7,002 research outputs found

    Spot sampling of nutrient concentrations in the Puarenga catchment, Rotorua

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    The Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research was approached by Tūhourangi Tribal Authority for assistance with measuring water quality in streams in the Puarenga Stream catchment. Water sampling was subsequently undertaken on 18 July 2011 and samples were analysed to determine concentrations of total and dissolved fractions of nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen and phosphorus are both essential plant nutrients which, when present in excess, can cause eutrophication and associated water quality decline of freshwaters. High concentrations of dissolved forms of nitrogen can also be toxic to aquatic organisms. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations are typically the result of pollution due to human activities, although groundwater in the Central Volcanic Plateau region can have elevated concentrations of phosphorus arising from natural geological sources. This report summarises the methods used, presents the results and places measured concentrations in context by drawing comparisons with both guideline and regional mean values

    Modelling the response of a highly eutrophic lake to reductions in external and internal nutrient loading

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    The reduction of macronutrients to levels that limit primary production is often a critical element of mitigating eutrophication and reducing the potential for algal blooms. Lake Okaro has remained highly eutrophic despite an intensive catchment and in-lake restoration programme, including implementation of a constructed wetland, riparian protection, an alum application and application of a modified zeolite mineral (Z2G1) to reduce internal nutrient loading. A one-dimensional process-based ecosystem model (DYRESM-CAEDYM) was used in this study to investigate the need for further nutrient loading reductions of both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). The model was calibrated against field data for a 2-year period and validated over two separate 1-year periods. Model simulations suggest that the trophic status of the lake, measured quantitatively with the Trophic Level Index (TLI), could shift from highly eutrophic to mesotrophic with external and internal loads of both N and P reduced by 75-90%. The magnitude of the nutrient load reductions is indicative of a major challenge in being able to effect transitions across trophic state categories for eutrophic lakes

    The role of intratidal oscillations in sediment resuspension in a diurnal, partially mixed estuary

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    Using detailed observations of the mean and turbulent properties of flow, salinity and turbidity that spanned 2001/02, we examined the physical mechanisms underpinning sediment resuspension in the low-energy Swan River estuary, Western Australia. In this diurnal tidally-dominated estuary, the presence of intratidal oscillations, a tidal inequality lasting 2 to 3 hours on the flood tide, generated by interactions of the four main diurnal and semidiurnal astronomical constituents, K₁, O₁, M₂, and S₂, played a major role in modifying vertical stratification and mixing. These intratidal oscillations are controlled by phase differences between the tropic and synodic months rather than being temporally-fixed by bed friction, as occurs in semidiurnal estuaries. Intratidal oscillations are largest, at around 0.1 m, near to the Austral solstice when the lunar and solar declination are in-phase. Despite the seemingly small change in water level, shear-induced interfacial mixing caused destratification of the water column with the top-to-bottom salinity (ΔS) difference of 3.5 present early in the flood tide eroded to less than 0.3 by the end of the intratidal oscillation. High turbidity peaks, of 250 nephelometric turbidity units, coincided with these intratidal oscillations and could not be explained by bed friction since shear stress from mean flow did not exceed threshold criteria. High Reynolds stresses of ∼1 Nm⁻² did, however, exceed τcr and together with negative Reynolds fluxes indicate a net downward transport of material. Destratification of the water column induced by shear instabilities resulted in large overturns capable of moving in situ material towards the bed during intratidal oscillations and these turbidities were ∼10 times greater than those from bed-generated resuspension observed later during the flood tide

    Nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of phytoplankton growth in New Zealand lakes: Implications for eutrophication control

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    We examine macronutrient limitation in New Zealand (NZ) lakes where, contrary to the phosphorus (P) only control paradigm, nitrogen (N) control is widely adopted to alleviate eutrophication. A review of published results of nutrient enrichment experiments showed that N more frequently limited lake productivity than P; however, stoichiometric analysis of a sample of 121 NZ lakes indicates that the majority (52.9%) of lakes have a mean ratio of total nitrogen (TN) to total phosphorus (TP) (by mass) indicative of potential P-limitation (>15:1), whereas only 14.0% of lakes have mean TN:TP indicative of potential N-limitation (<7:1). Comparison of TN, TP, and chlorophyll a data between 121 NZ lakes and 689 lakes in 15 European Union (EU) countries suggests that at the national scale, N has a greater role in determining lake productivity in NZ than in the EU. TN:TP is significantly lower in NZ lakes across all trophic states, a difference that is driven primarily by significantly lower in-lake TN concentrations at low trophic states and significantly higher TP concentrations at higher trophic states. The form of the TN:TP relationship differs between NZ and the EU countries, suggesting that lake nutrient sources and/or loss mechanisms differ between the two regions. Dual control of N and P should be the status quo for lacustrine eutrophication control in New Zealand and more effort is needed to reduce P inputs

    Reducing the external environmental costs of pastoral farming in New Zealand: experiences from the Te Arawa lakes, Rotorua

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    Decades of nutrient pollution have caused water quality to decline in the nationally iconic Te Arawa (Rotorua) lakes in New Zealand. Pastoral agriculture is a major nutrient source, and therefore this degradation represents an external environmental cost to intensive farming. This cost is borne by the wider community, and a major publically funded remediation programme is now under way. This article describes the range of actions being taken to reduce nutrient loads from internal (lake bed sediments) and external (primarily diffuse) sources in the lake catchments. The high economic cost and uncertain efficacy of engineering-based actions to reduce internal nutrient loads is highlighted. Major changes to land management practices to control diffuse nutrient pollution are required throughout New Zealand if the need for costly and lengthy remediation programmes elsewhere is to be avoided. More action to educate farmers and the public about eutrophication issues, development and enforcement of environmental standards, and further consideration of the use of market-based instruments are proposed as ways to correct the current market failure

    Evaluating the influence of lake morphology, trophic status and diagenesis on geochemical profiles in lake sediments

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    Recent geochemical studies provide evidence that changes in vertical distributions of nutrients in lake sediments are driven by anthropogenic activities, based primarily on trends of increasing concentrations in upper sediment layers. However, we show that vertical concentration profiles of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in lake sediments can be higher in the upper, most recently deposited sediment strata, driven largely by natural diagenetic processes and not eutrophication alone. We examined sediment cores from 14 different lakes in New Zealand and China ranging from oligotrophic to highly eutrophic and shallow to deep, and found that the shape of vertical profiles of total P, a key nutrient for lake productivity, can be similar in sediments across gradients of widely differing trophic status. We derived and applied empirical and mechanistic diagenesis steady state profile models to describe the vertical distribution of C, N and P in the sediments. These models, which focus on large scale temporal (decades) and spatial (up to 35 cm in the vertical) processes, revealed that density-differentiated burial and biodiffusive mixing, were strongly correlated with vertical concentration gradients of sediment C, N and P content, whereas lake trophic status was not. A sensitivity analysis of parameters included in the diagenetic model further showed that the processes including flux of organic matter to the sediment-water interface, burial (net sedimentation), breakdown of organic matter and biodiffusion all significantly can influence the vertical distribution of sediment P content. We conclude that geochemical studies attempting to evaluate drivers of the vertical distribution of sediment C, N, and P content in lake sediments should also account for the natural diagenetic drivers of vertical concentration gradients, assisted with application of similar models to those presented in this study. This would include quantification of key sediment diagenesis model parameters to separate out the influence of anthropogenic activities

    Phosphorus and arsenic distributions in a seasonally-stratified, iron- and manganese-rich lake: microbiological and geochemical controls

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    Seasonal stratification in temperate lakes greater than a few metres deep provides conditions amenable to pronounced vertical zonation of redox chemistry. Such changes are particularly evident in eutrophic systems where high phytoplankton biomass often leads to seasonally-established anoxic hypolimnia and profound changes in geochemical conditions. In this study, we investigated the behaviour of trace elements in the water column of a seasonally-stratified, eutrophic lake. Two consecutive years of data from Lake Ngapouri, North Island, New Zealand, demonstrate the occurrence of highly correlated profiles of phosphorus (P), arsenic (As), iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn), all of which increased in concentration by 1-2 orders of magnitude within the anoxic hypolimnion. Stoichiometric and mass-balance considerations demonstrate that increases in alkalinity in hypolimnetic waters were consistent with observed changes in sulfate, Fe and Mn concentrations with depth, corresponding to dissimilatory reduction of sulfate, Fe(III) and Mn(IV) hydroxides. Thermodynamic constraints on Fe, Mn and Al solubility indicate that amorphous Fe(III), Mn(IV) hydroxides most probably controlled Fe and Mn in the surface mixed layer (~0 to 8 m) while Al(III) hydroxides were supersaturated throughout the entire system. Surface complexation modelling indicated that iron hydroxides (HFO) potentially dominated As speciation in the lake. It is likely that other colloidal phases such as allophanic clays also limited HPO42- activity, reducing competition for HAsO42- adsorption to iron hydroxides. This research highlights the coupling of P, As, Fe and Mn in Lake Ngapouri, and the apparent role of multiple colloidal phases in affecting P and As activity within overarching microbiological and geochemical processes

    Reducing the external environmental costs of pastoral farming in New Zealand: experiences from the Te Arawa lakes, Rotorua

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    Decades of nutrient pollution have caused water quality to decline in the nationally iconic Te Arawa (Rotorua) lakes in New Zealand. Pastoral agriculture is a major nutrient source, and therefore this degradation represents an external environmental cost to intensive farming. This cost is borne by the wider community, and a major publically funded remediation programme is now under way. This article describes the range of actions being taken to reduce nutrient loads from internal (lake bed sediments) and external (primarily diffuse) sources in the lake catchments. The high economic cost and uncertain efficacy of engineering-based actions to reduce internal nutrient loads is highlighted. Major changes to land management practices to control diffuse nutrient pollution are required throughout New Zealand if the need for costly and lengthy remediation programmes elsewhere is to be avoided. More action to educate farmers and the public about eutrophication issues, development and enforcement of environmental standards, and further consideration of the use of market-based instruments are proposed as ways to correct the current market failure

    Recent occurrence of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, in Waikato lakes of New Zealand.

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    Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii is a toxin-producing species of cyanobacteria that in autumn 2003 was recorded for the first time in three shallow (max. depth ≤5 m) Waikato lakes and a hydro-electric dam on the Waikato River, New Zealand. It formed water blooms at densities >100 000 cells/ml in Lakes Waahi and Whangape. Net rates of population growth >0.2 day-1 were recorded for C. raciborskii in Lakes Ngaroto, Waahi, and Karapiro, based on comparisons of low numbers (detection of cells/ml) from initial samples and its presence at bloom densities (>15 000 cells/ml) in the subsequent sample "x"-"y" days later. C. raciborskii may be well adapted to rapid proliferation in the Waikato lakes, which are eutrophic to hypertrophic, with high light attenuation, and where nitrogen (N) fixation may provide it with a competitive advantage over non-nitrogen fixing algae under N-limited conditions

    Temporal and spatial variations in phytoplankton productivity in surface waters of a warm-temperate, monomictic lake in New Zealand

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    Surface phytoplankton productivity measurements were carried out in morphologically complex Lake Rotoiti with the objective of defining variations between sites and seasons, and the dominant environmental drivers of these variations. Measurements were carried out monthly at two depths at each of three morphologically diverse stations for 1 year throughout the lake. Productivity at the surface of the shallow embayment was significantly higher in most months of the year compared with the surface of the other two stations but there were no significant differences from September to December 2004. There were no relationships between measured environmental variables and primary productivity or specific production. Inorganic nutrient concentrations at the surface of the shallow station were low throughout the whole year but at the other two stations they showed a typical pattern for monomictic lakes of higher levels during winter mixing and declining concentrations during thermal stratification. The high variability between sites found in this study indicates that it is important to account for local differences in productivity in morphologically diverse lakes, and that whole lake productivity estimates may vary greatly depending on the location and depth of productivity measurements
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