Living With Brownification

Mayfly

Mayfly

Old timers have observed that many inland waters are not as clear than they used to be, they have a “browner” color. This phenomena has been documented world wide and given the name “brownification”. Brownification has multiple causes that are under investigation. Two of the large sources of brownification are “dissolved organic matter” and iron. A reduction in acidification is correlated with increased dissolved organic matter in water. Global climate change may be having some influence.

One effect of brownification is to reduce the amount of light penetrating the water. Reduced light can reduce photosynthetic output of aquatic plants and reduce the food available for aquatic insects. Most brownification has not proceeded to point where it is causing major effects. The long term effects of increasing brownification on ecosystems and aquatic insects are under study and remain to be seen.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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