The fast spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy resulted in a 3-months lockdown of the entire country. During this period, the effect of the relieved anthropogenic activities on the environment was plainly clear all over the country. Herein, we provide the first evidence of the lockdown effects on riverine dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics. The strong reduction in anthropogenic activities resulted in a marked decrease in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration in the Arno River (-44%) and the coastal area affected by its input (-15%), compared to previous conditions. The DOM optical properties (absorption and fluorescence) showed a change in its quality, with a shift toward smaller and less aromatic molecules during the lockdown. The reduced human activity and the consequent change in DOM dynamics affected the abundance and annual dynamics of heterotrophic prokaryotes. The results of this study highlight the extent to which DOM dynamics in small rivers is affected by secondary and tertiary human activities as well as the quite short time scales to return to the impacted conditions. Our work also supports the importance of long-term research to disentangle the effects of casual events from the natural variability.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.
- Communicable Disease Control
- Dissolved Organic Matter