Browsing All Posts filed under »invertebrates«

The net effect: caddis flies and streambed flow

March 26, 2022

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The beds of streams are dynamic interfaces where water, nutrients and living organisms move between surface and sub-surface environments, and streambed permeability has a significant influence on processes such as nitrogen cycling and organic matter decomposition.  Although the physics of streambed exchange are well understood, interactions between physical and biological processes have received relatively little […]

Water flow through the beds of streams

December 14, 2021

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The permeability of saturated sediments at the bottom of streams, where surface water and groundwater can mix, has a strong influence on the exchange of mass and energy across the sediment-water interface.  Streambed permeability depends mainly on sediment properties such as pore networks and the size and sorting of particles, and can vary greatly, even […]

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 […]

How to capture the tiniest animals

December 14, 2021

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Although meiobenthic species are inconspicuous and the smallest animals living in aquatic sediments, they account for up to 80-90% of all animals in streams and lakes.  They play an important role in nutrient cycling, contribute up to half of all secondary production in freshwater food webs, and are good indicators of environmental pollution.  Meiofauna have […]

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 […]

Wetlands are prime targets for herbivores

September 28, 2021

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Although studies of herbivory in freshwater ecosystems have focussed mainly on the grazing of algae, recent findings have shown that, by reducing macrophyte abundance, invertebrate herbivores can have a significant impact on the structure and function of freshwater communities.  In fact, on average they remove around 45% of the plant biomass in freshwater ecosystems, compared […]

What do bioindicators really indicate?

June 7, 2021

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There have been many attempts to find environmental measures that can be used as reliable indicators of disturbance in freshwater ecosystems, and proposed measures are often based on features of fish and macroinvertebrate communities, such as species richness, diversity, feeding styles and life history patterns.  While such metrics should ideally be robust enough for general […]

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 […]

Aquatic ecosystem services: impacts of land use

March 13, 2021

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Streams and riparian zones are seldom given priority in protected-area planning, and little is known about the effects of protection on the many ecosystem services that streams provide.  To help fill this knowledge gap, researchers studied differences in biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by 28 streams in protected and unprotected watersheds in Quebec, Canada.  […]

Assessing plankton communities: coarse classification works well

March 13, 2021

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Information on the responses of ecological communities to environmental factors plays a significant role in the management of natural resources.  However, assessing the responses of some important groups, such as lake plankton, is often difficult because of a lack of taxonomic expertise.  A possible solution to this problem is to classify organisms by functional physiological, […]