Ecosystem flowchart, click to enlarge
Ecosystem flowchart, click to enlarge.

What factors affect freshwater ecosystems?

Above you see a simplified diagram that shows what we measure, and how the indicators are affected by different factors such as land use, pollution, and other environmental changes.

Even before human intervention, bodies of water have fluctuating nutrient and turbidity levels, depending on the events taking place around them. As you can see in the flowchart, naturally occurring weather patterns and changes in the landscape around a waterbody will result in changes in the indicators. When combined with human activity, the impact can be enormous.

From previous research, we know that there are at least three main ways that humans have an effect on water quality: through their land use activity, pollution, and the introduction of invasive non-native species. Follow the links or click on an image below to learn more.

Land use and runoff
Water pollution
Invasive non-native species



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