Publications by authors named "Ruth O"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Variation in stream diatom communities in relation to water quality and catchment variables in a boreal, urbanized region.

Sci Total Environ 2015 Oct 3;530-531:279-289. Epub 2015 Jun 3.

Department of Geosciences and Geography, P.O. Box 64, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.

Intensive anthropogenic land use such as urbanization alters the hydrological cycle, water chemistry and physical habitat characteristics, thus impairing stream physicochemical and biological quality. Diatoms are widely used to assess stream water quality as they integrate water chemistry temporally and reflect the joint influence of multiple stressors on stream biota. However, knowledge of the major community patterns of diatoms in urban streams remains limited especially in boreal regions. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of water chemistry and catchment characteristics on stream diatom communities, and to test the performance of the Index of Pollution Sensitivity (IPS) as a stream water quality indicator across an urban-to-rural gradient in southern Finland. Diatom community structure and species richness were related to local-scale variables such as water temperature, aluminium concentration, and electrical conductivity, which were in turn influenced by patterns in catchment land use and land cover. Diatoms reflected the intensity of human activities as more intensive land use increased the occurrence of pollution-tolerant species. The change in community structure along the land use intensity gradient was accompanied by a distinct decline in species richness. On the contrary, the IPS index failed to indicate differences in water quality along the urban-to-rural gradient as no consistent differences in the IPS values were found. Our results highlight the joint influence of multifaceted factors that underlie diatom patterns, and show that diatom biodiversity can be used as cost-effective metric indicating urban stream conditions. However, the IPS index turned out to be an unsuitable tool for assessing water quality among these streams.
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October 2015

The effects of de-icing in Helsinki urban streams, southern Finland.

O Ruth

Water Sci Technol 2003 ;48(9):33-43

Laboratory of Physical Geography, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FIN-00014.

The environmental effects of road salt have been studied in Finland mainly in order to monitor and reduce groundwater contamination. In urban areas the road salt used for road maintenance in winter ends up in the storm water drains and receiving water bodies. We report here on water samples taken in 1998-1999 from three urban streams with catchments varying in area 1.7 to 24.4 km2 in different parts of the City of Helsinki. Despite efforts to reduce the amount of road salt, high concentrations were found in the urban stream water. Sudden variations in water quality were very marked during the spring flood period, with sodium and chloride concentrations varying over nine-fold within one day. Some 35-50% of the salt used on the roads in Helsinki passes into natural streams and from there into the sea. The significant positive correlation between NaCl and dissolved zinc in stream water was observed. The results show that it is important to monitor water quality, especially at the beginning of the spring flood period, when road salt and other contaminant levels are markedly high in urban streams.
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March 2004