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Environments, Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2014), Pages 1-123

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Environments: A New Cutting-Edge International and Interdisciplinary Scholarly Open Access Journal
Environments 2014, 1(1), 1-3; doi:10.3390/environments1010001
Received: 8 January 2014 / Accepted: 10 January 2014 / Published: 23 January 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environments across the earth comprise human and natural systems which are influenced and changed by natural processes and anthropogenic activities of various scales, both globally and locally [1–4]. Natural systems such as aquatic, atmospheric, and terrestrial environments without human intervention encompass all living
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Environments across the earth comprise human and natural systems which are influenced and changed by natural processes and anthropogenic activities of various scales, both globally and locally [1–4]. Natural systems such as aquatic, atmospheric, and terrestrial environments without human intervention encompass all living and non-living things with interactions of processes such as environmental physical, chemical, biological, and biogeochemical. Such processes need to be examined in environmental studies using advanced techniques and analysis methods. Moreover, through such processes, the living and non-living are intimately related to each other as natural systems from aquatic, atmospheric, and terrestrial environments also provide natural resources for human needs [1]. Conversely, human systems comprise areas and components that human activities such as agricultural activities, industrialization, or urbanization heavily influence, possibly causing environmental pollution. Correspondingly, environmental analytical methods and techniques for pollution control and prevention, as well as conservation of natural resources all provide further insight into environmental chemistry, environmental biology, ecology, geosciences, and environmental physics in natural systems from the viewpoint of environmental planning, environmental engineering and policy, environmental health and toxicology. Environmental pollution and soil, air, and water-related disasters involve complex interactions among natural and anthropogenic causes [1,4–9]. However, as is well recognized, in addition to their increasing emphasis on the investigation of environmental science and related techniques, environmental studies also focus on environmental planning, environmental assessments, environmental management, and environmental policy that cross multiple disciplinary boundaries in order to solve environmental problems, and thus improve our environment. [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Distribution of Fresh-Water Mollusks of the Gharb Area (Morocco)
Environments 2014, 1(1), 4-13; doi:10.3390/environments1010004
Received: 9 January 2014 / Revised: 3 March 2014 / Accepted: 5 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To assess changes in the fauna of freshwater mollusks in the Gharb Plain (Morocco), 200 sites spread over five districts were surveyed between May 2012 and May 2013. A total of 11 species were identified. Physella acuta and Melanopsis praemorsa were most frequently
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To assess changes in the fauna of freshwater mollusks in the Gharb Plain (Morocco), 200 sites spread over five districts were surveyed between May 2012 and May 2013. A total of 11 species were identified. Physella acuta and Melanopsis praemorsa were most frequently encountered. Bulinus truncatus, an intermediate host of schistosomiasis in Morocco, and Planorbarius metidjensis, an intermediate host of schistosomiasis, were not harvested. The absence of these species may be due to a combination of climatic, biological and anthropogenic factors related to the changes that have occurred in the region. Full article
Open AccessArticle Native Roadside Vegetation that Enhances Soil Erosion Control in Boreal Scandinavia
Environments 2014, 1(1), 31-41; doi:10.3390/environments1010031
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 26 June 2014 / Published: 7 July 2014
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Abstract
This study focused on identifying vegetation characteristics associated with erosion control at nine roadside sites in mid-West Sweden. A number of vegetation characteristics such as cover, diversity, plant functional type, biomass and plant community structure were included. Significant difference in cover between eroded
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This study focused on identifying vegetation characteristics associated with erosion control at nine roadside sites in mid-West Sweden. A number of vegetation characteristics such as cover, diversity, plant functional type, biomass and plant community structure were included. Significant difference in cover between eroded and non-eroded sub-sites was found in evergreen shrubs, total cover, and total above ground biomass. Thus, our results support the use of shrubs in order to stabilize vegetation and minimize erosion along roadsides. However, shrubs are disfavored by several natural and human imposed factors. This could have several impacts on the long-term management of roadsides in boreal regions. By both choosing and applying active management that supports native evergreen shrubs in boreal regions, several positive effects could be achieved along roadsides, such as lower erosion rate and secured long-term vegetation cover. This could also lead to lower costs for roadside maintenance as lower erosion rates would require less frequent stabilizing treatments and mowing could be kept to a minimum in order not to disfavor shrubs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reductions of PAH and Soot by Center Air Injection
Environments 2014, 1(1), 42-53; doi:10.3390/environments1010042
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 15 July 2014
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Abstract
In this study, to reduce the amount of pollutant PAH and soot in the flame, we examined the burner system equipped with a center air injection. For this purpose, by using PAH-LIF and soot LII, we evaluated relative PAH and soot amounts in
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In this study, to reduce the amount of pollutant PAH and soot in the flame, we examined the burner system equipped with a center air injection. For this purpose, by using PAH-LIF and soot LII, we evaluated relative PAH and soot amounts in both the triple port burner and the conventional co-axial burner (double port burner) to discuss effects of center air injection on the formation of PAH and soot. The fuel was propane. In the triple port burner, two different blue flames are observed near the burner rim, followed by bright luminous flames with soot. The flame length is longer when the fuel flow velocity is increased. On the other hand, the flame length is shorter with an increase in internal air flow velocity. As for PAH and soot, these amounts of the triple port burner are much smaller than those of the double port burner. For the triple port burner, due to the center air injection, the fuel consumption occurs in both inner and outer flames. On the other hand, for the double port burner, the oxygen is supplied from one side air, and as a result, the fuel consumption rate is relatively lower. Hence, by the center air injection, the fuel consumption is largely accelerated, resulting in the reduction of PAH and soot. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Proportional Odds Model of Particle Pollution
Environments 2014, 1(1), 54-59; doi:10.3390/environments1010054
Received: 25 May 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
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Abstract
A linear regression model of particle pollution and an ordered logistic regression model of the relevant index were selected for observations in the US city of Los Angeles, California. Models were used to forecast Air Quality Index (AQI) from a sample, and were
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A linear regression model of particle pollution and an ordered logistic regression model of the relevant index were selected for observations in the US city of Los Angeles, California. Models were used to forecast Air Quality Index (AQI) from a sample, and were compared and contrasted. Methods are comparable overall but markedly different in their powers to predict certain categories. Linear regression models of AQI through particle pollution are more favored to predict moderate air quality; ordered logistic regression models of AQI directly are more favored to predict good air quality. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influence of Wood Biochar on Phenanthrene Catabolism in Soils
Environments 2014, 1(1), 60-74; doi:10.3390/environments1010060
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
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Abstract
The impact of increasing amendments of two particle sizes of biochar (≤2 mm and 3–7 mm), applied at 0%, 0.01%, 0.1% and 1% concentrations, on the development of indigenous phenanthrene catabolism was investigated in two soils with different soil organic matter contents. Mineralisation
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The impact of increasing amendments of two particle sizes of biochar (≤2 mm and 3–7 mm), applied at 0%, 0.01%, 0.1% and 1% concentrations, on the development of indigenous phenanthrene catabolism was investigated in two soils with different soil organic matter contents. Mineralisation of 14C-phenanthrene was measured after 1, 20, 60 and 100 d soil-phenanthrene-biochar aging period. The presence of biochar in the pasture soil (low OM) resulted in a decrease in the lag phase of 14C-phenanthrene mineralisation, with higher maximum rates of mineralisation following 20 d aging. Higher extents of 14C-phenanthrene mineralisation were observed in the Kettering loam soil (high OM), which was more prominent with 0.01% biochar amendments (p < 0.05) at 61.2% and 64.9% in ≤2 mm and 3–7 mm biochar amended soils, respectively. This study illustrates the potential role for biochar to enhance microbial catabolic activity to degrade common petroleum contaminants. It however depends on contaminant concentration, aging period, and soil properties. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Wildlife Habitat Quality (Sward Structure and Ground Cover) Response of Mixed Native Warm-Season Grasses to Harvesting
Environments 2014, 1(1), 75-91; doi:10.3390/environments1010075
Received: 4 July 2014 / Revised: 5 August 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (739 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural intensification in America has replaced native warm-season grasses (NWSG) with introduced forages causing wildlife habitat loss and population declines for the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and similar ground-nesting birds. Reintroducing NWSGs onto managed grasslands to reverse grassland bird population declines lacks
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Agricultural intensification in America has replaced native warm-season grasses (NWSG) with introduced forages causing wildlife habitat loss and population declines for the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and similar ground-nesting birds. Reintroducing NWSGs onto managed grasslands to reverse grassland bird population declines lacks information about appropriate multi-purpose management. Post-season nesting habitat quality of mixed NWSGs (indiangrass (IG, Sorghastrum nutans), big bluestem (BB, Andropogon gerardii) and little bluestem (LB, Schizachyrium scoparium)) responding to previous-year(s) harvest intervals (treatments, 30-, 40-, 60-, 90 or 120-d) and duration (years in production), were assessed on late-spring-early-summer re-growths. Yearly phased harvestings were initiated in May on sets of randomized plots, ≥90-cm apart, in five replications (blocks) to produce one-, two-, and three-year old stands by the third year. Sward heights and canopy closure were recorded a day before harvest, followed a week after by visual estimates of ground cover of plant species and litter. Harvesting increased post-season grass cover and reduced forbs following a high rainfall year. Harvested plot swards showed no treatment differences, but were shorter and intercepted more sunlight. Similarly, harvest duration increased grass cover with no year effect but reduced forbs following a high rainfall year. One- or two-year full-season harvesting of similar stands may not compromise subsequent bobwhite nesting-cover provided post-season harvesting starts after the breeding cycle is completed. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Ecotoxicological Approach to Assess the Environmental Quality of Freshwater Basins: A Possible Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive?
Environments 2014, 1(1), 92-106; doi:10.3390/environments1010092
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
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Abstract
Within the context of the Water Framework Directive, the need to identify new monitoring tools in support of the traditional chemical monitoring process is emerging. Chemical characterization by itself does not provide specific biological information about potential hazards to organisms, in particular when
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Within the context of the Water Framework Directive, the need to identify new monitoring tools in support of the traditional chemical monitoring process is emerging. Chemical characterization by itself does not provide specific biological information about potential hazards to organisms, in particular when facing cocktails of contaminants. Therefore, ecotoxicity tests can represent a useful tool supporting the chemical information. In the present work, the value of ecotoxicity tests as an effect-based tool for monitoring freshwater and sediment quality of the south-western basin of Lake Como (Northern Italy) was evaluated, assessing the potential risk of pollutants. Results obtained from D. magna toxicity tests showed a temporal variation of toxic response in relation to the variability of organic micropollutant load characteristics of urban rivers. Sediment ecotoxicity test data showed the spatial variability of the sediments’ contamination within the lake, confirmed by chemical analysis of two classes of pollutants (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polychlorobiphenyls (PCB)). The observed effects on organisms in laboratory tests caused by a mixture of almost unknown chemicals underline the importance of integrating effect-based tools into monitoring efforts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pollutant Flux Estimation in an Estuary Comparison between Model and Field Measurements
Environments 2014, 1(1), 107-123; doi:10.3390/environments1010107
Received: 17 April 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
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Abstract
This study proposes a framework for estimating pollutant flux in an estuary. An efficient method is applied to estimate the flux of pollutants in an estuary. A gauging station network in the Danshui River estuary is established to measure the data of water
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This study proposes a framework for estimating pollutant flux in an estuary. An efficient method is applied to estimate the flux of pollutants in an estuary. A gauging station network in the Danshui River estuary is established to measure the data of water quality and discharge based on the efficient method. A boat mounted with an acoustic Doppler profiler (ADP) traverses the river along a preselected path that is normal to the streamflow to measure the velocities, water depths and water quality for calculating pollutant flux. To know the characteristics of the estuary and to provide the basis for the pollutant flux estimation model, data of complete tidal cycles is collected. The discharge estimation model applies the maximum velocity and water level to estimate mean velocity and cross-sectional area, respectively. Thus, the pollutant flux of the estuary can be easily computed as the product of the mean velocity, cross-sectional area and pollutant concentration. The good agreement between the observed and estimated pollutant flux of the Danshui River estuary shows that the pollutant measured by the conventional and the efficient methods are not fundamentally different. The proposed method is cost-effective and reliable. It can be used to estimate pollutant flux in an estuary accurately and efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Security and Resilience of Terrestrial and Freshwater Environments)

Review

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Open AccessReview Review of Evidence of Environmental Impacts of Animal Research and Testing
Environments 2014, 1(1), 14-30; doi:10.3390/environments1010014
Received: 13 March 2014 / Revised: 26 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
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Abstract
Millions of animals are used in research and toxicity testing, including in drug, medical device, chemical, cosmetic, personal care, household, and other product sectors, but the environmental consequences are yet to be adequately addressed. Evidence suggests that their use and disposal, and the
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Millions of animals are used in research and toxicity testing, including in drug, medical device, chemical, cosmetic, personal care, household, and other product sectors, but the environmental consequences are yet to be adequately addressed. Evidence suggests that their use and disposal, and the associated use of chemicals and supplies, contribute to pollution as well as adverse impacts on biodiversity and public health. The objective of this review is to examine such evidence. The review includes examinations of (1) resources used in animal research; (2) waste production in laboratories; (3) sources of pollution; (4) impacts on laboratory workers’ health; and (5) biodiversity impacts. The clear conclusion from the review is that the environmental implications of animal testing must be acknowledged, reported, and taken into account as another factor in addition to ethical and scientific reasons weighing heavily in favor of moving away from allowing and requiring animal use in research and testing. Full article

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