Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Relation between biodiversity and hydrogeological conditions in loading zone of porous aquifer from the river

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
B260  Biomedical sciences  Hydrobiology, marine biology, aquatic ecology, limnology 
biodiversity, hydrology, water quality, porous aquifer, groundwater, water framework directive
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  05221  PhD Anton Brancelj  Biology  Head  2007 - 2009  600 
2.  19280  PhD Mitja Janža  Geology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  446 
3.  18341  Andreja Jerebic    Technical associate  2007 - 2009  24 
4.  01259  PhD Nina Mali  Geology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  438 
5.  17247  Miroslav Medić    Technical associate  2007 - 2009  81 
6.  22615  PhD Nataša Mori  Biology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  163 
7.  15129  PhD Tatjana Simčič  Biology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  167 
8.  04862  PhD Janko Urbanc  Geology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  462 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,473 
2.  0215  Geological Survey of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5051410000  11,212 
Infiltration zone, where water from surface river enters into porous aquifer (in gravel beds), is very important for quantity and quality of water in porous aquifer. At the same time it is zone, where groundwater body gets most of its water. In Slovenia porous aquifers are under intensive negative pressure of agriculture and urbanisation and a result is quite low level of (chemical) water quality. In relatively thin infiltration zone surface water undergoes significant changes in physical and chemical characteristics. They depend not only on physical properties of gravel beds but also on different organisms, not only bacteria, but also numerous microinvertebrates. Opposite to prevailing opinion that zone is inhabited by numerous highly specialised multi-cellular animals, which with their activity influence quantity and quality of infiltrated water. Animals with their moving between sand grains facilitate hydrological conductivity and with feeding they speed-up processes of mineralization and a result is better water quality. Good ecological status of surface water supports existence of stabile community of aquatic organisms in space and time as it is defined in Frame Water Directive of EU from 2000. So far good ecological status is defined only for surface water bodies while groundwater bodies were omitted from that system. The goal of proposed project is to extend our knowledge on good ecological status also on ground water which can be later used for more complex evaluation of ground water quality. Aim of the project is a): to find which functional groups of animals are the most common in infiltration zone, b): how they are distributed in relation with hydrological conductivity and connectivity between surface and porous aquifer and c): how ground water quality changes with distance from surface water. To follow connectivity between surface and groundwater is also recommended in WFD. Within the project we will try to find, by means of hydrochemical and isotope composition of groundwater, proportions of surface water vs. total volume of porous aquifer and their dynamic in space and time. The whole project will be based on suitable experimental polygon with good connection between river and porous aquifer where three-dimensional sampling network will be established. In regular time intervals (2-3 months) quality and quantity of infiltrated water will be evaluated along with quality and quantity of interstitial fauna in several transversal profiles from surface river toward porous aquifer.
Significance for science
Research activities on fauna in porous aquifers is still rather insufficient, both from knowledge on species composition as well as from a point of view of its function. Due to sanitary and health needs a bacteriology is in advance and it is better examined while knowledge on a role and dynamic of metazoans is still very scarce. However, this part of biota is as important as microorgansms there, as they contribute to improving of water quality with their metabolic activities. Significant change in water quality can happens in a gravel just in a few metres from the rive channel. Knowledge on water-level dynamics and speed of river-water intrusion into gravel-beds along with distribution pattern of the animals along the profile are still rather weak even on a global scale. This is one of the most important reason, why only "good chemical status" was accepted for evaluation of groundwater quality and not also "good ecological status" which is relevant for surface water bodies (Water Framework Directive; EU-2000). At the moment there is some activity in Europe to use also ecological indicators for groundwater quality, too. The research activities, like performed within this project, will make a significant contribution in that direction. In scientific community, Slovenia is well known as a biodiversity »hot spot«, and as well as the area with high degree of endemism. Along with better knowledge on groundwater ecology the results of this study provided new data on groundwater biodiversity in Slovenia. The new data can be applied in the hypothesis testing regarding mechanisms of speciation and evolution. Until recently, the knowledge on Ostracoda distribution in Slovenia was poor due to lack of experts. In this research the endemic ostracod species, described until now only from type locality, was found. The collected material will be used for species redescription and analysis of biogeographical distribution of groundwater ostracods. In this research the new approach for studying microbial activity in groundwater was tested. The methodology was used until now for respiration measurements in lakes and for different organisms. The application of this methodology in groundwater ecology research is an important achievement in this field of research.
Significance for the country
A problem of drinking water scarcity becomes in Slovenia more and more present and scaring. In addition to pollution, which had took place quite a long time ago and where countermeasures are already more or less efficiently implemented, there is ever increasing problem of changes in water regimes as a result of climate change and increased water use. Knowledege on mechanisms of water fluxes from a river channel into a gravel bed, a role of fauna there and consequences of uncontrolled actions within river channels, can significantly contribute to quality and quantity of groundwater which in Slovenia represents a source for about 90 % of drinking water needs.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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