Effects of biodiversity on water distribution and quality

TitleEffects of biodiversity on water distribution and quality
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsHuenneke L.
EditorHeywood V.H, Watson R.T
Book TitleGlobal biodiversity assessment
PublisherCambridge University Press
CityCambridge, England
Call Number00651
Keywordsbiodiversity, book, books, chapter, chapters, ecosystem, biodiversity, report, reports, water, biodiversity

Water is essential to all living organisms, and in turn the biosphere plays a crucial role in the transportation, transformation and redistribution of water on local and regional scales. In terrestrial ecosystems, vegetation plays the primary role in transferring water from the soil to the atmosphere; plants and animals also have significant effects on the movement of water into the soil. In terrestrial systems, living organisms often regulate the magnitude and rate of flow of water from one site to another; similar effects occur in some aquatic ecosystems. In both terrestrial and aquatic systems the biota can have measurable impacts on water quality (e.g. on composition of solutes, abundance and nature of particulates). Unfortunately there are few experimental studies exploring the links between biodiversity and water. Clearly, though, differences among organisms and communities in physiology, phenology and structure determine the type and magnitude of biotic effects. The text below summarizes some of the major influences of species and communities on water fluxes and water quality.