Browsing All Posts filed under »climate change«

Lake management gets harder as the climate changes

March 26, 2022

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Excessive inflows of nutrients, especially phosphorus in fertilisers, pesticides and sewage, reduce water quality in lakes and reservoirs and can encourage toxic algal blooms, often with serious implications for public health, food security and biodiversity.  Increases in nutrient inputs are partly due to increased rainfall associated with  climate change.  And the availability and residence times […]

Gene flow in complex river systems

December 14, 2021

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Understanding how variations in habitat connectivity affect gene flow and possible genetic isolation in river systems is tricky because of the unique structural features of stream ecosystems, which are notoriously difficult to model: unlike terrestrial landscapes, they are linear branching networks, which means that overland distance is often a poor indicator of the correlation between […]

Guidelines for conserving groundwater ecosystems

December 14, 2021

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Aquatic groundwater-dependent ecosystems include subsurface aquifers, springs, seepage wetlands and other groundwater-fed surface waters.  Their biodiversity is high: for example, in Europe around 13% of all freshwater animal species are found only in groundwater.  Many of these species are rare, with limited distributions, and some are “living fossils”.  Groundwater species deliver ecosystem services by recycling […]

Aquatic insects on the decline

September 28, 2021

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Although there’s growing evidence that species in many animal groups, including insects, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates and birds, are experiencing dramatic and widespread declines in abundance, identifying the factors driving these changes is a major challenge because most ecosystems are affected by several stressors at the same time.  In addition, long-term data sets on species abundance […]

Groundwater and drought resilience

June 7, 2021

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Groundwater is an essential resource for billions of people and provides a buffer against drought, which is predicted to become more prevalent in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.  In California, U.S.A., many cities and rural areas depend entirely on groundwater, and that state provides an instructive case study in […]

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.  […]

Groundwater temperatures on the increase

June 25, 2020

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About half of the world’s population relies on groundwater for drinking and/or irrigation.  Although the quality of groundwater is temperature-dependent there have been few field-based studies on the effects of temperature on groundwater chemistry.   A 16 -year study carried out in southwestern Germany, in an agricultural area with varied geology, drew on data from wells […]

Drone-based temperature mapping

March 31, 2020

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River systems contain mosaics of warm and cool water habitat which can be highly variable across space and time.  Because temperature has a strong influence on the physiology, behaviour and abundance of freshwater organisms, the mapping of stream temperature patterns can play an important role in freshwater management – for example, by revealing the distribution […]

Exposed sediments boost greenhouse emissions

March 31, 2020

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In lowland rivers in continental and Mediterranean climatic zones, temporary islands and bars emerge from the riverbed at times of low flow and are submerged during floods. The period of submersion controls primary production and the decomposition of organic matter, and thus the metabolism of the whole river.  Changing river heights affect oxygen levels in […]

Climate change: weighing up the pluses and minuses

March 31, 2020

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Because the vulnerability of a species to climate change can vary with life stage, there’s a need to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by climate warming across the whole lifetime.  This is particularly important in the case of species with complex life cycles, or where juveniles and adults of the same species inhabit different […]