Science Monday. Challenges of Global Change
On Monday 27 February, Dr. Vicenç Acuña, Dr. Anna Freixa and Dr. Josep Pueyo participated in the conference organised by the Residence for Researchers of the CSIC in BCN with the paper "Gorgues, entre el lleure i la conservació". This work won the Guilleries 2020 Award, from the Water, Nature and Well-being Chair.
River pools are usually the only habitats with water all year round in semi-arid climates, thus becoming a refuge for freshwater biota. However, human crowds also gather in pools during the warm season, threatening biodiversity. The aim of the work was to analyse the factors explaining recreational activity in the ponds (number of visits), to assess the relationship between visitation and impacts on water quality (DOC, NH4+, caffeine and EHMC sunscreen) and bacterial biodiversity (as an indicator of biodiversity) and to develop a method to determine the carrying capacity (i.e. number of visitors per day) of each pond. Results indicate that recreation impacts both water quality and biodiversity and that changes in biodiversity were especially rapid when recreation increased from zero to low. Implications for conservation are to prohibit recreation in those NSH with a high conservation value and to determine the recreation limit using river flow and water quality upstream for pools with a lower conservation value.