The September 2 issue of Science Daily reports on a new study that concludes biological diversity is “severely threatened by mountaintop coal mining.”  The study was conducted by a research team led by Dr. Emily Bernhardt of Duke University and published this past summer in the journal Ecological Applications.  The study notes:

  • “The rivers of Appalachia (United States) are among the most biologically diverse freshwater ecosystems in the temperate zone and are home to numerous endemic aquatic organisms.”
  • “Previous regional assessments have found significant declines in stream macroinvertebrate and fish communities after draining these mined areas.”
  • “We collected water samples from 93 streams in Central Appalachia (West Virginia, United States) spanning a gradient of mountaintop coal mining intensity and legacy to assess how this land use alters downstream water chemistry and affects aquatic biodiversity. “
  • “We show that extensive coal surface mining activities led to the extirpation of 40% of biodiversity from impacted rivers throughout the region and that current water quality criteria are likely not protective for many groups of aquatic organisms.”

For a link to the Science Daily article, click here.  For a link to the Abstract of the study and information on purchasing the full study, click here.

Mountaintop mining causes biodiversity losses, new study says
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