About FRN

March 16, 2021

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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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Pressures on groundwater

March 16, 2021

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Groundwater irrigation plays a central role in sustaining world agriculture.  In northwest Bangladesh, which is that country’s main cropping area,  groundwater supports 96% of agricultural production in the dry season.  In recent decades there has been a large increase in cropping, and thus the demand for groundwater.  However, water balance modelling shows that several other […]

Underwater cameras spot rare fish

March 13, 2021

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When species are rare they can remain undetected at a given site even when they’re actually there.  However,  occupancy modelling can be used to adjust for imperfect detection and assess whether a species is likely to be present.  Occupancy models allow for the effects of habitat variation on detection probability and they’ve been widely used […]

Aquatic ecosystem services: impacts of land use

March 13, 2021

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Streams and riparian zones are seldom given priority in protected-area planning, and little is known about the effects of protection on the many ecosystem services that streams provide.  To help fill this knowledge gap, researchers studied differences in biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by 28 streams in protected and unprotected watersheds in Quebec, Canada.  […]

Aquatic ecosystem services: rethinking streamside planting

March 13, 2021

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Spatial patterns in the loss of natural land cover to agriculture have a significant effect on ecosystem services, including those provided by landscape features that interrupt runoff flows to rivers.  For example, the number, size and location of woodland patches all have an impact on ecosystem services such as sediment trapping, pollutant retention and the […]

Restoring overheated rivers

March 13, 2021

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One of the features of the so-called “urban stream syndrome” is thermal pollution caused by warm  environments in built-up areas, which can increase stream temperatures above the tolerance threshold for aquatic organisms.  The good news is that urban stream temperatures can be reduced by re-naturalisation measures designed to improve flood control, water quality and habitats.  […]

Assessing plankton communities: coarse classification works well

March 13, 2021

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Information on the responses of ecological communities to environmental factors plays a significant role in the management of natural resources.  However, assessing the responses of some important groups, such as lake plankton, is often difficult because of a lack of taxonomic expertise.  A possible solution to this problem is to classify organisms by functional physiological, […]

What determines leaf length in aquatic plants?

March 13, 2021

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Several genera of aquatic plants have very long strap-like leaves.  Leaf lifespan and growth are known to be influenced by plant life history and reproductive strategies, but there have been few attempts to understand the factors that regulate leaf size in aquatic plants.  Terrestrial plants have been better studied in this respect, but environmental factors […]

Water abstraction changes local food chains

March 13, 2021

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The alteration of river flows by damming or extracting water is a major threat to freshwater ecosystems that can lead to habitat changes and local species extinctions.  While the impacts of dams and large-scale diversions have been the subject of many studies, the cumulative effects of small water abstractions aren’t so well understood, even though […]

Biodiversity offsets: compliance doesn’t guarantee ecosystem function

March 13, 2021

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When human activities impair habitats and reduce biodiversity, environmental offsets, such as the creation of new wetlands and the planting of native vegetation, can help to preserve ecosystem function and services.  However, the success of offsetting projects depends on the extent to which the required measures are complied with, and compliance is often poor.  This […]