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Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Aug;185(8):6793-807. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3065-y. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Comprehensive analysis of an ecological risk assessment of the Daliao River estuary, China.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science and Ecology, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, 266100, China. yuge@ouc.edu.cn


At present, most estuarine ecological risk studies are based on terrestrial ecosystem models, which ignore spatial heterogeneity. The Daliao River estuary has representative characteristics of many estuaries in China, and we used this estuary as the study area to formulate an estuarine ecological risk evaluation model. Targeting the estuary's special hydrodynamic condition, this model incorporated variables that were under the influence of human activities and used them as the major factors for partitioning sections of the river according to risk values. It also explored the spatial and temporal distribution laws of estuarine ecological risk. The results showed that, on the whole, the ecological risk of the Daliao River estuary area was relatively high. At a temporal level, runoff was the main factor resulting in differences in ecological risk, while at the spatial level, the ecological risk index was affected by pollutants carried by runoff from upstream, as well as downstream pollution emissions and dilution by seawater at the mouth of the sea. The characteristics of this model make it possible to simulate the spatial and temporal risk distribution in different regions and under different rainfall regimes. This model can thus be applied in other estuarine areas and provides some technical support for analysis and control of ecological destruction in estuary areas.

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