Browsing All Posts filed under »population«

Why are there so many crocodiles in tropical waterholes?

March 26, 2018


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 […]

Freshwater fish surveys: direct observation works well

March 26, 2018


Although surveys of freshwater fish populations often rely on electrofishing, it’s difficult to use this technique in some habitats. An alternative sampling method is direct observation by snorkelling, an approach often applied in marine environments.  While comparisons of the sampling efficiency of electrofishing and snorkelling have been carried out, most of them have been based […]

Predatory fish control prey populations – but not when the prey are other fish

September 25, 2017

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Many lake studies have shown that predatory fish feeding on plankton or bottom-living invertebrates have a strong influence on the density, species composition and size structure of prey populations. Typically, there’s an inverse relationship between predator and prey populations, both in terms of  density and in mean body size.  However, there have been few reports […]

How the terrestrial landscape affects aquatic dispersal

June 19, 2017

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How does the surrounding terrestrial landscape affect the dispersal of pond-dwelling organisms? Although some studies suggest that small aquatic crustaceans can disperse efficiently across a range of intervening environments, other work has pointed to dispersal limitation, especially over large distances.  Czech researchers examined the passive dispersal of microcrustaceans (cladocerans, copepods, and ostracods) by comparing communities […]

Factoring history into threat assessments

December 13, 2016

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Genetic variation allows populations to adapt to environmental changes, and it’s often the case that threatened species exhibit low genetic diversity. Human-produced habitat fragmentation is a well-recognised cause of genetic bottlenecks, but the additional effects of larger-scale biogeographic factors are rarely considered. As an example of such biogeographic impacts, populations that have managed to survive […]

Deciding on sites for conservation

December 13, 2016

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Biodiversity conservation is hampered by the fact that many species haven’t been described and most species ranges haven’t been mapped. As a result, in selecting sites for protection, natural resource managers often resort to the use of surrogate indicators for the species that they wish to conserve. Surrogates may be other, more common, species, or […]

Top predator boosts species richness – but not in alien ecosystems

December 13, 2016

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The spiny water flea Bythotrephes longimanus is a large cladoceran, a specialised carnivore and a top predator. Invasions of North American lakes by Bythotrephes have been linked to dramatic changes in food web structure and reductions in species diversity, which seems to contradict the expectation that top predators increase the evenness and diversity of aquatic […]