Browsing All Posts filed under »disturbance«

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. […]

Lateral thinking on riverbank erosion

September 25, 2017

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Although bank erosion is often thought of as problem that has to be addressed through engineered stabilization, the lateral migration of meandering streams is a natural mechanism that redistributes channel sediment and maintains habitat diversity. New riparian zones are formed as sediment is deposited on the inside of bends and colonised by vegetation.  Meandering creates […]

Coarse, shallow and wooden… but useful nonetheless

June 19, 2017

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Coarse woody debris (CWD) derived from shoreline trees provides an important, spatially complex habitat and a food source for lake-dwelling organisms. Here are some interesting facts about lake CWD, taken from a recent review paper: In the absence of the physical action of flowing water, CWD breaks down more slowly in lakes than in streams. […]

A disturbing mix

June 19, 2017

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The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) has been introduced to many locations around the world and is highly invasive.  Its habit of foraging by digging in the bottom substrate significantly alters freshwater systems by uprooting plants, resuspending sediment, and increasing turbidity and the release of nutrients.  However, the extent to which aquatic nutrient flows are affected […]

Planting vegetation to stop stream bank erosion: where’s the evidence?

June 19, 2017

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Increased rates of stream bank erosion and sediment movement in disturbed catchments have been attributed to changes in catchment hydrology caused by land clearing, channel modification, the trampling activities of livestock and the removal of riparian vegetation. Given that these effects are human-induced, it’s commonly assumed that they can also be reversed by human intervention, […]

Human impacts on ecological connectivity

June 19, 2017

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Ecological connectivity – the exchange of organisms between habitat patches or subpopulations – has an influence on many key processes, including population dynamics, nutrient flux, disease transmission, species invasions, food-web interactions, genetic isolation and the maintenance of biodiversity. A recent study reviewed ways in which graph theory has been used to investigate how human activities […]