Nav: Home

The underwater jungles of the sea give clearer water

August 30, 2017

The new study, that has been conducted in 32 archipelago bays along the Baltic Sea coast shows that underwater plants can contribute to a better water quality, thus improving their own living environment. The water becomes clearer when the plants take up nutrients and in that way out-compete phytoplankton.

- Dense plant communities such as seaweeds and pondweeds also slow down the water movement and cause sediment particles to sink to the bottom, which also makes the water clearer, says the PhD candidate Åsa Nilsson Austin.

Good if the plants are retained


It has been shown earlier that turbid water, which is a sign of nutrient enriched bays, contains fewer underwater plants. This is because the plants die if they get too little light. But this new study shows the opposite - that the underwater plants themselves can positively affect water quality.

The results from the study also indicate that if the plants disappear, it may lead to poor water quality in the long run. This is because the turbid water hinders the growth of new plants, leading to a negative spiral of turbid bathing water. -

Since turbid water is often an indication of eutrophication, one can say that the plants act as a buffer against it, says the PhD candidate Åsa Nilsson Austin.

Sheltered bays - extra sensitive


In sheltered archipelago bays, the water exchange time may be several weeks long. Therefore, a lot of nutrients from land can be accumulated, with risk for eutrophication. In sheltered archipelago bays you can often find rooted plants that, apart from growing dense and taking up nutrients, can stabilize the soft bottom and reduce the sediment resuspension.

These bays are also important breeding areas for predatory fish such as pike and perch. Here, where the water warms up quickly in spring, the fish lay their roe on the underwater plants. But it is also here that we like to moor our sailing boat to enjoy our holiday - and take a swim in the sea.
-end-
More information

The study is presented in an article in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181419

Contact: Åsa Nilsson Austin
E-mail: asa.austin@su.se
Mobile number: 46-(0)70-156 65 46

Stockholm University

Related Water Quality Articles:

Study quantifies effect of 'legacy phosphorus' in reduced water quality
For decades, phosphorous has accumulated in Wisconsin soils. Though farmers have taken steps to reduce the quantity of the agricultural nutrient applied to and running off their fields, a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison reveals that a 'legacy' of abundant soil phosphorus in the Yahara watershed of Southern Wisconsin has a large, direct and long-lasting impact on water quality.
New standards for better water quality in Europe
The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is due to be revised by 2019.
Investigating the impact of 'legacy sediments' on water quality
University of Delaware researcher Shreeram Inamdar has been awarded a $499,500 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine if stream-bank legacy sediments are significant sources of nutrients to surface waters and how they may influence microbial processes and nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems.
Adaptive management of soil conservation is essential to improving water quality
The quality of our rivers and lakes could be placed under pressure from harmful levels of soluble phosphorus, despite well-intended measures to reduce soil erosion and better manage and conserve farmland for crop production, a new study shows.
Big data approach to water quality applied at shale drilling sites
A computer program is diving deep into water quality data from Pennsylvania, helping scientists detect potential environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
More Water Quality News and Water Quality Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...