WaterAc Project - An investigation of the Sodium Dominance Index as a measure of Acid Sensitivity in Irish Streams.

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Resource or Project Abstract

The identification of acid-sensitive waters currently uses coarse methods of designation i.e. pH (<5.5) and low alkalinity (<10 mg CaCO3 l-1). While these measures are clearly indicative of low buffering capacity, they are extremely variable within any one catchment, depending on flow conditions and geology. The contribution of sodium (Na+) to the sum of the major cations (Sodium Dominance Index, SDI, or Weathering Index) in river waters has been proposed as an indicator of the acid sensitivity of rivers in upland Scotland, particularly where sea salt inputs dominate the base cation composition. The extent of SDI is considered a quantitative indication of catchment weathering rate, incorporating the effects of diverse geological composition. This project set out to evaluate the efficacy of the SDI approach to site designation under Irish conditions. Two initial hypotheses were tested: that SDI is more stable across flow conditions than the two most commonly used indicators (i.e. alkalinity and pH) and is thus a better indicator of stream sensitivity to acidification than these traditional indictors and that there is a graded response by the stream macroinvertebrates to values of the index, and hence some ecological underpinning of the chemical relationship.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Robert Cruikshanks
University College Dublin

Dr. Mary Kelly-Quinn
University College Dublin

Dr John O'Halloran
Department of Zoology, Ecology, and Plant Science

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
End of Project Report    ERTDI_50_Cruikshanks_WaterAC_epr.pdf  (2.09 Mb)
Project Synthesis Report    ERTDI_50_Cruikshanks_WaterAC_syn.pdf  (0.43 Mb)
Att 3    WaterAC-Project_Map_Of_Sites.jpg   (0.14 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Cruikshanks, R. Kelly-Quinn, M. O'Halloran, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationWaterAc Project - An investigation of the Sodium Dominance Index as a measure of Acid Sensitivity in Irish Streams.
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL https://eparesearch.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=2062406b-5fda-102a-90c6-0593d266866d
Unique Identifier2062406b-5fda-102a-90c6-0593d266866d
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-17

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Cruikshanks, R. Kelly-Quinn, M. O'Halloran, J.   "WaterAc Project - An investigation of the Sodium Dominance Index as a measure of Acid Sensitivity in Irish Streams.". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland https://eparesearch.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=2062406b-5fda-102a-90c6-0593d266866d (Last Accessed: 2024-06-17)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL https://eparesearch.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=30
Resource Keywordsalkalinity, conductivity, pH macorinvertebrates WaterAC
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2000-LS-3.2.1-M2
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceUsage of the data is currently restricted and will not be made publicly available from this website until pending publications have been published.

You must contact the Point of Contacts listed below directly if you wish to obtain and use the data.

In any publication outputs please cite the original producers and owners of this data correctly using the suggested citation information given below
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Thursday 1st August 2002 (01-08-2002)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 1st December 2002 (01-12-2002)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 4th January 2006 (04-01-2006)
Published on SAFERWednesday 30th May 2007 (30-05-2007)
Date of Last EditThursday 26th February 2009 at 12:21:59 (26-02-2009)
Datasets or Files Updated On Thursday 26th February 2009 at 12:15:36 (26-02-2009)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Site selection for the extensive sampling was undertaken in consultation with EPA/COFORD to ensure collection of data for areas where a paucity of data exists. This included site visits and detailed examination of forest management plans, and the determination of Q-value data availability. All information was collated in an ArcView GIS database which was completed in June 2002. A total of 257 potential sites were identified across Ireland (192 non-forested and 65 forested) potential sites were of good water quality with a minimum EPA rating of Q4 and above, which meant there was no evidence of organic pollution or eutrophication based on macro-invertebrate fauna (EPA, 2000). For practical purposes, the country was divided into two areas, (Northern Ireland was not surveyed i.e. North-East Corner) each research group being responsible for one of these areas (Figure 3.1). Final site sampling distribution was weighted, based on the base cation weathering index map obtained from Aherne and Farrell (2000)

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Knowledge gaps in the effects of acidification on hydrochemical and biological parameters were the impetus for the creation of these data. In particular, the performance of the Sodium Dominance Index (SDI) in base flow and flood conditions, and the interactions between SDI and invertebrates communities along an acidity gradient.
Supplementary Information
The database measures water chemical results including alkalinity, conductivity, pH etc, along with abundance numbers of macorinvertebrates from seasonal kick sampling. The database also contains physical information on sites and geological and floral data for each site in this national study.

Full list of contributors:

Robert Cruikshanks1, Rasmus Lauridsen2, Mark Hartl2, Alison Harrison2, Mary kelly-Quinn1, John O'Halloran2 and Paul Giller2,

1Limnology Unit, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, College of Life Sciences, Science Education and Research Centre (West), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.

2 Zoology and Plant Science Department, Distilliary Fields, University of College Cork, Cork.
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