About FRN

September 26, 2020

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Freshwater Research News (FRN) is a free newsletter designed to increase understanding of aquatic issues by bringing recently-published research findings to a general audience. FRN draws on articles from over 60 scientific journals to produce brief, easy-to read summaries of the background and significance of freshwater research projects from around the world. The subject range is […]

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Social fish reveal their personality after dark

September 26, 2020

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Social animals such as schooling fish and flocking birds typically form groups with a high degree of active synchrony.  Although this gives the impression that all group members are behaviourally homogenous, it may be that they compromise their individuality in order to gain group-related advantages such as improved predator avoidance and foraging success.  This possibility […]

Posted in: behaviour, fish

Functional feeding groups: beware of misleading assumptions

September 26, 2020

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Food webs are central to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, and are commonly reconstructed by assigning each taxon (usually a species, genus or family) to a particular functional feeding group by reference to published information.  In the case of freshwater macroinvertebrates, the main feeding groups are: shredders, which chew on coarse organic particles; collector–filterers, which […]

A clever way to rebalance a lake

September 26, 2020

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Lakes are often subject to high-nutrient  inflows from agricultural runoff, industry and wastewater treatment, and these inputs lead to algal blooms, reduced biodiversity and a shift from clear to turbid water.  Such lakes can be remediated by reducing nutrient loads or by biomanipulation, where fish are selectively removed to lower predation pressure on zooplankton, which […]

Value for money: the willingness to pay for river restoration

September 26, 2020

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River restoration aims at improving ecological condition, increasing biodiversity and restoring ecosystem services, and is now a legal obligation in many parts of Europe.  Switzerland is a world leader in the field and the Swiss government has set an ambitious target of restoring 4000 km of rivers by 2090.  The government has pledged to cover […]

Precursors of streamflow: 121 million raindrops tell their story

September 26, 2020

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Although stream flows and groundwater recharge are both affected by the ways that vegetation intercepts and stores rainwater, the details of rainwater interception haven’t been well studied.  The size of raindrops has a complex effect on the amount of water that passes through the canopy and eventually joins environmental flows:  for example, the greater kinetic […]

Why it’s important to protect water at its source

September 26, 2020

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In the present age, when human activity has an increasingly dominant influence on the environment, water security has become a pressing issue, and growing  efforts and funds are spent on maintaining water quality and reliable flows.  While most approaches to water security focus on the provision of conventional infrastructure such as dams and treatment systems, […]

Freshwater food webs: don’t forget parasites

September 26, 2020

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Although parasites are the dominant components in aquatic ecosystems, they are rarely considered in food web studies.  This can be a mistake, because parasites with free-living stages are taken as prey by predators, and when parasites swap hosts they carry nutrients from one host to the next.  It’s been found that adding parasites to reconstructed […]

What drives plankton migration?

September 26, 2020

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In lakes and oceanic waters, planktonic animals migrate upwards at night to feed on phytoplankton near the surface, and migrate downwards by day to deeper darker layers to avoid visually-feeding fish predators.  These migrations have significant consequences for nutrient transport and aquatic food webs.  Food availability, light intensity and chemicals released by predatory fish are […]

Global patterns of water plant diversity

September 26, 2020

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Conventional wisdom has it that non-marine aquatic plants tend to have broader distributions than land plants, and ecologists have proposed that this could be explained by genetic selection for stress-tolerance, clonal growth and long-distance dispersal.  However, the “broad distribution” belief was based on an analysis of relatively few species, and a new study of the […]