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bioindicators, bacterial diversity, ecotoxicology, ecological risk assessment, wetlands, land use, pollutants


Freshwater ecosystems are affected by anthropogenic alterations. Different studies have extensively studied the concentrations of metals, nutrients, and water quality as measurements of pollution in freshwater ecosystems. However, few studies have been able to link these pollutants to bioindicators as a risk assessment tool. This study aimed to examine the potential of two bioindicators, plant ecotoxicological assays and sediment bacterial taxonomic diversity, in ecological risk assessment for six freshwater constructed wetlands in a rapidly urbanizing watershed with diverse land uses. Sediment samples were collected summer, 2015 and 2017, and late summer and early fall in 2016 to conduct plant ecotoxicological assays based on plant (Lepidium, Sinapis and Sorghum) growth inhibition and identify bacterial taxonomical diversity by the 16S rRNA gene sequences. Concentrations of metals such as lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) (using XRF), and nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate (using HACH DR 2800TM spectrophotometer) were measured in sediment and water samples respectively. Analyses of response patterns revealed that plant and bacterial bioindicators were highly responsive to variation in the concentrations of these pollutants. Hence, this opens up the scope of using these bioindicators for ecological risk assessment in constructed freshwater wetland ecosystems within urbanizing watersheds

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