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How the food web affects river restoration

October 8, 2018

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River restoration commonly  concentrates on improving habitat quality for threatened fish populations.  However, because stream fish are strongly influenced by food availability, competition and predation, a case can be made for also incorporating food web modelling into the restoration process.  A group of environmental scientists developed an ecosystem model and applied it to a river-floodplain […]

Lakes are good for river species

October 8, 2018

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While it’s known that terrestrial landscape features, such as soil type, topography and land use, influence the abundance and distribution of stream fish, only a few studies have considered the possible effects of lakes on stream fish populations.  Biologists carried out a three-year study on native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in 36 streams in the […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Riparian roots help streams breathe

December 21, 2017

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In aquatic systems, especially those with abundant plants, dissolved oxygen concentrations often show strong daily fluctuations because there’s a net input of oxygen from photosynthesis during the day but a net loss of oxygen due to   respiration at night.  When researchers working on a small tropical stream in São Paulo State, Brazil recorded this pattern […]