Biomonitoring is the use of biological variables to survey the environment. The primary task in biomonitoring is the search for the ideal indicator (or bioindicator) whose presence, abundance, and/or behavior reflects a stressor’s effect on biota. An indicator may be used for biomonitoring at many levels of organization, ranging from suborganismal (i.e., gene, cell, tissue) and organismal to population, community, and even ecosystem levels . Freshwater is a finite resource, essential for agriculture, industry and even human existence. Water pollution and wasteful use of freshwater threaten development projects and make water treatment essential in order to produce safe drinking water. Discharge of toxic chemicals, over-pumping of aquifers, long-range atmospheric transport of pollutants and contamination of water bodies with substances that promote algal growth (possibly leading to eutrophication) are some of today’s major causes of water quality degradation. It has been unequivocally demonstrated that water of good quality is crucial to sustainable socio-economic development. Aquatic ecosystems are threatened on a world-wide scale by a variety of pollutants as well as destructive land-use or water-management practices. Some problems have been present for a long time but have only recently reached a critical level, while others are newly emerging. Gross organic pollution leads to disturbance of the oxygen balance and is often accompanied by severe pathogenic contamination. Accelerated eutrophication results from enrichment with nutrients from various origins, particularly domestic sewage, agricultural run-off and agroindustrial effluents. Lakes and impounded rivers are especially affected. Agricultural land use without environmental safeguards to prevent over-application of agrochemicals is causing widespread deterioration of the soil/water ecosystem as well as the underlying aquifers. The main problems associated with agriculture are salinisation, nitrate and pesticide contamination, and erosion leading to elevated concentrations of suspended solids in rivers and streams and the siltation of impoundments. Irrigation has enlarged the land area available for crop production but the resulting salinisation which has occurred in some areas has caused the deterioration of previously fertile soils. Direct contamination of surface waters with metals in discharges from mining, smelting and industrial manufacturing is a long-standing phenomenon. However, the emission of airborne metallic pollutants has now reached such proportions that long-range atmospheric transport causes contamination, not only in the vicinity of industrialised regions, but also in more remote areas. Similarly, moisture in the atmosphere combines with some of the gases produced when fossil fuels are burned and, falling as acid rain, causes acidification of surface waters, especially lakes. Contamination of water by synthetic organic micropollutants results either from direct discharge into surface waters or after transport through the atmosphere. Today, there is trace contamination not only of surface waters but also of groundwater bodies, which are susceptible to leaching from waste dumps, mine tailings and industrial production sites. The extent of the human activities that influence the environment has increased dramatically during the past few decades; terrestrial ecosystems, freshwater and marine environments and the atmosphere are all affected. Large-scale mining and fossil fuel burning have started to interfere measurably with natural hydrogeochemical cycles, resulting in a new generation of environmental problems. The scale of socio-economic activities, urbanisation, industrial operations and agricultural production, has reached the point where, in addition to interfering with natural processes within the same watershed, they also have a world-wide impact on water resources. As a result, very complex inter-relationships between socio-economic factors and natural hydrological and ecological conditions have developed. A pressing need has emerged for comprehensive and accurate assessments of trends in water quality, in order to raise awareness of the urgent need to address the consequences of present and future threats of contamination and to provide a basis for action at all levels. Reliable monitoring data are the indispensable basis for such assessments. Monitoring is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as: “the programmed process of sampling, measurement and subsequent recording or signalling, or both, of various water characteristics, often with the aim of assessing conformity to specified objectives”. This general definition can be differentiated into three types of monitoring activities that distinguish between long-term, short-term and continuous monitoring programmes as follows: • Monitoring is the long-term, standardised measurement and observation of the aquatic environment in order to define status and trends. • Surveys are finite duration, intensive programmes to measure and observe the quality of the aquatic environment for a specific purpose. • Surveillance is continuous, specific measurement and observation for the purpose of water quality management and operational activities. It is important to note the emphasis given to collection of data for a purpose in the definitions of water quality monitoring above. This purpose is most commonly related to water quality management, which aims to control the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. Elements of management may include control of pollution, use and abstraction of water, and land use. Specific management activities are determined by natural water quantity and quality, the uses of water in natural and socio-economic systems, and prospects for the future. Water quality requirements or objectives can be usefully determined only in terms of suitability for a purpose or purposes, or in relation to the control of defined impacts on water quality. For example, water that is to be used for drinking should not contain any chemicals or micro-organisms that could be hazardous to health. Similarly, water for agricultural irrigation should have a low sodium content, while that used for steam generation and related industrial uses should be low in certain other inorganic chemicals. Preservation of biodiversity and other conservation measures are being recognised increasingly as valid aspects of water use and have their own requirements for water quality management. Water quality data are also required for pollution control, and the assessment of long-term trends and environmental impacts. The aim of this textbook is to give a complete and simple guide for the application of some basic tests and index in the biomonitoring programme in Wuhan.

"Biomonitoring text book" - The development of an integrated biomonitoring approach for the Wuhan Water System (Asia ProEcoII 2006, EuropeAid Co-operation office)

GILLI, Giorgio;PIGNATA, Cristina;DEGAN, Raffaella;
2008

Abstract

Biomonitoring is the use of biological variables to survey the environment. The primary task in biomonitoring is the search for the ideal indicator (or bioindicator) whose presence, abundance, and/or behavior reflects a stressor’s effect on biota. An indicator may be used for biomonitoring at many levels of organization, ranging from suborganismal (i.e., gene, cell, tissue) and organismal to population, community, and even ecosystem levels . Freshwater is a finite resource, essential for agriculture, industry and even human existence. Water pollution and wasteful use of freshwater threaten development projects and make water treatment essential in order to produce safe drinking water. Discharge of toxic chemicals, over-pumping of aquifers, long-range atmospheric transport of pollutants and contamination of water bodies with substances that promote algal growth (possibly leading to eutrophication) are some of today’s major causes of water quality degradation. It has been unequivocally demonstrated that water of good quality is crucial to sustainable socio-economic development. Aquatic ecosystems are threatened on a world-wide scale by a variety of pollutants as well as destructive land-use or water-management practices. Some problems have been present for a long time but have only recently reached a critical level, while others are newly emerging. Gross organic pollution leads to disturbance of the oxygen balance and is often accompanied by severe pathogenic contamination. Accelerated eutrophication results from enrichment with nutrients from various origins, particularly domestic sewage, agricultural run-off and agroindustrial effluents. Lakes and impounded rivers are especially affected. Agricultural land use without environmental safeguards to prevent over-application of agrochemicals is causing widespread deterioration of the soil/water ecosystem as well as the underlying aquifers. The main problems associated with agriculture are salinisation, nitrate and pesticide contamination, and erosion leading to elevated concentrations of suspended solids in rivers and streams and the siltation of impoundments. Irrigation has enlarged the land area available for crop production but the resulting salinisation which has occurred in some areas has caused the deterioration of previously fertile soils. Direct contamination of surface waters with metals in discharges from mining, smelting and industrial manufacturing is a long-standing phenomenon. However, the emission of airborne metallic pollutants has now reached such proportions that long-range atmospheric transport causes contamination, not only in the vicinity of industrialised regions, but also in more remote areas. Similarly, moisture in the atmosphere combines with some of the gases produced when fossil fuels are burned and, falling as acid rain, causes acidification of surface waters, especially lakes. Contamination of water by synthetic organic micropollutants results either from direct discharge into surface waters or after transport through the atmosphere. Today, there is trace contamination not only of surface waters but also of groundwater bodies, which are susceptible to leaching from waste dumps, mine tailings and industrial production sites. The extent of the human activities that influence the environment has increased dramatically during the past few decades; terrestrial ecosystems, freshwater and marine environments and the atmosphere are all affected. Large-scale mining and fossil fuel burning have started to interfere measurably with natural hydrogeochemical cycles, resulting in a new generation of environmental problems. The scale of socio-economic activities, urbanisation, industrial operations and agricultural production, has reached the point where, in addition to interfering with natural processes within the same watershed, they also have a world-wide impact on water resources. As a result, very complex inter-relationships between socio-economic factors and natural hydrological and ecological conditions have developed. A pressing need has emerged for comprehensive and accurate assessments of trends in water quality, in order to raise awareness of the urgent need to address the consequences of present and future threats of contamination and to provide a basis for action at all levels. Reliable monitoring data are the indispensable basis for such assessments. Monitoring is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as: “the programmed process of sampling, measurement and subsequent recording or signalling, or both, of various water characteristics, often with the aim of assessing conformity to specified objectives”. This general definition can be differentiated into three types of monitoring activities that distinguish between long-term, short-term and continuous monitoring programmes as follows: • Monitoring is the long-term, standardised measurement and observation of the aquatic environment in order to define status and trends. • Surveys are finite duration, intensive programmes to measure and observe the quality of the aquatic environment for a specific purpose. • Surveillance is continuous, specific measurement and observation for the purpose of water quality management and operational activities. It is important to note the emphasis given to collection of data for a purpose in the definitions of water quality monitoring above. This purpose is most commonly related to water quality management, which aims to control the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. Elements of management may include control of pollution, use and abstraction of water, and land use. Specific management activities are determined by natural water quantity and quality, the uses of water in natural and socio-economic systems, and prospects for the future. Water quality requirements or objectives can be usefully determined only in terms of suitability for a purpose or purposes, or in relation to the control of defined impacts on water quality. For example, water that is to be used for drinking should not contain any chemicals or micro-organisms that could be hazardous to health. Similarly, water for agricultural irrigation should have a low sodium content, while that used for steam generation and related industrial uses should be low in certain other inorganic chemicals. Preservation of biodiversity and other conservation measures are being recognised increasingly as valid aspects of water use and have their own requirements for water quality management. Water quality data are also required for pollution control, and the assessment of long-term trends and environmental impacts. The aim of this textbook is to give a complete and simple guide for the application of some basic tests and index in the biomonitoring programme in Wuhan.
http://www.wuhan-biomonitoring.org
biomonitoring; water system; surface water; ecotoxicology.
Giorgio Gilli; Cristina Pignata; Raffaella Degan; Giles Henley; Philip Bartley
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