Browsing All Posts filed under »energy«

Why are there so many crocodiles in tropical waterholes?

March 26, 2018

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Transfers of organic material from one aquatic environment to another (for example, through flood pulses or animal migrations) allow productive donor ecosystems to subsidise less productive habitats. However, there are big variations in the extent to which different animal species depend on production subsidies.  To explore such differences, Australian researchers collected a wide array of […]

Benefits and costs of habitat complexity

December 21, 2017

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The fact that biodiversity tends to be higher in structurally complex habitats suggests that, on balance, the fitness-related advantages of habitat complexity outweigh the disadvantages.  Possible advantages include a greater supply of locations where animals can hide from predators and conserve their energy, and higher abundances of potential prey.  Also, in complex habitats less energy […]

Why are cold water fish bigger?

December 21, 2017

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In a wide range of animal groups, maximum body sizes tend to be higher in temperate and polar species than in those living closer to the equator, and there’s been a lively debate about the underlying reasons for this trend.  French and Bolivian scientists  investigated possible explanations by using a family of freshwater fish (the […]

How cell size affects algal chemicals

September 25, 2017

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The chemical composition of microalgae – organisms such as green algae, diatoms and dinoflagellates – influences their food web interactions and the way they compete for nutrients, as well as their suitability for human exploitation in the form of biofuels, nutraceuticals and aquaculture feeds.   Because microalgae cover a wide range of cell sizes (less than […]

Herbivory is important in freshwater systems

March 27, 2017

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Until the 1990s it was believed that, in the main, freshwater and marine plants were connected to aquatic food webs only indirectly, through the breakdown of decaying vegetation by decomposers. However, over the last two decades there’s been a growing realisation that the activities of aquatic herbivores in consuming plants and channeling the derived nutrients […]

How river transport affects dissolved organic matter

December 13, 2016

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In most rivers, the downstream transport of dissolved organic matter (DOM) makes large amounts of energy available to aquatic ecosystems. The River Continuum Concept (RCC) of Vannote et al. (1980) provided a useful framework for studying the influence of organic material from headwater streams on the structure and function of downstream ecosystems. The RCC hypothesized […]

How environmentally-damaging are run-of-river hydropower systems?

June 1, 2016

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Hydropower generation typically involves the creation of large dams for the storage and release of water, which can have serious adverse effects on riverine environments. However, growing pressures on governments to meet renewable energy targets have stimulated interest in small-scale hydropower systems, especially run-of-river schemes, which use the flow within a river channel and operate […]