Se prevén niveles de polen muy altos para esta primavera

Las polinizaciones de esta primavera y verano comenzarán en el momento habitual pero serán muy importantes.

Indigenous knowledge, key to a successful ecosystem restoration

Ecological restoration projects actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities are more successful. This is the result of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

ICTA-UAB to organize the sixth edition of the Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice

Proposing pathways outside the growth, closure and depressive narratives.

Future changes in human well-being more likely to depend on Social Factors than Economic Factors

The changes in the perception of personal well-being that could take place in the next three decades, on a global level, depend much more on social factors than on economic ones.

Record-wet and record-dry months increased in regions worldwide: climate change drives rainfall extremes

More and more rainfall extremes are observed in regions around the globe – triggering both wet and dry records, according a new study involving ICTA-UAB researcher Finn Mempel.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.

ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its Consolidator Grant competition: 291 top scientists across Europe.

The ICTA-UAB awarded an Erasmus+ for running a project on higher education and research in Biosphere Reserves

For the first time since its founding, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded approximately 1 million euros by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ funding scheme.

ICTA-UAB contributes to bridging science and society in the 100xCiencia.3

ICTA-UAB took part in the 100xCiencia.3 “Bringing Science and Society”, the annual event of the SOMMa Alliance held on November 15th at the CNIO in Madrid.

Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

A pioneering study analyses the photographs shared by citizens in social networks to evaluate the aesthetic consideration of natural landscapes.

Co-managed small-scale fisheries lead to social and ecological improvements

The co-management model of small groups of fishermen contributes to a greater abundance and habitats of species.

ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Nace El Observatorio del Besòs: un proyecto de seguimiento de la calidad de los sistemas fluviales de la cuenca

La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) a través del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), y el Consorci Besòs Tordera evaluarán el estado de calidad a largo plazo de la cuenca del Besòs gracias a la creación de la Observatorio del Besòs.

Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

Climate Change Modifies the Composition of Reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink.

Pioneering study analyses the effects of forests on human health

A group of volunteers have participated in an experimental study conducted by the ICTA-UAB to analyse the potential health benefits of forests.

Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
News
A global map of river salinisation: one in three in Spain is affected

Date: 2018-12-17


One in three rivers on the Iberian Peninsula is salinised, mainly due to the impact of agriculture and urbanisation. This environmental problem will have an increasing effect on water ecosystems around the world due to global warming, rising water consumption levels, and the exploitation of natural land resources. These are some of the issues highlighted in the special volume on the salinisation of water ecosystems, published this December in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, involving ICTA-UAb researchers. It is edited by the experts Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, a researcher at the Beta Technology Centre at the UVic-UCC, a member of the Freshwater Ecology, Hydrology and Management (FEHM-UB) research group, and the Water Institute (IdRA) of the University of Barcelona (UB), Ben Kefford (University of Canberra, Australia) and Ralf B. Schäfer (University of Landau, Germany).

Other authors participating in the study are the FEHM-UB researchers Núria Bonada (UB-IRBio), Cayetano Gutiérrez-Cánovas, Raúl Acosta and Pau Fortuño; Neus Otero and Albert Soler, of the Applied Mineralogy and Environment Research Group (MAiMA) of the Faculty of Earth Sciences at the UB; David Suari and Santiago Gorostiza (ICTA-UAB), and experts from the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics at the University of Cantabria, the University of Murcia, the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology (IPNA- CSIC) of the Canary Islands, among others.
Rivers with excess salt: the human factor.

Salinisation is a serious environmental threat worldwide, with Australian rivers providing some of the most extreme cases. In Europe, salinisation related to human activity is an increasing concern, but there is still a lack of regulatory guidelines. On the Iberian Peninsula, the map of the rivers affected by salinisation - currently one-third of all river systems - will be increasingly large, according to the new study that examines the main causes of salinisation and makes predictions for the scenarios of climate change and different land uses. In some river basins on the peninsula, such as the Soldevilla stream in Sallent, the plain of the river Ebro, and the Murcia region, some rivers' salinity levels are three or four times higher than the sea.
High salinisation levels in river systems have a serious ecological, economic and global health impact, which in some cases is related to the concentration of carcinogens in the water or metals released due to corrosion of piping. Mining, agriculture and livestock farming and changes in rainfall levels, which limit rivers' ability to dilute salt, are the main salinisation threats to the environmental health of rivers.

As well as damaging the systemic values of natural ecosystems, salinisation makes water purification more expensive. It directly affects biodiversity and the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, causes changes in the typical riverside forest landscape, and alters the physiology of aquatic insects. "However, we need a great deal more basic information on organisms, communities and ecosystems to predict its effects", says Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, and adds that "it will only be possible to produce efficient models that enable us to predict and mitigate the effects of salinisation on water ecosystems when we have this basic information."

How can we change the response in salinised rivers? 
The new study reviews the effects that can change water systems' responses to salinisation. "There are three basic factors to consider: the synergy with other factors that can interact with salinisation (such as rising temperatures, pollution from metals, etc.); the ionic composition of the water - different ions have different levels of toxicity - and biogeographic factors (nearby rivers that have not been salinised that can provide a source for colonising organisms) and evolutionary factors (generated a population of salt-resistant organisms)," says Cañedo-Argüelles.

Maximum levels of ion concentrations in rivers must be established
The increase in salt mines in Germany during the 1950s had a major impact on the ecology of the country's rivers (particularly the Werra and the Wipper). The new study shows how these episodes of extreme salinisation in water ecosystems in Germany - which were reviewed in the scientific bibliography by Schulz and Cañedo-Argüelles - led the massive death of fish populations and the flourishing of toxic algae, among other environmental impacts. Today, some progress has been made in countries including Australia and the United States to regulate the level of salinisation in rivers, but the level of protection is still insufficient.

"Current legislation on salinisation in aquatic ecosystems is clearly excessive lax and incomplete, and we still lack many efficient management measures," insists Cañedo-Argüelles. He concludes that "the most important and urgently needed management measure is to establish concentration limits of ions in water to protect biodiversity and the health of water ecosystems. The collaboration of all the parties involved must be enhanced to implement the appropriate preventive and management measures, and thereby preserve the environmental health of river systems which are threatened by the serious problem of salinisation."

 

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