Knowledge Gaps and Opportunities in Water-Quality Drivers of Aquatic Ecosystem Health

Open-File Report 2023-1085
Edited by: Judson W. HarveyChristopher H. ConawayMark M. DornblaserAllen C. GellisA. Robin Stewart, and Christopher T. Green



This report identifies key scientific gaps that limit our ability to predict water quality effects on health of aquatic ecosystems and proposes approaches to address those gaps. Topics considered include (1) coupled nutrient-carbon cycle processes and related ecological-flow-regime drivers of ecosystem health, (2) anthropogenic and geogenic toxin bioexposure, (3) fine sediment drivers of aquatic ecosystem health, and (4) freshwater salinization. Each topic is addressed in terms of scientific gaps, approaches, and timelines to help guide portions of the U.S. Geological Survey Water Mission Area ( research portfolio and other national research efforts. The report provides an assessment of several of the major challenges and opportunities concerning water quality impacts on aquatic ecosystem health. It will be important to maintain broad-based expertise and flexibility to address the full range of long-term water quality issues facing the Nation’s water resources.

Suggested Citation

Harvey, J.W., Conaway, C.H., Dornblaser, M., Gellis, A., Stewart, A.R., and Green, C.T., eds., 2024, Knowledge Gaps and Opportunities in Water-Quality Drivers of Aquatic Ecosystem Health: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2023–1085, 72 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Chapter A. Framework for a Gap Analysis of Aquatic Ecosystem Health
  • Chapter B. Coupled Nutrient-Carbon Cycle Processes and Related Ecological-Flow Drivers of Aquatic Health
  • Chapter C. Anthropogenic and Geogenic Contaminant Bioexposures Affecting Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Chapter D. Fine Sediment Drivers of Aquatic Ecosystem Health
  • Chapter E. Freshwater Salinization—An Expanding Impairment of Aquatic Ecosystem Health
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Knowledge gaps and opportunities in water-quality drivers of aquatic ecosystem health
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2023-1085
DOI 10.3133/ofr20231085
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description Report: xi, 72 p., 5 Chapters
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details