The effects of coal mine closure on macroinvertebrate communities

Reynolds, C.D., 2001. The effects of coal mine closure on macroinvertebrate communities. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Creswell colliery (north-east Derbyshire) pumped saline effluents into Millwood Brook for almost 100 years until spring 1993, a year after it closed. Since the brook had been sampled prior to mine closure (Bird, 1989), it was possible to examine the subsequent changes in species distributions here, and in the River Idle catchment, into which 16 mines, 12 now closed, once discharged their effluents.

From correlation analysis, and using the Millwood Brook as a case study, the major changes in species-dependent site groupings are caused by the loss of a chloride gradient from the polluting mine discharges. Species previously existing up and downstream of the polluted areas have now extended their range. It is now physical river parameters such as width, discharge rate and substratum type which generally control species distribution in the catchment. The saline tolerant amphipod Gammarus tigrinus has ceased migration upstream (towards the discharge), and is now retreating. G. pulex is re-colonising previously saline sites occupied exclusively by G. tigrinus.

To investigate the effects of mine closure on a wider area, data from 165 river sites sampled by the Environment Agency around 59 abandoned coal mine discharges in Yorkshire, Northumbria and Wales were examined. Macrofauna assemblages have been ordinated by DECORANA, classified by TWINSPAN and related to physico-chemical factors using correlation and Multiple Discriminant Analysis (MDA).

In Yorkshire, there is a change in significant correlations of variables with water chemistry in low impact sites, to include water turbidity and substratum quality in high impact sites, including coverage by 'ochre'. The DECORANA ordination for Northumbria, with low impact sites in more rural areas, illustrates changes in macroinvertebrate assemblages in relation to spatial changes in substratum and position along the length of the river.

Application of novel modelling techniques to the regional data to predict BMWP and ASPT scores and Number of Taxa shows that Group Method of Data Handling (GMDH) performs better than multiple regression (MR) as determined by R2 comparison (multiple coefficient of determination). The use of these techniques in pollution forecasting is discussed, and limitations of the study considered.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Reynolds, C.D.
Date: 2001
ISBN: 9781369316094
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 25 Sep 2020 12:29
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2023 12:17

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