Gomes, Pedro Henrique, Pereira, Silvano Porto, Tavares, Tallita Cruz Lopes, Garcia, Tatiane Martins and Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4696-3166 (2023) Impacts of desalination discharges on phytoplankton and zooplankton: Perspectives on current knowledge. Science of The Total Environment, 863 . p. 160671. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160671.

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Large-scale application of desalination technology can result in impacts to the marine biota, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton, basal components of marine trophic webs. In this context, our perspective aimed to summarize the impacts of effluent discharges from desalination plants on phytoplankton and zooplankton in order to identify the main gaps and challenges in this theme, propose solutions, and provide recommendations for future work. We identified two main approaches to assess the desalination impacts: laboratory experiments and field studies. Most of these studies were conducted in areas impacted by effluent discharges using the BACI (before, after, and control-impact) approach. They primarily aimed to set out the impacts of hypersaline brine on the surrounding environment and, to a lesser extent, the high-temperature effluents and contaminants from desalination plants. Moreover, phytoplankton was more sensitive to effluent discharges than zooplankton. The main changes observed were a decrease in primary productivity, a loss in diversity, and a change in the community structure of planktonic populations due to the dominance of saline-tolerant groups, which highlights the importance improving treatment or dilution of effluent discharges to minimize the impacts over whole neritic trophic webs, which depend on phytoplankton. From the impacts related to effluent discharges analyzed herein, RO technology was related to most cases of negative impact related to salinity modifications. However, coagulants were related to negative effects in all study cases. Future work should focus on escalate the impacts of such effluents on other trophic levels that could be directly or indirectly impacted as well as on how to improve the quality of effluent discharges. Also, we highlight the importance of further baseline and long-term monitoring studies to investigate desalination-induced changes and community resilience to these impacts, as well as studies to provide alternatives to the use of toxic chemicals in the pre-treatment phases.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160671
ISSN: 00489697
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 16:12
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 16:13
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/5091

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