The Impact of Acidification on Aquatic Biota in North America: A Comparison of Field and Laboratory Results

  • G. Mierle
  • K. Clark
  • R. France
Conference paper


Acidification of lakes and streams can lead to adverse effects on aquatic biota, and the recognition of widespread atmospheric deposition of strong acids in eastern North America has led to considerable concern over its existing and potential impact on th flora and fauna of sensitive (i.e. low alkalinity) systems. While most of the concern has been directed toward the impact on the fisheries resource, it is well documented that all levels of biota are affected (Almer et al., 1974; Likens et al., 1983; Dillon et al., 1984), and full appreciation of the impact of acidification requires examination of all living components of the aquatic ecosystem. Although extensive work has already been conducted in the Scandinavian countries, there are numerous differences in species between those countries and North America, and a sound appraisal of the threat to North American biota requires comparable work for this continent. Large scale surveys and monitoring programs are under development or are in the early phases of execution by various institutions, but much has already been learned from laboratory and field acidification experiments, and from comparisons of acidic and non-acidic lakes and streams. The purpose of this paper is to compare the results of these studies for several dominant species from several major groups of organisms. We hope to focus attention on the nature and quality of information about the sensitivity of organisms with known or apparent significant ecological roles, identify gaps or weaknesses, and provide insight into the merits and limitations of the various methods of study.


North America Aquatic Biota Filamentous Alga Acute Toxicity Test Acid Lake 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Mierle
    • 1
  • K. Clark
    • 2
  • R. France
    • 3
  1. 1.Dorset Research CentreOntario Ministry of the EnvironmentDorsetCanada
  2. 2.Biota Environmental ContractorsDorsetCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Environment StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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