Browsing All Posts filed under »plants«

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 […]

To be continued: the legacy of the River Continuum Concept

December 14, 2021

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A recent review examined the historical importance of the River Continuum Concept (RCC), which was introduced by Robin Vannote and co-workers in 1980.  This concept revolutionised stream ecology research by prompting a shift from a descriptive to a predictive approach and encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration between biologists, geomorphologists and geochemists.  The RCC became a key framework […]

Lake management: are tipping points real?

December 14, 2021

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Freshwater biologists often seek to restore turbid shallow lakes dominated by phytoplankton to clear-water systems with a high abundance of submerged plants.  The usual plan of operation, which is often guided by lake ecosystem modelling, is to reduce external inputs of nutrients (e.g., from agricultural runoff or urban waste streams) to a threshold level at […]

How big should samples of aquatic vegetation be?

December 14, 2021

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When sampling aquatic vegetation what plot size should you use?  Ideally, the aim should be to choose the smallest area in which the species in the plant community in question are adequately represented – in graphical terms, this is when the curve of the number of species plotted against sample area flattens out. For terrestrial […]

Land use patterns can aggravate toxic plankton blooms

September 28, 2021

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An understanding of how environmental factors affect the composition of biological communities is a crucial prerequisite for managing challenges due to climate change, land use practices and invasive species.  However, establishing the significance of interacting local and regional factors that vary widely across space and time is a challenge in itself.   Canadian biologists set out […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Assessing river condition from the air

June 7, 2021

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Although attempts are commonly made to restore streams impacted by disturbance, follow-up monitoring to assess a project’s success is often minimal due to budget limitations.   However, new approaches involving the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) offer the possibilities for remote stream assessment, with potentially great gains in terms of cost-effectiveness and reduced field […]