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LSM3254 Ecology of Aquatic Environments

Introduction to freshwater biology

To recognise the scope of freshwater biology and to understand the ecological p importance of water
Scope Freshwater biology: definition and scope Characteristics of water as a substance Small scale characteristics W t movements Water t
References: Dodson, S. 2005.Introduction to Limnology. McGraw-Hill Chapter 1, 2

Darren Yeo Dept of Biological Sciences p g

What is freshwater biology? gy

The biology of freshwaters i.e. the study of the living organisms in freshwater environments The biology and ecology of freshwater environments i.e. the study of living organisms and the relationships between them and the environment

What is Limnology? gy
The oceanography of lakes
Forel 1892 O i i l exclusive d fi iti Original, l i definition

The study of inland waters The waters

International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology 1922 More inclusive definition Franois Alphonse Forel

Lac Lman (Lake Geneva), Switzerland (Forel 1892)

What is Limnology?
"the study of inland waters, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, and wetlands a multidisciplinary field that involves all sciences that can be brought to bear on understanding the nature of such waters: the physical, chemical, earth, and biological sciences, and mathematics. - Edmondson, 1994 Geography, geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, biology (ecology, systematics and taxonomy, etc.) , gy ( gy, y y, )

Small scale characteristics of water

Ecologically important Asymmetrical molecular shape confers p polarity y Polar molecules hydrogen bonds confer
Viscosity Surface tension Solvent properties Changes in density with temperature Cooling properties

Small scale characteristics of water

Internal stickiness
Hydrogen bonds between water molecules

Small scale characteristics of water

Surface tension
Creates surface film between air and water
Important microhabitat

Scale dependent small scale effects (cm)

Slows down particle movement in water p

Scale dependent small scale effects (mm) Hydrogen bonds within water Attraction/avoidance surfaces Greater length of surface contact greater upward surface tension force Surface tension force > gravity
Longer feet Smaller size

Constraint for small organisms ( 1mm) g (< )

Boundary layer of reduced water flow Energy required to overcome viscosity first before movement is possible Reduced sinking and l R d d i ki d less energy needed t d d to slow/stop

Small scale characteristics of water

Solvent properties water is a solvent for other polar compounds
Ions, acids, bases, salts

Small scale characteristics of water

Dissociation of water molecule
Two ions: hydrogen ion (H+) and the hydroxyl ion (OH-): y g ( y y ( ) H20 <==> H+ + OH H+ chemically reactive, important indicator of water chemistry
Expressed as pH = - log [H+]
Acid, pH <7, e.g., peat swamps/bogs, volcanic lakes Neutral, pH =7 Alkaline, pH >7, e.g., lakes in limestone areas

Solubility of gases (e.g., oxygen)

Inverse relationship between oxygen concentration and temperature Direct relationship between oxygen concentration and pressure (therefore depth)
But higher oxygen concentration usually seen at shallower depths Oxygen mostly enters into lake through surface layers Diffusion and Photosynthesis More oxygen consumed at bottom

Water is able to absorb H+ when acid is added

Acid neutralising capacity (ANC) or alkalinity g p y( ) y Buffering capacity no change in pH while absorbing H+

Small scale characteristics of water

pH of freshwater habitats
02 26 56 710 >10 Some Volcanic Lakes Bog Lakes, Peat Swamps, Freshwater Swamps Local freshwater streams Productive Hard Water Lakes very few alkaline desert lakes

Oxidation = loss of electrons Dissolved oxygen combines with electrons depletes available electrons required f certain chemical reactions il bl l t i d for t i h i l ti Availability of electrons in the environment affects chemical reactions. E.g.:
Nitrogen fixation requires electrons
inhibited by oxygen (oxidising environment) occurs in reducing aquatic environment
many available electrons, high electron activity, low pE (negative log of electron concentration)

pH preferences:
<2 26 69.5 >8 >10 Some fungi, bacteria Fungi and bacteria, some zooplankton, some crustaceans, some fish Most zooplankton, fish, crustaceans, and other animals Most moll scs most bacteria molluscs, Bacteria, but few multicellular organisms

Small scale characteristics of water

Concentration of dissolved ions (solutes) Measured as:
Total concentration of ions dissolved in water (mg/l or ppm) (cf. (cf g/l or ppt in seawater)
<0.5 ppt or Global average salinity of freshwater: 120mg dissolved ions per litre = 0.12 0/00
0/ 00

Small scale characteristics of water

Other measures of solutes
Total dissolved solids (TDS)
All ions (salts) and non-ionised components

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) Hardness

Conductivity or Specific Conductance (S - microsiemens)

Example of dissolved ions in freshwater p

Calcium, Magnesium Bicarbonate Nitrate, Phosphate important plant nutrients
[Nitrate] and [phosphate] - proxies for indicating primary productivity

Concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonates (cf. soft water) Precipitates (reduce solubility) at high temperatures

Small scale characteristics of water

Density of water
Unique temperature density relationship temperature-density Liquid water at 3.98C
Molecules closest together Maximum density (1 g/cm3) Sinks

Solid ice at 0C
Molecules further apart Less dense Floats on liquid water around 4C 4C

Small scale characteristics of water

Heat and cooling g
Calorie: heat required to raise temperature of 1g of water from 14.5C to 15.5C Evaporation
Removes heat - 540 calories lost from liquid water per gram p of water evaporated Cooling effect - like sweating
Lakes and streams Contributes to mixing in lakes by cool water sinking On land, from plants land Forests Urban areas e.g., rooftop gardens cool buildings

Water movements
Scale dependent p Molecular scale:
Kinetic energy of molecules Diffusion

Larger scale:
Energy from wind or gravity Mass transport p Periodic or rhythmic movements

Water movements
Diffusion (of molecules) Molecular scale movement Random movement of molecules

Water movements
Mass transport (flow)
Larger scale (above molecular) bulk movement Laminar flow even, unidirectional, low velocity, no mixing Turbulent flow uneven, high velocity, some mixing

Spread of dissolved molecules through water Temperature dependent Significance at small scales:
Diffusion of oxygen into surface layer of water

Causes eddies (circular currents)

Reynolds number (Re) = (inertial forces / viscous forces)

Predicts: 1) Laminar flow or turbulence caused by swimming object
2) Mixing/non-mixing of water currents

Horizontal currents
Surface wind Streams or springs

Water movements
Periodic or rhythmic movements (waves)
Surface waves (Progressive waves) Seiches (Stationary waves) Surface waves
Energy is transferred (away from source) Little/no net horizontal movement of water Vertical movement (amplitude) only
Decreases with depth Deep waters less affected by surface waves

Water movements
Oscillation of water as a whole in a lake
Back and forth rocking of whole volume of water between leeward and windward shores

think of water sloshing to and fro in a pail or bathtub

Large scale standing wave - energy not transferred Caused by strong storms blowing water up against opposite (leeward) shore Causes periodic rise and fall in water level periodic drying and flooding of shallow basins Prominent in large, long deep lakes with steep slopes Internal seiche (stratified lakes) greater amplitude and longer duration than surface seiche
Strong winds