Refugia play a key ecological role for the persistence of biodiversity in areas subject to natural or human disturbance. Temporary freshwater ecosystems regularly experience dry periods, which constrain the availability of suitable habitats. Current and future threats (e.g. water extraction and climate change) can exacerbate the negative effects of drying conditions. This could compromise the persistence of a large proportion of global freshwater biodiversity, so the identification and protection of refugia seems an urgent task.