=1373 fish specimens) were related to temporal changes of fish Hg in reference lakes (n=1099 fish specimen) from 19 lakes in the Swedish National Environmental Monitoring Programme. Small (length<100mm) and large perch (length≥100mm) were analyzed separately, due to changing feeding habitats of fish over growing size. There was considerable year-to-year and lake-to-lake variation in fish Hg concentrations (-14%-121%) after forest harvest in the clearcut lakes, according to our first statistical model that count for fish Hg changes. While the effect ascribed to forest harvest varied between years, after three years (in 2015), a significant increase of 26% (p<0.0001) in Hg concentrations of large fish was identified in our second statistical model that pooled all 5 clearcut lakes. The large fish Hg concentrations in the 19 reference lakes also varied, and in 2015 had decreased by 7% (p=0.03) relative to the concentrations in 2010-2011. The majority of the annual changes in fish Hg concentrations in the clearcut lakes after harvest were in the lower range of earlier predictions for high-latitude lakes extrapolated primarily from the effects of forest harvest operations on Hg concentrations in water. Since the risk of forest harvest impacts on Hg extends to fish and not just surface water concentrations, there is even more reason to consider Hg effects in forestry planning, alongside other ecosystem effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.075DOI Listing
May 2018

Modelling study of soil C, N and pH response to air pollution and climate change using European LTER site observations.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Nov 31;640-641:387-399. Epub 2018 May 31.

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Mechelininkatu 34a, FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland.

Current climate warming is expected to continue in coming decades, whereas high N deposition may stabilize, in contrast to the clear decrease in S deposition. These pressures have distinctive regional patterns and their resulting impact on soil conditions is modified by local site characteristics. We have applied the VSD+ soil dynamic model to study impacts of deposition and climate change on soil properties, using MetHyd and GrowUp as pre-processors to provide input to VSD+. The single-layer soil model VSD+ accounts for processes of organic C and N turnover, as well as charge and mass balances of elements, cation exchange and base cation weathering. We calibrated VSD+ at 26 ecosystem study sites throughout Europe using observed conditions, and simulated key soil properties: soil solution pH (pH), soil base saturation (BS) and soil organic carbon and nitrogen ratio (C:N) under projected deposition of N and S, and climate warming until 2100. The sites are forested, located in the Mediterranean, forested alpine, Atlantic, continental and boreal regions. They represent the long-term ecological research (LTER) Europe network, including sites of the ICP Forests and ICP Integrated Monitoring (IM) programmes under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), providing high quality long-term data on ecosystem response. Simulated future soil conditions improved under projected decrease in deposition and current climate conditions: higher pH, BS and C:N at 21, 16 and 12 of the sites, respectively. When climate change was included in the scenario analysis, the variability of the results increased. Climate warming resulted in higher simulated pH in most cases, and higher BS and C:N in roughly half of the cases. Especially the increase in C:N was more marked with climate warming. The study illustrates the value of LTER sites for applying models to predict soil responses to multiple environmental changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.299DOI Listing
November 2018

Estimation of p,p'-DDT degradation in soil by modeling and constraining hydrological and biogeochemical controls.

Environ Pollut 2018 Aug 11;239:179-188. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, Brno, 62500, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, NO-0349, Norway. Electronic address:

Despite not being used for decades in most countries, DDT remains ubiquitous in soils due to its persistence and intense past usage. Because of this it is still a pollutant of high global concern. Assessing long term dissipation of DDT from this reservoir is fundamental to understand future environmental and human exposure. Despite a large research effort, key properties controlling fate in soil (in particular, the degradation half-life (τ)) are far from being fully quantified. This paper describes a case study in a large central European catchment where hundreds of measurements of p,p'-DDT concentrations in air, soil, river water and sediment are available for the last two decades. The goal was to deliver an integrated estimation of τ by constraining a state-of-the-art hydrobiogeochemical-multimedia fate model of the catchment against the full body of empirical data available for this area. The INCA-Contaminants model was used for this scope. Good predictive performance against an (external) dataset of water and sediment concentrations was achieved with partitioning properties taken from the literature and τ estimates obtained from forcing the model against empirical historical data of p,p'-DDT in the catchment multicompartments. This approach allowed estimation of p,p'-DDT degradation in soil after taking adequate consideration of losses due to runoff and volatilization. Estimated τ ranged over 3000-3800 days. Degradation was the most important loss process, accounting on a yearly basis for more than 90% of the total dissipation. The total dissipation flux from the catchment soils was one order of magnitude higher than the total current atmospheric input estimated from atmospheric concentrations, suggesting that the bulk of p,p'-DDT currently being remobilized or lost is essentially that accumulated over two decades ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.04.022DOI Listing
August 2018

Water quality assessment and catchment-scale nutrient flux modeling in the Ramganga River Basin in north India: An application of INCA model.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Aug 16;631-632:201-215. Epub 2018 Mar 16.

Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208016, India. Electronic address:

The present study analyzes the water quality characteristics of the Ramganga (a major tributary of the Ganga river) using long-term (1991-2009) monthly data and applies the Integrated Catchment Model of Nitrogen (INCA-N) and Phosphorus (INCA-P) to the catchment. The models were calibrated and validated using discharge (1993-2011), phosphate (1993-2010) and nitrate (2007-2010) concentrations. The model results were assessed based on Pearson's correlation, Nash-Sutcliffe and Percentage bias statistics along with a visual inspection of the outputs. The seasonal variation study shows high nutrient concentrations in the pre-monsoon season compared to the other seasons. High nutrient concentrations in the low flows period pose a serious threat to aquatic life of the river although the concentrations are lowered during high flows because of the dilution effect. The hydrological model is satisfactorily calibrated with R and NS values ranging between 0.6-0.8 and 0.4-0.8, respectively. INCA-N and INCA-P successfully capture the seasonal trend of nutrient concentrations with R>0.5 and PBIAS within ±17% for the monthly averages. Although, high concentrations are detected in the low flows period, around 50% of the nutrient load is transported by the monsoonal high flows. The downstream catchments are characterized by high nutrient transport through high flows where additional nutrient supply from industries and agricultural practices also prevail. The seasonal nitrate (R: 0.88-0.94) and phosphate (R: 0.62-0.95) loads in the catchment are calculated using model results and ratio estimator load calculation technique. On average, around 548tonnes of phosphorus (as phosphate) and 77,051tonnes of nitrogen (as nitrate) are estimated to be exported annually from the Ramganga River to the Ganga. Overall, the model has been able to successfully reproduce the catchment dynamics in terms of seasonal variation and broad-scale spatial variability of nutrient fluxes in the Ramganga catchment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.022DOI Listing
August 2018

Minimal climate change impacts on natural organic matter forecasted for a potable water supply in Ireland.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Jul 7;630:869-877. Epub 2018 Mar 7.

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, TCD, Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address:

Natural organic matter poses an increasing challenge to water managers because of its potential adverse impacts on water treatment and distribution, and subsequently human health. Projections were made of impacts of climate change on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the primarily agricultural Boyne catchment which is used as a potable water supply in Ireland. The results indicated that excluding a potential rise in extreme precipitation, future projected loads are not dissimilar to those observed under current conditions. This is because projected increases in DOC concentrations are offset by corresponding decreases in precipitation and hence river flow. However, the results presented assume no changes in land use and highlight the predicted increase in DOC loads from abstracted waters at water treatment plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.248DOI Listing
July 2018

Ecological resilience in lakes and the conjunction fallacy.

Nat Ecol Evol 2017 Nov 16;1(11):1616-1624. Epub 2017 Oct 16.

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4AP, UK.

There is a pressing need to apply stability and resilience theory to environmental management to restore degraded ecosystems effectively and to mitigate the effects of impending environmental change. Lakes represent excellent model case studies in this respect and have been used widely to demonstrate theories of ecological stability and resilience that are needed to underpin preventative management approaches. However, we argue that this approach is not yet fully developed because the pursuit of empirical evidence to underpin such theoretically grounded management continues in the absence of an objective probability framework. This has blurred the lines between intuitive logic (based on the elementary principles of probability) and extensional logic (based on assumption and belief) in this field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0333-1DOI Listing
November 2017

Persistent and widespread long-term phosphorus declines in Boreal lakes in Sweden.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Feb 12;613-614:240-249. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7050, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.

We present an analysis of long-term (1988-2013; 26years) total phosphorus (TP) concentration trends in 81 Swedish boreal lakes subject to minimal anthropogenic disturbance. Near universal increases in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and a widespread but hitherto unexplained decline in TP were observed. Over 50% of the lakes (n=42) had significant declining TP trends over the past quarter century (Sen's slope=2.5%y). These declines were linked to catchment processes related to changes in climate, recovery from acidification, and catchment soil properties, but were unrelated to trends in P deposition. Increasing DOC concentrations appear to be masking in-lake TP declines. When the effect of increasing DOC was removed, the small number of positive TP trends (N=5) turned negative and the average decline in TP increased to 3.9%y. The greatest relative TP declines occurred in already nutrient poor, oligotrophic systems and TP concentrations have reached the analytical detection limit (1μgL) in some lakes. In addition, ongoing oligotrophication may be exacerbated by increased reliance on renewable energy from forest biomass and hydropower. It is a cause of significant concern that potential impairments to lake ecosystem functioning associated with oligotrophication are not well handled by a management paradigm focused exclusively on the negative consequences of increasing phosphorus concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.067DOI Listing
February 2018

Consequences of intensive forest harvesting on the recovery of Swedish lakes from acidification and on critical load exceedances.

Sci Total Environ 2017 Dec 21;603-604:562-569. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, NO-0349 Oslo, Norway.

Across much of the northern hemisphere, lakes are at risk of re-acidification due to incomplete recovery from historical acidification and pressures associated with more intensive forest biomass harvesting. Critical load (CL) calculations aimed at estimating the amount of pollutants an ecosystem can receive without suffering adverse consequences are dependent on these factors. Here, we present a modelling study of the potential effects of intensified forest harvesting on re-acidification of a set of 3239 Swedish lakes based on scenarios with varying intensities of forest biomass harvest and acid deposition. There is some evidence that forestry would have caused a certain level of acidification even if deposition remained at 1860 levels. We show that all plausible harvest scenarios delay recovery due to increased rates of base cation removal. Scenario results were used to estimate critical loads for the entire population of lakes in Sweden. The forestry intensity included in critical load calculations is a political decision. After scaling calculations to the national level, it was apparent that a high but plausible forest harvest intensity would lead to an increase in the area of CL exceedances and that even after significant reductions in forest harvest intensity, there would still be areas with CL exceedances. Our results show that forest harvest intensity and regional environmental change must be carefully considered in future CL calculations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.013DOI Listing
December 2017

Spatial distribution and source tracing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in surface water in Northern Europe.

Environ Pollut 2017 Jan 11;220(Pt B):1438-1446. Epub 2016 Nov 11.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7050, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden.

The impact of point and diffuse sources for 26 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in northern Europe were investigated by studying Swedish rivers (n = 40) and recipient seawater (Baltic Sea and Kattegat; n = 18). Different composition profiles were observed in the rivers, with ten rivers having a remarkably high fraction of perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs; 65% of the ƩPFASs) as compared to other rivers (19%) suggesting major impact of one or several source types dominated by PFSAs. Population density and low latitude (south) were strongly correlated to the widely used perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as well as to perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS). Significant relationships between several PFCAs and PFSAs (i.e. perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), PFOA, perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), and PFHxS) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were detected (p < 0.05), indicating chemical binding and co-transport with DOC in fresh water and seawater. Partial least squares regression analysis showed that perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) were related to latitude according to their perfluorocarbon chain length (C, C, C, C, C and C), with longer chains associated with higher latitudes. This suggests the presence of mechanisms promoting higher prevalence of longer chained PFCAs in the north, e.g. precursor degradation, and/or aerosol associated stabilization of PFCAs and their precursors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.10.089DOI Listing
January 2017

Are Agricultural Soils Dumps for Microplastics of Urban Origin?

Environ Sci Technol 2016 10 29;50(20):10777-10779. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, NO-0349, Oslo, Norway.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b04140DOI Listing
October 2016

Pollution: Do microplastics spill on to farm soils?

Nature 2016 09;537(7621):488

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/537488bDOI Listing
September 2016

Persistent Organic Pollutants in Streamwater: Influence of Hydrological Conditions and Landscape Type.

Environ Sci Technol 2016 07 8;50(14):7416-24. Epub 2016 Jul 8.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , Box 7050, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.

Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in streamwater were measured in a remote catchment in northern Sweden and downstream to the Baltic Sea. Sampling took place at seven sites during two years and under different hydrological conditions: during the snow-free, snow-covered, and spring-flood seasons. Concentrations varied substantially between seasons and were up to 20 times higher during the spring flood compared to the preceding snow-covered period. The increase in concentrations with runoff was due to higher levels of particle-associated contaminants, while the dissolved concentrations remained stable. Particulate-contaminant concentrations were positively correlated primarily to suspended particulate matter (SPM) at sites in areas with a high land-cover fraction of sorted sediment. When upstream sampling locations were compared, a mire-dominated stream had higher concentrations and a lower retention of atmospherically deposited contaminants than a forest stream of the same catchment size. Contaminant concentrations (normalized to volume) did not increase consistently downstream despite the presence of several point sources. However, when normalized to the amount of SPM, concentrations were on average >20 times higher at the outlet in the Baltic Sea compared to the outlet from the remote catchment without point sources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b00475DOI Listing
July 2016

A theoretical assessment of microplastic transport in river catchments and their retention by soils and river sediments.

Environ Sci Process Impacts 2016 Aug;18(8):1050-9

School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.

The presence of microplastics (MPs) in the environment is a problem of growing concern. While research has focused on MP occurrence and impacts in the marine environment, very little is known about their release on land, storage in soils and sediments and transport by run-off and rivers. This study describes a first theoretical assessment of these processes. A mathematical model of catchment hydrology, soil erosion and sediment budgets was upgraded to enable description of MP fate. The Thames River in the UK was used as a case study. A general lack of data on MP emissions to soils and rivers and the mass of MPs in agricultural soils, limits the present work to serve as a purely theoretical, nevertheless rigorous, assessment that can be used to guide future monitoring and impact evaluations. The fundamental assumption on which modelling is based is that the same physical controls on soil erosion and natural sediment transport (for which model calibration and validation are possible), also control MP transport and storage. Depending on sub-catchment soil characteristics and precipitation patterns, approximately 16-38% of the heavier-than-water MPs hypothetically added to soils (e.g. through routine applications of sewage sludge) are predicted to be stored locally. In the stream, MPs < 0.2 mm are generally not retained, regardless of their density. Larger MPs with densities marginally higher than water can instead be retained in the sediment. It is, however, anticipated that high flow periods can remobilize this pool. Sediments of river sections experiencing low stream power are likely hotspots for deposition of MPs. Exposure and impact assessments should prioritize these environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c6em00206dDOI Listing
August 2016

Boreal forest riparian zones regulate stream sulfate and dissolved organic carbon.

Sci Total Environ 2016 08 17;560-561:110-22. Epub 2016 Apr 17.

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Lennart Hjelms väg 9, SE, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:

In boreal forest catchments, solute transfer to streams is controlled by hydrological and biogeochemical processes occurring in the riparian zone (RZ). However, RZs are spatially heterogeneous and information about solute chemistry is typically limited. This is problematic when making inferences about stream chemistry. Hypothetically, the strength of links between riparian and stream chemistry is time-scale dependent. Using a ten-year (2003-2012) dataset from a northern Swedish catchment, we evaluated the suitability of RZ data to infer stream dynamics at different time scales. We focus on the role of the RZ versus upslope soils in controlling sulfate (SO4(2)(-)) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). A priori, declines in acid deposition and redox-mediated SO4(2)(-) pulses control sulfur (S) fluxes and pool dynamics, which in turn affect dissolved organic carbon (DOC). We found that the catchment is currently a net source of S, presumably due to release of the S pool accumulated during the acidification period. In both, RZ and stream, SO4(2-) concentrations are declining over time, whereas DOC is increasing. No temporal trends in SO4(2-) and DOC were observed in upslope mineral soils. SO4(2-) explained the variation of DOC in stream and RZ, but not in upslope mineral soil. Moreover, as SO4(2-) decreased with time, temporal variability of DOC increased. These observations indicate that: (1) SO4(2-) is still an important driver of DOC trends in boreal catchments and (2) RZ processes control stream SO4(2-) and subsequently DOC independently of upslope soils. These phenomena are likely occurring in many regions recovering from acidification. Because water flows through a heterogeneous mosaic of RZs before entering the stream, upscaling information from limited RZ data to the catchment level is problematic at short-time scales. However, for long-term trends and annual dynamics, the same data can provide reasonable representations of riparian processes and support meaningful inferences about stream chemistry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.230DOI Listing
August 2016

Conceptualizing and communicating management effects on forest water quality.

Ambio 2016 Feb;45 Suppl 2:188-202

Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU, Skogsmarksgränd, 901 83, Umeå, Sweden.

We present a framework for evaluating and communicating effects of human activity on water quality in managed forests. The framework is based on the following processes: atmospheric deposition, weathering, accumulation, recirculation and flux. Impairments to water quality are characterized in terms of their extent, longevity and frequency. Impacts are communicated using a "traffic lights" metaphor for characterizing severity of water quality impairments arising from forestry and other anthropogenic pressures. The most serious impairments to water quality in managed boreal forests include (i) forestry activities causing excessive sediment mobilization and extirpation of aquatic species and (ii) other anthropogenic pressures caused by long-range transport of mercury and acidifying pollutants. The framework and tool presented here can help evaluate, summarize and communicate the most important issues in circumstances where land management and other anthropogenic pressures combine to impair water quality and may also assist in implementing the "polluter pays" principle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0753-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4705064PMC
February 2016
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