Effects of the Three Gorges Dam on spatiotemporal distribution of silicon in the tributary: evidence from the Xiangxi River

Research paper by Yubo Huang, Wujuan Mi, Zhengyu Hu, Yonghong Bi

Indexed on: 19 Dec '18Published on: 18 Dec '18Published in: Environmental Science and Pollution Research


In order to get insight into the impact of Three Gorges Dam construction on silicon distribution pattern due to the altered hydraulic and environmental conditions, the Xiangxi River was chosen as the delegate of the tributaries in the Three Gorges Reservoir; dissolved silica (DSi), biogenic silica (BSi), and lithogenic silica (LSi) were investigated monthly from November 2015 to October 2016 and the hydrodynamic conditions and environmental parameters were addressed synchronously. DSi, BSi, and LSi ranged from 56.07 to 106.07 μmol/L, 0 to 5.64 μmol/L, and 0.49 to 11.47 μmol/L, with the average concentration of 81.84 ± 14.65 μmol/L, 1.11 ± 0.69 μmol/L, and 2.68 ± 1.97 μmol/L, respectively. DSi was significantly lower in the wet season than the dry season (P < 0.05), but BSi and LSi showed a converse trend. DSi was the dominant component in the total silicon (> 90%) and it has a higher concentration in the midstream than other sites. While BSi and LSi exhibited a decrease trend from the upstream to the downstream. Statistical analysis showed that DSi and LSi was primarily controlled by discharge. BSi concentration was affected by algal growth since it was positively correlated with Chla. The backwater area retained 3.67% total silicon. It was concluded that the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of silicon distribution related to hydrodynamics was determined by the regulation of dam; permanent backwater area was the main deposition area for silicon.