Temporal changes in the hydrology and nutrient concentrations of a large tropical river: Anthropogenic influence in the Lower Grijalva River, Mexico

Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2018/06/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Lugar(es) de estudio: Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
Resumen: "Dam construction and nutrient loading are among the greatest threats to freshwater ecosystems, altering ecological processes and the provisioning of ecosystem services. Temporal change in hydrology and ambient nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations was studied on the Grijalva, a large tropical river in southern Mexico, where four hydroelectric dams operate and where land conversion has impacted the freshwater environment. Temporal changes in discharge and in river chemistry were examined by analysing long-term discharge and nutrient data using the software Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration and Mann–Kendall tests. Furthermore, additional water chemistry samples were collected to examine seasonal nutrient dynamics in the lower Grijalva. Long-term discharge data indicated dam construction has severely altered temporal patterns in discharge and other hydrological characteristics. The lower Grijalva has also experienced increase in nitrate concentrations through time, which may be attributed to the expansion of agricultural and urban areas in the watershed. In contrast, total phosphorus appeared to decline at the sites influenced by dam construction. Lower nutrient concentrations were recorded upstream from the city of Villahermosa, suggesting that inputs from urban areas may have contributed to nutrient loading. Additionally, higher nitrate and total phosphorus concentrations were detected in tributaries draining intensive agricultural and suburban areas. Collectively, the results from the study suggest that dam construction and land conversion in large, tropical watersheds can produce chemical and hydrological changes, which may negatively impact important ecosystem services—such as fisheries and the provisioning of sources of drinking water—and may compromise the integrity of coastal zones."

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