AIT Green Campus Initiative – ‘HEALTHY AIT ECO-CAMPUS’ Project Activity Report

AIT Green Campus Initiative – ‘HEALTHY AIT ECO-CAMPUS’ Project Activity Report

‘HEALTHY AIT ECO-CAMPUS’ PROJECT ACTIVITY REPORT

This is an activity document that describes the work to be performed and/or activities being undertaken in the sub-project. Provide sufficient details so that we could disseminate the progress/status.

Date of report: 19 May 2014

Project Title: Healthy AIT Eco-campus through Greener and Diverse Wetlands: Eco-City (Sustainable City) Approach
Submitted by: Dr. Oleg Shipin and Dr. Vilas Nitivittananon
Area of Activity: Wetlands-Health

A. Goal and Objectives

The Goal is to decrease health risks to the AIT community through encouragement of campus wetland ecosystem health. To reach the Goal the following specific objectives are set up with a view to:

  •  Diversifying campus wetland macrophytes (water plants) initially in the AIT front fountain pond and the adjoining SERD canal in order to improve their water quality and, ultimately, AIT community health.
  •  Increasing aesthetic standards of the most highly visited area of the campus and thereby dramatically improving a landscape image of the campus in the eyes of visitors and inhabitants, while enhancing diversity and health of wetland ecosystem.
  •  Introducing nutrient recycling and water reuse through introduction of macrophyte-based wetland aquaculture to the campus with an intension to produce valuable and diverse products for in-campus production (Asian pennywort, water lilies, morning glory, lotus, fish, etc.).

B. Progress/Completed Tasks (attach photos with captions of your activities)

(Objective 1)

The first batch (70% of total macrophytes to be introduced) of Victoria and Nymphaea macrophytes were introduced to the Front Fountain and Library Ponds and “n.y. canal” on 7 April 2014.

Since our order of the macrophytes is fairly massive, it requires at least several weeks, time for the supplier to deliver to AIT (Nana Gardens, Ayutthaya).

The second batch, 30%, of the macrophytes is expected to be delivered in the first half of May.

Adaptation of the plants takes place slowly, while monitoring of the ponds from the day 1 (7.4.14) is undertaken by the project personnel. This monitoring continues the efforts of the MSc student working on the related topic since October 2013, the topic which laid foundation for the project work of stabilizing biodiversity and other ecosystem parameters with a view to enhancing quality of water and health of the AIT community.

First data for the E.coli monitoring indicate (preliminarily, up to 1,000 MPN/100 mL, yet to be corroborated), that there is a wastewater contamination of the monitored ponds, potentially from the nearby leaking sewerage conduits (another potentiality, that pollution arrives with water pumped from the golf course canal, is being investigated). This may well encourage microphyte bloom in the ponds.

Turbidity in November 2013 was up to 40 NTU, while towards May 2014 it increased to 65 NTU (Chl. a up to 350 µg/L). This necesitates provision of greater eco-niches for zooplankton which feed on microphytes. The large surface of the leaves and stems enhance habitat and ecological niche diversity which provides better opportunities for SS predation improving water quality and health of wetland ecosystem.

Microphyte (microalgae, cyanobacteria) biodiversity and abundance is being monitored .

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Figure 1. Plan of introduction of macrophytes (water plants) into the selected AIT water bodies.

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Figure 2. New leaves and flowers of 10- and 14 days-transplanted Victoria amazonica appearing in the fountain and library ponds, respectively, demonstrated that from the very beginning the macrophytes were adapting to new conditions fairly well.

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wetlands_photo4 Figure 3a,b. Introduction of the 1st batch of red water lilies, Nymphaea rubra, in line with an objective to provide for a greater biodiversity in the n.y. canal linking the Fountain pond with the Library pond. 7 April 2014. MSc students involved: Ms Zhang Xuying and Mr Hussnain Mukhtar.

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Figure 4. Pathogen count, microphyte biodiversity and abundance (as Chlorophyll a), water turbidity, pH and DO monitoring by MSc student, Ms Zhang Xuying (to graduate June 2014), who pioneered health-biodiversity research on the AIT wetlands since October 2013 in the framework of her thesis work. Giant water lily Victoria amazonica at the background of the AIT fountain pond.

Figure 4. Pathogen count, microphyte biodiversity and abundance (as Chlorophyll a), water turbidity, pH and DO monitoring by MSc student, Ms Zhang Xuying (to graduate June 2014), who pioneered health-biodiversity research on the AIT wetlands since October 2013 in the framework of her thesis work. Giant water lily Victoria amazonica at the background of the AIT fountain pond.

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Figure 5. Current dominant species is Spirulina sp. (90% of all microphytes) indicating ecological imbalance in this high-profile campus water body. Spirulina sp. is seen in the sample (typical of the end of April 2014) as circles and spirals. These cyanobacterial microphyte cells impart greater turbidity to already turbid water (up to 40 NTU in November 2013, Chl. a 20 μg/L), when there were no microphytes). Thereby, water turbidity May 2014, in the peak bloom is as high as 65 NTU (Chl. a up to 350 μg/L).

(Objective 2)

The aesthetic standards of this most highly visited area of the AIT campus are already considerably improved. The introduced macrophytes of two species enhance the landscape image of the campus in the eyes of visitors and inhabitants alike as judged by the comments from the community.

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Figure 6. Enhanced aesthetic scenery and improved landscape quality. Early May 2014. Photo by Bungbert, EEM.

C. Future Work

i. Water and biodiversity parameters will be constantly monitored.

ii. Once the main 2 macrophyte species are introduced, the minor species (Asian pennywort and morning glory, etc) will be also introduced to enhance nutrient recycling, increase biodiversity and further stabilize ecosystem in accordance with

(Objective 3)

Introducing nutrient recycling and water reuse through introduction of macrophyte-based wetland aquaculture to the campus with an intension to produce valuable and diverse products for in-campus production (Asian pennywort, water lilies, morning glory, lotus, fish, etc.).