Browsing All Posts filed under »physiology«

Water quality: a plankton-based treatment system

June 26, 2022


Water fleas (cladocerans) are very common in freshwater plankton and they feed by filtering small particles from currents of water generated by their modified legs.  This ability led a team of Spanish researchers to investigate whether the filtration skills of water fleas can be harnessed to treat wastewater to provide an effective alternative to other […]

Inland waters are hotspots for methane emission

June 26, 2022


Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas, but it has a much higher global warming potential than the most important gas, carbon dioxide.  Controls on methane emissions offer the best way of reducing global warming in the short term, before controls on carbon dioxide can take full effect.   Currently, such action is hampered by […]

Non-lethal tissue sampling

June 26, 2022


Stable isotope analyses are widely used in ecological studies of energy flow and food webs.  Carbon stable isotope ratios (13C/12C) indicate the types of food eaten by consumer species and nitrogen ratios (15N/14N) reflect an animal’s position in the food chain.  To carry out stable isotope analysis, researchers working on fish and other vertebrates usually […]

How riparian trees  manage their water balance

March 26, 2022

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In riverine ecosystems, riparian vegetation supports aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, stabilises river banks and modulates water flow between the stream and the floodplain.  However, stream channelisation has led to the widespread disconnection and loss of floodplain forests.  Successful riparian restoration schemes are those that create the conditions for plants to become established and survive fluctuating […]

Aquatic plants regulate downstream nutrients

March 26, 2022

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Just as the processes of respiration and nutrient uptake by living cells affect the chemistry of the human body, the activities of all life-forms in a body of water influence its metabolism and carbon dynamics.  In freshwater streams, aquatic plants and algae are important agents of metabolism because they act as the stream’s internal source […]

A lesson from fish: don’t let stress ruin procreation

March 26, 2022

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Annual fishes live in temporary ponds that dry out completely in summer.  As a result they have the shortest life spans of all vertebrates: after a few months they perish and the next generation depends on the survival of their drought-proof eggs, which hatch when the pond is eventually flooded.  As the shallow ponds dry […]

How flowing water affects the schooling of fish

September 28, 2021

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In many species of fish, individuals group together in shoals or schools to benefit from shared information – for example, on food availability or the presence of predators.  There’s also evidence that fish gain hydrodynamic benefits by taking up certain positions relative to other individuals, but not much is known about how flowing water affects […]

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 […]

Key wetland species deliver most ecosystem services

September 28, 2021

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There’s a lot of evidence that in ecosystems such as grasslands and forests, biodiversity is positively related to productivity and to the efficiency of nutrient recycling and decomposition.   On this basis it can be argued that the loss of biodiversity is likely to damage the delivery of ecosystem services.  However, in the case of wetlands, […]

A fertile field for water conservation

June 7, 2021

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In flooded paddy fields, which are the most extensive man-made wetlands, evapotranspiration is an important cause of water loss, and increasing concerns about climate change have led rice farmers to use blanketing cover crops as a water conservation measure.  Cover crop candidates include species of Azolla, which are small floating ferns commonly found in paddies […]