Browsing All Posts filed under »conservation«

Springs – neglected ecosystems

March 26, 2022

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Springs can be defined as places on the Earth’s surface that are influenced by the exposure, and often the flow, of groundwater.  They support biodiverse ecosystems and have socioeconomic value as sources of water for drinking, agriculture, industry and recreation, , but they are often  highly vulnerable to human disturbance, such as groundwater depletion,  pollution, […]

Freshwater megafauna under threat

March 26, 2022

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Because large-bodied animal species tend to have a higher than average extinction risk, there are concerns that freshwater megafauna (species with body weights over 30 kg) are relatively vulnerable to human-induced disturbances such as reduced river flows, habitat fragmentation and pollution.  In the 40 years leading up to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined […]

Dams challenge platypus populations

March 26, 2022

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The construction of dams has many adverse effects on river hydrology and ecology.  Dams limit animal movements and reduce the cover of riparian vegetation, which leads to bank erosion and the filling of stream pools with sediment.  Dam-related impacts have been documented for many types of riverine animals, including macroinvertebrates, amphibians and waterbirds.  However, the […]

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 […]

In-stream wood increases fish abundance

September 28, 2021

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Although fallen woody material provides many freshwater fish species with essential habitat for feeding, refuge and spawning, a lot of submerged wood has been removed from rivers in an attempt to prevent floods and improve boat passage. However, current best management practice is to reverse this historical trend by reintroducing wood to rivers and streams.  […]

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 […]

A game changer: measuring biodiversity from water samples

June 7, 2021

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What are the processes and mechanisms that underpin biodiversity, and how is biodiversity related to ecosystem function?  There’s a need for answers to these questions with respect to all ecosystems, but it’s arguably most urgent for freshwater systems, which show the largest loss of biodiversity as a result of human pressures.  Ideally, to recognise the […]

Sound directions for the freshwater sciences

June 7, 2021

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A recent issue of the journal Freshwater Biology was devoted to the emerging field of ecoacoustics (the study of the ecological role of sounds), an exciting area with many applications in freshwater science.  So far, passive acoustic monitoring has been used mainly in terrestrial and marine environments, but recent studies reveal that inland waters support […]

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 […]