Nutrient Impacts on Wetlands: Field Studies New Zealand
This video describes how scientists are studying freshwater wetlands on the North Island of New Zealand and how nutrients from pasture runoff may alter the vegetation and peat formation in these important ecosystems. Much of what is known about wetlands comes from research conducted in the Northern Hemisphere. In contrast, much less is known about wetland ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere. Because New Zealand has been geographically isolated, it has unique species of plants and animals found nowhere else. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey are collaborating with counterparts in New Zealand to study nutrient effects on plant production and decomposition processes. The peat-forming plants in freshwater wetlands are identified and methods used to study effects of nutrients on peat formation are illustrated. By studying how nutrients affect wetlands in New Zealand, scientists will gain a much broader understanding of how eutrophication affects their structure and function globally. Such information will lead to better methods of wetland conservation and protection worldwide.