Browsing All Posts filed under »community«

Worms, midges and the greenhouse effect

July 5, 2018

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Severely impacted aquatic environments such as urban wetlands and wastewater treatment ponds are designed to treat large amounts of carbon and nitrogen, which raises concerns about their potential greenhouse gas emissions.  Because pollution-tolerant worms (oligochaetes) and insects (midges) can reach very high densities in such systems, it’s possible that their activities influence  the flux of […]

How delayed is the flow-on effect?

July 5, 2018

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It’s generally accepted that river flows have a major influence on the structure of stream communities, but what’s the lag time from river discharge to community expression?  This question is particularly relevant for headwater streams that are vulnerable to seasonal drying or the over-extraction of groundwater, where changes in flow often lead to successional changes […]

Triggers for algal blooms: peak temperatures aren’t always important

July 5, 2018

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There are concerns that human impacts  on freshwater systems – particularly temperature increases linked to climate change and nutrient enrichment caused by run-off and pollution – are encouraging the spread of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) capable of generating toxic blooms that threaten human and animal health.  One such case is the recent spread of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, […]

Helping to resolve the plankton paradox

March 26, 2018

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The richness of plant plankton communities in natural ponds and small lakes is very high – typically up to about 80 species at any one time in most systems. However, ecological theory predicts that the number of coexisting species should be no greater than the number of limiting resources, and normally in the case of […]

Restoration and invertebrates: Build it and at least some of them will come

September 25, 2017

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It’s commonly assumed that the biodiversity of a disturbed ecosystem can be improved by restoring its original physical and chemical conditions. According to this “Field of Dreams” view (“build it and they will come”), ecosystem recovery occurs through the recolonization activities of lost species.  While a lot of river restoration is founded on Field of […]

Restoration and invertebrates: Reappraising stream condition indicators

September 25, 2017

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In degraded rivers and stream systems, the replanting of riparian vegetation is a common restoration activity, partly because increases in shading, nutrient interception and litter fall are expected to provide food and habitat benefits for aquatic communities. Changed habitat conditions should be reflected in indices of stream condition, such as those based on macroinvertebrate richness. […]

How the terrestrial landscape affects aquatic dispersal

June 19, 2017

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How does the surrounding terrestrial landscape affect the dispersal of pond-dwelling organisms? Although some studies suggest that small aquatic crustaceans can disperse efficiently across a range of intervening environments, other work has pointed to dispersal limitation, especially over large distances.  Czech researchers examined the passive dispersal of microcrustaceans (cladocerans, copepods, and ostracods) by comparing communities […]