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J Environ Manage ; 278(Pt 2): 111559, 2021 Jan 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33137686


Given rapid environmental change, the development of new, data-driven, interdisciplinary approaches is essential for improving assessment and management of river systems, especially with respect to flooding. In the world's extensive drylands, difficulties in obtaining field observations of major hydrological events mean that remote sensing techniques are commonly used to map river floods and assess flood impacts. Such techniques, however, are dependent on available cloud-free imagery during or immediately after peak discharge, and single images may omit important flood-related hydrogeomorphological events. Here, we combine multiple Landsat images from Google Earth Engine (GEE) with precipitation datasets and high-resolution (<0.65 m) satellite imagery to visualise flooding and assess the associated channel-floodplain dynamics along a 25 km reach of the unvegetated, ephemeral Río Colorado, Bolivia. After cloud and shadow removal, Landsat surface reflectance data were used to calculate the Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI) and map flood extents and patterns. From 2004 through 2016, annual flooding area along the narrow (<30 m), shallow (<1.7 m), fine-grained (dominantly silt/clay) channels was positively correlated (R2 = 0.83) with 2-day maximum precipitation totals. Rapid meander bend migration, bank erosion, and frequent overbank flooding was associated with formation of crevasse channels, splays, and headward-eroding channels, and with avulsion (shifting of flow from one channel to another). These processes demonstrate ongoing, widespread channel-floodplain dynamics despite low stream powers and cohesive sediments. Application of our study approaches to other dryland rivers will help generate comparative data on the controls, rates, patterns and timescales of channel-floodplain dynamics under scenarios of climate change and direct human impacts, with potential implications for improved river management.

Inundações , Rios , Agricultura , Colorado , Humanos , Hidrologia
Sci Total Environ ; : 142847, 2020 Oct 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33129532


Shrub encroachment is occurring in many of the world's drylands, but its impacts on ecosystem structure and function are still poorly understood. In particular, it remains unclear how shrub encroachment affects dryland soil surfaces, including biological soil crust (biocrust) communities. In this study, soil surfaces (0-1 cm depth) were sampled from areas of Grewia flava shrubs and Eragrostis lehmanniana and Schmidtia kalahariensis grasses in the southwest Kalahari during two different seasons (March and November). Our hypothesis is that the presence of different vegetation cover types (shrubs versus grasses) alters the microbial composition of soil surfaces owing to their contrasting microenvironments. The results showed that more significant differences in microclimate (light, soil surface temperatures) and soil surface microbial communities were observed between shrubs and grasses than between sampling seasons. Based on high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing, our findings showed that approximately one third (33.5%) of the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) occurred exclusively in soil surfaces beneath shrubs. Soil surfaces with biocrusts in grass areas were dominated by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus steenstrupii, whereas the soil surfaces beneath shrubs were dominated by the proteobacteria Microvirga flocculans. Soil surfaces beneath shrubs are associated with reduced cyanobacterial abundance but have higher total carbon and total nitrogen contents compared to biocrusts in grass areas. These findings infer changes in the relative contributions from different sources of carbon and nitrogen (e.g. cyanobacterial and non-cyanobacterial fixation, plant litter, animal activity). The distinctive microbial composition and higher carbon and nitrogen contents in soil surfaces beneath shrubs may provide a positive feedback mechanism promoting shrub encroachment, which helps to explain why the phenomenon is commonly observed to be irreversible.

Microb Ecol ; 78(4): 936-948, 2019 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30949750


In dryland regions, biological soil crusts (BSCs) have numerous important ecosystem functions. Crust species and functions are, however, highly spatially heterogeneous and remain poorly understood at a range of scales. In this study, chlorophyll fluorescence imaging was used to quantify millimeter-scale patterns in the distribution and activity of photosynthetic organisms in BSCs of different successional stages (including cyanobacterial, lichen, moss three main successional stages and three intermixed transitional stages) from the Tengger Desert, China. Chlorophyll fluorescence images derived from the Imaging PAM (Pulse Amplitude Modulation) showed that with the succession from cyanobacterial to lichen and to moss crusts, crust photosynthetic efficiency (including the maximum and effective photosynthetic efficiency, respectively) and fluorescence coverage increased significantly (P < 0.05), and that increasing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reduced the effective photosynthetic efficiency (Yield). The distribution of photosynthetic organisms in crusts determined Fv/Fm (ratio of variable fluorescence to maximum fluorescence) frequency pattern, although the photosynthetic heterogeneity (SHI index) was not significantly different (P > 0.05) between cyanobacterial and moss crusts, and showed a unimodal pattern of Fv/Fm values. In contrast, photosynthetic heterogeneity was significantly higher in lichen, cyanobacteria-moss and lichen-moss crusts (P < 0.05), with a bimodal pattern of Fv/Fm values. Point pattern analysis showed that the distribution pattern of chlorophyll fluorescence varied at different spatial scales and also among the different crust types. These new results provide a detailed (millimeter-scale) insight into crust photosynthetic mechanisms and spatial distribution patterns associated with their community types. Collectively, this information provides an improved theoretical basis for crust maintenance and management in dryland regions.

Briófitas/fisiologia , Cianobactérias/fisiologia , Clima Desértico , Líquens/fisiologia , Fotossíntese , Microbiologia do Solo , China , Fluorescência
Sci Total Environ ; 663: 980-991, 2019 May 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30739866


Wetland classification has become a primary tool to characterize and inventory wetland landscapes, but wetlands are difficult to classify because they straddle the terrestrial and aquatic boundary and occur in a variety of hydroclimatic and topographic settings. Presently, many ecological wetland classification schemes are focused on the 'hydrogeomorphic' unit, which attempts to account for the physical setting of a wetland. In many cases topographic terms (e.g. flats, slopes) rather than geomorphological terms (e.g. oxbow, floodplain) are used to characterize landforms, and little attempt is made to characterize the process-landform relationships within wetland landscapes. The current misrepresentation of product geomorphology (i.e. topographic rather than landform description) and underrepresentation of process geomorphology (i.e. lacking process-landform relationships) means that many current wetland classification schemes represent an incomplete and static attempt to characterize geomorphologically dynamic wetland landscapes. Here, we use examples from wetlands in the drylands of Africa, Australia, and North America to identify the capacity for adjustment (i.e. form and timescale of adjustment) of wetland landforms and we relate this capacity to the geomorphological concepts of sediment connectivity and landform sensitivity. We highlight how geomorphological insights into process-landform relationships and timescales of landform adjustment can add value to wetland classification efforts, with important implications for wetland management and ecosystem service delivery. We submit that geomorphology has a much larger role to play in wetland characterization and can enhance existing wetland classification schemes. More participation by the geomorphology community in wetland science and more awareness by the ecology community in recognizing and characterizing wetlands as dynamic landscapes will facilitate more effective wetland research and management.

J Hum Evol ; 85: 111-25, 2015 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26073072


Fluvial deposits can provide excellent archives of early hominin activity but may be complex to interpret, especially without extensive geochronology. The Stone Age site of Kalambo Falls, northern Zambia, has yielded a rich artefact record from dominantly fluvial deposits, but its significance has been restricted by uncertainties over site formation processes and a limited chronology. Our new investigations in the centre of the Kalambo Basin have used luminescence to provide a chronology and have provided key insights into the geomorphological and sedimentological processes involved in site formation. Excavations reveal a complex assemblage of channel and floodplain deposits. Single grain quartz optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) measurements provide the most accurate age estimates for the youngest sediments, but in older deposits the OSL signal from some grains is saturated. A different luminescence signal from quartz, thermally transferred OSL (TT-OSL), can date these older deposits. OSL and TT-OSL results are combined to provide a chronology for the site. Ages indicate four phases of punctuated deposition by the dominantly laterally migrating and vertically aggrading Kalambo River (∼500-300 ka, ∼300-50 ka, ∼50-30 ka, ∼1.5-0.49 ka), followed by deep incision and renewed lateral migration at a lower topographic level. A conceptual model for site formation provides the basis for improved interpretation of the generation, preservation, and visibility of the Kalambo archaeological record. This model highlights the important role of intrinsic meander dynamics in site formation and does not necessarily require complex interpretations that invoke periodic blocking of the Kalambo River, as has previously been suggested. The oldest luminescence ages place the Mode 2/3 transition between ∼500 and 300 ka, consistent with other African and Asian sites where a similar transition can be found. The study approach adopted here can potentially be applied to other fluvial Stone Age sites throughout Africa and beyond.

Arqueologia/métodos , Sedimentos Geológicos/química , Hominidae/fisiologia , Animais , Medições Luminescentes , Datação Radiométrica , Rios , Zâmbia