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Keywords:

  • aquatic ecosystem;
  • restoration;
  • management;
  • theory

Abstract

Stream ecology has played an important role in advancing general ecological theory. As an integrating element in complex landscapes, our understanding of ecological indicators, the movement of energy and materials across ecosystems and the pervasive importance of disturbance and dynamics has been critically informed by our study of streams. Faced with increases in the demands for water and changes in the patterns of rainfall and evaporation due to climate change, the need to apply ecological theory to management practice has become all the more immediate. This will involve not only restoration, but reconstruction and engineering of whole ecosystems. We review the key areas of theory that have been informed by stream ecology, and lay down a challenge to the next generation of stream ecologists, to drive ahead theory while applying it to real challenges. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.