Ecological Modelling of River-Wetland Systems: A Case Study for the Abras de Mantequilla Wetland in Ecuador, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ecological Modelling of River-Wetland Systems

A Case Study for the Abras de Mantequilla Wetland in Ecuador, 1st Edition

By Maria Gabriela Alvarez Mieles

CRC Press

324 pages

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Paperback: 9780367344504
pub: 2019-07-16
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Description

Around 6% of the Earth's land surface is covered by wetlands. Wetlands play a key role in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, delivering multiple benefits to society: sources of water supply, flood regulation, water purification, agriculture, fisheries, and biodiversity. Hence, wetland systems are of immense socio-economic as well as ecological importance. In this research, the focus was on the Abras de Mantequilla (AdM) wetland in the tropical coastal region of Ecuador, a RAMSAR site and case study area for the EU-FP7 WETwin project.

The research in this thesis involves a combination of field data collection, multivariate analysis techniques, as well as numerical modelling studies. The goal was to explore the effects of changes in hydrological forcing on the hydrodynamic and ecohydraulic responses of the wetland. The study aims to contribute to the understanding of how a tropical river-wetland system functions in terms of hydrodynamics, water quality, primary production, and biotic communities. Spatial patterns of biotic communities and environmental variables are obtained as well as spatio-temporal variability of hydrodynamics, water quality, primary productivity and fish habitat-suitability conditions.

In data scarce areas and countries with financial constraints, the combination of field measurements with numerical models was extremely useful and relevant, confirming that these techniques complement each other in obtaining a better understanding of the dynamics of freshwater river–wetland systems. Studies like the present research can be used to enhance awareness about the environmental services of wetlands and stimulate cooperation between all stakeholders in order to achieve more sustainable wetland management.

Table of Contents

1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 THE ROLE OF WETLANDS

1.2 WETLAND CONSERVATION

1.3 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

1.4 WETLAND DYNAMICS, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

1.5 THE WETWIN PROJECT

1.6 THE ABRAS DE MANTEQUILLA WETLAND IN ECUADOR

1.7 CAPABILITIES OF MATHEMATICAL MODELLING TOOLS

1.8 OVERALL RESEARCH APPROACH

1.9 SPECIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.10 THESIS OUTLINE

2 HYDRODYNAMICS OF THE TROPICAL ADM RIVER-WETLAND SYSTEM

2.1 GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS

2.2 HYDROLOGICAL AND METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

2.3 THE ADM RIVER-WETLAND SYSTEM

2.4 NATURAL VARIABILITY IN HYDRODYNAMIC CONDITIONS

2.5 WATER BALANCE AND RELATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OF INFLOWS

2.6 CONDITIONS DURING MEASUREMENT CAMPAIGNS 2011&2012

2.7 DISCUSSION

3 ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES AND SPATIAL PATTERNS

3.1 BACKGROUND

3.2 FIELD MEASUREMENT CAMPAIGNS

3.3 SAMPLING RESULTS WITHIN THE WATER BODY

3.4 SAMPLING RESULTS OF BOTTOM SEDIMENT

3.5 CONCENTRATIONS, GRADIENTS AND KEY VARIABLES

4 COMMUNITY STRUCTURE OF BIOTIC ASSEMBLAGES

4.1 BACKGROUND

4.2 FIELD MEASUREMENT CAMPAIGNS

4.3 PHYTOPLANKTON

4.4 ZOOPLANKTON

4.5 MACROINVERTEBRATES

4.6 FISH

4.7 SUMMARY OF SIMILARITIES

4.8 SUMMARY OF DISSIMILARITIES

4.9 LINKING BIOTIC ASSEMBLAGES WITH ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES

4.10 DISCUSSIONS

5 EVALUATION OF WATER QUALITY AND PRIMARY PRODUCTION DYNAMICS

5.1 BACKGROUND AND SCOPE

5.2 MODEL SET UP

5.3 MODEL PERFORMANCE AND VERIFICATION

5.4 SCENARIOS

5.5 DISCUSSION

6 EVALUATION OF HABITAT SUITABILITY CONDITIONS FOR FISH

6.1 BACKGROUND AND SCOPE

6.2 STUDY AREA

6.3 THE HABITAT SUITABILITY INDEX

6.4 RESULTS

6.5 DISCUSSION

7 DISCUSSION AND SYNTHESIS

7.1 SUSTAINABILITY OF THE ADM WETLAND HYDRODYNAMICS

7.2 MASS BALANCES OF NUTRIENTS

7.3 MASS BALANCES OF PRIMARY PRODUCERS

7.4 NUTRIENT BALANCES AND THEIR VARIATIONS BETWEEN DIFFERENT HYDROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

7.5 WETLAND PRODUCTIVITY AND RELATED PROCESSES

8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

8.1 RESEARCH APPROACH

8.2 SPATIO-TEMPORAL VARIABILITY OF THE ADM WETLAND HYDRODYNAMICS

8.3 DOMINANT AND KEY SPECIES IN THE ADM WETLAND SYSTEM

8.4 SPATIAL PATTERNS IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES AND BIOTIC COMMUNITIES

8.5 MAIN PHYSICO-CHEMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES

8.6 SPATIO-TEMPORAL VARIABILITY OF FISH-HABITAT SUITABILITY

8.7 MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR THE ADM WETLAND

8.8 NUMERICAL MODELLING AS A TOOL TO DESCRIBE WETLAND DYNAMICS

8.9 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

REFERENCES

APPENDIX A

A.1 THE 1 D DE SAINT-VENANT EQUATIONS

A.2 THE 2D DE SAINT-VENANT EQUATION

APPENDIX B

B.1 THE 1D ADVECTION-DISPERSION EQUATION

B.2 THE 2D ADVECTION-DISPERSION EQUATION

APPENDIX C

APPENDIX D

APPENDIX E

About the Author

Maria Gabriela Alvarez Mieles was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has a Bachelor degree in Biology from the Natural Sciences Faculty at Universidad de Guayaquil, with honours 'Accesit al Contenta' equivalent to magna cum laude. During her early career, she has worked at the Aquatic Pollution department of a National Research Institute in Ecuador (Instituto Nacional de Pesca - INP), participating in monitoring campaigns in some of the main rivers, sea, and estuaries in protected areas. Later she joined Efficacitas, an environmental consultancy office where she participated in several environmental impact assessments, audits and monitoring campaigns for different productive sectors of Ecuador (water, electric, hydrocarbons, mining and industry).

She pursued the MSc in Environmental Sciences at UNESCO-IHE, specialization Planning and Management, with a fellowship from the World Bank (2007). Her MSc thesis was about "Ecological Indicators-A tool for assessment the present state of a river. A pre-impoundment study in Quevedo-River, Ecuador". IN 2007, she received an internship at DELTARES, in the Marine and Coastal Department for one of the R&D projects on 'Building with Nature'. In 2008, she was engaged at UNESCO-IHE, first contributing to the EU funded research project based on Lake Maryut (Egypt). In 2009, she had the opportunity to join the WETwin project (EU funded), as a researcher for the Ecuadorian case study (on a wetland in the Guayas River Basin). The project focus aimed to enhance the role of wetlands in integrated water resource management. Her involvement in this project motivated her to pursue a PhD in order to enhance the research for the Abras de Mantequilla wetland.

She developed her PhD research at UNESCO-IHE, Department of Water Sciences & Engineering, with a fellowship from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs (Netherland fellowship programme NFP-NUFFIC), and financial support from the WETwin project for her fieldwork campaigns. Her PhD thesis was on environmental monitoring and modelling of the ‘Abras de Mantequilla’ wetland (RAMSAR site 2000) in Ecuador, applying analytical metrics and ecological modelling to enhance the understanding of tropical wetland systems.

About the Series

IHE Delft PhD Thesis Series

IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.

PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.

IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI026000
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TEC009020
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Civil / General
TEC010030
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply