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Title: The impact of hydropower on microbial diversity and community structure in floodplains
Authors : Antenen, Nadine
Advisors / Reviewers : Döring, Michael
Rezzonico, Fabio
Extent : 46
Publisher / Ed. Institution : ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Issue Date: 2017
License (according to publishing contract) : Not specified
Language : English
Subjects : Habitat heterogenity; T-RFLP; Residual flow; Hydropeaking
Subject (DDC) : 333: Economics of land and resources
577: Ecology
Abstract: Within freshwater ecosystems, floodplains are among the most diverse ecosystems on earth but the increasing human demand for water, energy and food resulted in a decrease of biodiversity. Even though hydropower is often seen as “green energy”, it creates several negative impacts on riverine systems. In order to produce energy, river water is abstracted and released, leading to hydropeaking and residual flow sections, both representing a major disturbance on the natural functions and dynamics of a river. The ecological impact of hydropower production on riverine systems has been extensively investigated, however, mostly focusing on structural aspects. The present study focused on the microbial diversity and community structure in three hydrologically different floodplain sections, two impacted by hydropower and one in a natural reference system. Abiotic characteristics of habitats and genetic fingerprinting (T-RFLP) of the microbial communities were used to assess differences and similarities between and within these regimes. Within the latters we investigated sediments of seven different floodplain habitat types over a sampling period of one and a half year (summer 2015 until autumn 2016) consisting of six sampling seasons. Six abiotic parameters (temperature, water content, total organic matter, total nitrogen, total carbon and grain size distribution) were used to analyse patterns amongst habitats, regimes and seasons. Organic matter, water content, total nitrogen and total carbon content showed significant differences between the habitats whereas of the regimes the hydropeaking showed relevant influences on abiotic factors. Furthermore, we could illustrate several relationships between abiotic factors and microbial diversity, mainly within the same habitats and regimes as the distinct abiotic properties were highlighted. While the microbial communities clearly differ between aquatic and terrestrial habitats as well as between seasons, there are little differences among the regimes. Linking abiotic characteristics, shaped by the hydrological regimes, to microbial diversity and community structure allows the consideration of the latter as possible indicators of disturbances in river systems. The use of the genetic fingerprinting technique (T-RFLP) proved to be an appropriate method to gain first insights into patterns of microbial diversity and communities. In this context, the results from this study are a first contribution towards assessments of disturbances by microbial diversity and community analysis and possibly to a future development of a functional indicator for disturbance.
Departement: Life Sciences und Facility Management
Publication type: Master Thesis
DOI : 10.21256/zhaw-4800
Appears in Collections:Masterarbeiten Life Sciences

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