Freshwater Biology

Cover image for Vol. 59 Issue 9

Edited By: Alan G. Hildrew and Colin R. Townsend

Impact Factor: 2.905

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 11/102 (Marine & Freshwater Biology)

Online ISSN: 1365-2427

Special Issues


Browse all Special Issues in Freshwater Biology:

Plankton Dynamics in a Fast Changing World
March 2013

Special Issue Section - Combining limnological and palaeolimnological data to disentangle the effects of nutrient pollution and climate change on lake ecosystems
October 2012

Achieving Ecological Outcomes: Aquatic Ecological Responses to Catchment Management
Guest Editor: Graham Harris
March 2012

Insights from long-term studies in the Windermere catchment: external stressors, internal interactions and the structure and function of lake ecosystems
February 2012

Emerging Freshwater Diseases
Guest Editors: Beth Okamura and Stephen W. Feist
April 2011

Freshwater Conservation Planning
Guest Editors: Eren Turak and Simon Linke
January 2011

Pressure-Response Relationships in Stream Ecology
July 2010

Special Issue Section
March 2010

Multiple Stressors in Freshwater Ecosystems
January 2010

Environmental Flows: Science and Management
January 2010

European High Mountain Lakes: Regionalisation and Ecological Status
Guest Editors: Jordi Catalan, Chris J. Curtis and Martin Kernan
December 2009

Structure-Function Relationships in Running Waters: From Theory to Application
October 2009

Assessing and Conserving Groundwater Biodiversity
April 2009

Viruses in Freshwater Ecosystems
June 2008

More interesting reads in Freshwater Biology - browse the topical Virtual Issues


Plankton Dynamics in a Fast Changing World
Volume 58 Issue 3 - March 2013

Achieving Ecological Outcomes: Aquatic Ecological Responses to Catchment ManagementPlankton ecology contributes significantly to ecological theory building, because plankton organisms are relatively easy to manipulate and have short generation times and a relatively small set of traits making them an ideal experimental model system for addressing both general ecological questions as well more system-specific questions. Since the environment is changing at an unprecedented rate, there is an ongoing demand for predictions from plankton ecology on the consequences of global change.

In 2010, a colloquium was held on three subjects: chaos versus predictability in plankton dynamics, global patterns versus regional differences in plankton dynamics and climate-induced changes in plankton dynamics. Papers in this Special Issue propose a new model of plankton dynamics under climate change in different climate zones; offer increased attention to the role of winters in resetting population dynamics; discuss the effects of climate change on ecological stoichiometry and efficiency of trophic transfer; describe the relative and interacting effects of changes in temperature and hydrology on plankton; and analyse the effects of climate change on host–parasite dynamics.

Important research gaps include increased monitoring of understudied climatic zones, adaptation of plankton organisms to altered environmental conditions, interactions of climate change with legacy nutrients, interactions with other anthropogenic pressures and interactions with the infochemical network.

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Special Issues Section
Volume 5 Issue 10 - Oct 2012

Special Issues Section Oct 2012Combining limnological and palaeolimnological data to disentangle the effects of nutrient pollution and climate change on lake ecosystems.

Climate change will affect the character and functioning of freshwater ecosystems, and interact with other human impacts on these ecosystems. In this Special Section, leading palaeolimnologists combine long-term observational data-sets and palaeolimnological records to assess the extent to which climate change has already affected European lakes, and whether the effects of a changing climate can be disentangled from the effects of nutrient pollution.

This Special Section is based on results from the EU-funded project “Eurolimpacs” that was concerned with the impact of climate change on European freshwater ecosystems. The seven sites considered include Mývatn in Iceland, Mjøsa in Norway, Loch Leven in Scotland,White Lough in Northern Ireland, Esthwaite Water in England, Piburger See in Austria and Lago Maggiore in Italy. All of these lakes have high quality palaeolimnological records, as well as strong observational data from long-term monitoring programs, allowing for the insightful application of these two complementary approaches.

Palaeolimnological data clearly show that most of these lakes have suffered from nutrient pollution, and both palaeolimnological and observational data show that most lakes are recovering in response to reductions in nutrient inputs. Climate change may be playing a role in offsetting recovery at some sites. Climate change has up until now been secondary to changes in nutrient income in determining the character of these lakes. However, lake ecosystems suffering from eutrophication may not necessarily return to their pre-eutrophication reference status despite measures to reduce external nutrient loading, and future warming and changes in precipitation might limit such recovery.

This Special Section will interest limnologists, lake managers and those interested in the ecological effects of climate change.

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Achieving Ecological Outcomes: Aquatic Ecological Responses to Catchment Management
Volume 57 Issue s1 - March 2012

Achieving Ecological Outcomes: Aquatic Ecological Responses to Catchment ManagementAlthough it is now well understood that activities in the catchment strongly affect the ecological condition of receiving waters, it has proven difficult to achieve good ecological outcomes from integrated catchment management programmes. In this Special Issue, which is based on the Freshwater Biological Association’s Second Freshwater Biology Summit, some of the world’s leading authorities on water quality and catchment management explain why links between catchment management are so complex and uncertain, and offer innovative solutions to improve water quality through catchment management. Their analyses are illustrated by case studies of catchments around the world.

Papers in this Special Issue span the spectrum from fundamental and theoretical science to community engagement and improvement of tools for more effective policy development. Above all they emphasize that in attempting to restore rivers and streams we face greater uncertainties than was originally anticipated; we are not yet at a stage where the water science community can confidently recommend site-specific restoration measures that will generate a predictable ecological response. This is despite the fact that governments and management agencies have drafted and enacted legislation that assumes sufficient knowledge to achieve a secure “predict-act-achieve outcome” result. It is hoped that this series of papers will stimulate further research, community engagement and policy development because with a growing global population requiring tradeoffs between food security, water availability and biodiversity conservation the need is great and time is short.

This Special Issue should be read by students, teachers and practitioners interested in freshwater ecology, water quality, catchment management and environmental management.

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Insights from long-term studies in the Windermere catchment: external stressors, internal interactions and the structure and function of lake ecosystems
Volume 57 Issue 2 - February 2012

Guest Editors: Stephen Maberly and Alex Elliott

Insights from long-term studies in the Windermere catchment: external stressors, internal interactions and the structure and function of lake ecosystemsLakes are valuable resources that provide essential ecosystem goods and services to humans, and are integral to many global biogeochemical cycles. They are also highly sensitive to environmental perturbations operating at global, regional and local scales, many resulting from human activities.

This Special Issue brings together papers that examine different ways that Windermere and other lakes in the English Lake District have responded to environmental change. Based on a meeting held to celebrate research in the English Lake District, this Special Issue takes advantage of unique long-term data sets collected by the Freshwater Biological Association and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology over the past 65 years.

The papers include work on the best-studied lakes in the catchment: Windermere, Esthwaite Water, Blelham Tarn, Grasmere and Priest Pot and cover microbes, phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish, as well as their physical and chemical environments. The long-term records that form the foundation of this Special Issue are used to elucidate mechanisms that control lake ecosystems, develop and test models and ultimately help manage lake ecosystems and their catchments better. This Special Issue is essential reading for freshwater biologists, limnologists, lake managers and students of global change.

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Emerging Freshwater Diseases
Volume 56 Issue 4 - April 2011

Special Issue: Emerging Freshwater Diseases, Freshwater BiologyIt has become increasingly clear that diseases are an important and dynamic part of ecosystems, affecting wild populations, humans and domesticated species. Although diseases are a normal part of ecosystems, new diseases that emerge as a result of human movement of disease organisms or their vectors, evolution of disease organisms, climate change or other alterations to habitats or other causes can disrupt ecosystems, endanger populations and cause economic losses.

Freshwater ecosystems may be especially prone to emerging diseases because they are so heavily disrupted and so heavily invaded by non-native species, but little attention has been paid to emerging diseases in fresh waters.

This Special Issue fills that gap by providing a modern overview of disease emergence in fresh waters. The Special Issue contains 11 papers from 33 of today’s leading freshwater disease researchers from around the world. Papers include broad reviews of key topics in freshwater disease ecology, as well as case studies of specific emerging diseases involving organisms as diverse as phytoplankton, zooplankton, fungi, myxozoans, trematodes, nematodes, bryozoans, molluscs, crayfishes, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, waterfowl and mammals (including humans). The authors pay special attention to the causes, as well as the effects, of disease emergence.

This Special Issue is essential reading for all freshwater biologists, as well as for anyone interested in disease ecology, biological invasions or the conservation and management of fresh waters.

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Freshwater Conservation Planning
Volume 56 Issue 1 - January 2011
Frsehwater Conservation Planning

This Special Issue presents eleven papers from leading experts on five continents, and deals with running waters, wetlands, and lakes and a variety of taxa, including fishes, plants and invertebrates. These papers show that a wide range of approaches in systematic conservation planning can successfully be adapted for use in freshwater systems. Focal topics in the Special Issue include optimal spatial prioritization, use of modern statistical techniques, multiple ways to include connectivity in conservation planning, applications to data-poor regions, use of coarse filter-fine filter approaches, use of biodiversity surrogates, hierarchical protection strategies, and other cutting-edge ideas.

This Special Issue will interest conservation planners, water and catchment managers, freshwater biologists and ecologists, and anyone interested in the conservation of freshwater biodiversity.

Don't miss the accompanying Virtual Issue!

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Pressure-Response Relationships in Stream Ecology
Volume 55 Issue 7 - July 2010
Pressure-Response Relationships in Stream Ecology

The articles in this Special Issue on pressure-response relationships in stream ecology cover a range of pressures including acidification, excess loading of metals, nutrients and organic matter to stream ecosystems and changes in riparian and catchment land use. Impacts on the biota (macroinvertebrates), ranging from single species to community responses, are addressed over a multitude of spatial scales using large data sets.

The majority of articles are based on monitoring data compiled as part of the EU-funded project REBECCA, but the Special Issue also includes articles from outside Europe (US and New Zealand) as well of studies using other data sources. Results from the six articles gave new insights of relevance to water managers and documented that large-scale monitoring can be an asset to freshwater science. The large data sets enable a range of analytical approaches that single out important patterns in highly variable data.: importance of humic substances in reducing the negative impact of low pH; impact of very low levels of BOD (<2 mg L−1); higher sensitivity of trait-based metrics compared with identity-based metrics and importance of catchment and riparian vegetation for the ecological quality of streams.

We advocate an increased use of monitoring and survey data in addressing questions relevant to scientist and end-users, but issues relating to especially data quality should be considered. In future, the use of these data could increase knowledge exchange between the scientific community and managers with the ultimate aim of improving our freshwater resources.

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Special Issues Section
Volume 55 Issue 3 - March 2010
Special Issues Section Mar 2010

Combining Contemporary Ecology and Palaeolimnology to Understand Shallow Lake Ecosystem Change
Although a number of papers have called for greater collaboration between palaeolimnology and aquatic ecology, few studies have actually linked contemporary experiments and surveys with palaeolimnology. The papers in this Special Section combine a detailed case study of two shallow English lakes with a review of the literature to show how shallow lakes respond to eutrophication and other drivers over seasonal to centennial time-scales.

Traditional paleaolimnological approaches focus on one or a few variables, and tend to use species assemblages as proxies for environmental variables, rather than considering what species data may tell us about past ecological patterns and processes. On the other hand, short-term studies typically are done at small spatial and temporal scales, and so are blind to slow processes, complex feedbacks, lags and gradual changes in the species pool that are so relevant to understanding stressors such as eutrophication, acidification and climate change. Consequently, either approach used alone may give incomplete or even qualitatively and quantitatively inaccurate pictures of community functioning and change.

The papers included here employ a multi-proxy palaeolimnological approach, using information on the seasonality, habitat structure and food web interactions of planktonic and periphytic algae, macrophytes, zooplankton, macrobenthos and fish. Combined with new analytical tools such as regression trees, these analyses extend beyond the usual palaeolimnological transfer function approach to develop a rich understanding of the effects of multiple, interacting drivers (eutrophication, changing trophic interactions) that act on a range of linked time-scales. The papers in this Special Section serve as a model to show how palaeolimnology and aquatic ecology can be effectively linked.

This Special Section will interest paleolimnologists, limnologists and lake managers, as well as ecologists interested in the dynamics of food webs and how they are affected by nutrient enrichment.

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Multiple Stressors in Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume 55 Issue s1 - January 2010

Guest Editors: S. J. Ormerod, M. Dobson, A. G. Hildrew and C. R. Townsend
Multiple Stressors
The fundamental importance of freshwaters, the rapid extinction rate of freshwater species and the real sensitivity of freshwater ecosystems to global change together bring an urgent need for renewed scientific focus, resources and evidence to support their management. Against this background, the Freshwater Biological Association in 2008 launched a new series of 'summit' Conferences in Aquatic Biology intended to develop and showcase the application of ecological science to major issues in freshwater ecosystems. The inaugural meeting part-sponsored by the Environment Agency and Freshwater Biology, was held in the Association's newly refurbished premises at Windermere. Papers from the first conference on ?Multiple stressors? are now available online in Freshwater Biology.

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Environmental Flows: Science and Management
Volume 55 Issue 1 - January 2010

Guest Editors: A.H. Arthington, R.J. Naiman, M.E. McClain and C. Nilsson
Environmental Flows
Environmental flows - the flow regimes left in rivers, or restored to developed rivers - are a central tool helping resource managers to protect the biodiversity, resilience and ecological goods and services provided by healthy riverine ecosystems. Yet for many thousands of streams and rivers we cannot answer the question - how much water does a river need, when and how often? This Special Issue reports new findings and provides novel insights in the science and management of environmental flows, including: synoptic reviews, methodological innovations, flow restoration experiments, modelling techniques and broader principles to support sustainable use of basin-wide freshwater resources. Based on contributions to this Special Issue, the action agenda of the 2007 Brisbane Declaration on environmental flows and the wider literature, the Editors propose an invigorated global research programme to construct and calibrate hydro-ecological models that quantify environmental flows and thereby protect the ecological goods and services provided by healthy rivers in various hydro-climatic settings across the globe.

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European High Mountain Lakes: Regionalisation and Ecological Status
Volume 54 Issue 12 - December 2009
European High Mountain Lakes
Global change issues increasingly require ecological assessments and predictions to be made at large spatial scales, even though it often is not feasible to investigate all ecosystems of interest in such large regions. In this Special Issue, an international team of 49 scientists describes the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of ca. 350 remote high-mountain lakes from 12 different regions across Europe. The aim of this broad-scale survey was to evaluate the true range of diversity and environmental variability that exists in these sensitive ecosystems.

The papers in this Special Issue investigate climate, nutrient and major ion chemistry, organic pollutants, trace metals and the contemporary and subfossil biota of the lakes and their catchments. The studies in this Special Issue show that there is a strong regional element to patterns of co-variation in environmental factors, including climate and pollution, and to the biological responses to this environmental variation. From a management perspective, it is clear that lake classification, the development of useful typologies and assessments of reference conditions should be undertaken at regional rather than pan-European scales. Climate warming already affects most of the lake districts and there are considerable uncertainties as to how this will modify conditions in remote European mountain systems. The papers in this Special Issue indicate that the lake district concept is more than a mere geographical construct and merits further theoretical and experimental development as an ecological concept. This Special Issue will interest limnologists, lake managers, biogeographers and paleoecologists.

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Structure-Function Relationships in Running Waters: From Theory to Application
Volume 54 Issue 10 - October 2009

Guest Editors: Leonard Sandin and Angelo G. Solimini
Structure-Function Relationships in Running Waters
In this issue we aimed to answer the questions: (i) under what circumstances are functional variables better than structural ones for assessing ecosystem health? and (ii) are there good indicators of change in ecological functioning along perturbation gradients?

Of the numerous functional indicators tested in this issue, several show a response to anthropogenic stress and could be included in assessments of ecosystem health and integrity in running waters.

In three of eight studies, function showed a stronger response to anthropogenic stress than structure, whereas one study showed a response in structure and not function, and four studies showed responses in both structure and function. Thus structure alone could not detect all types of impairment and functional aspects should also be included and further developed for assessing running-water ecosystem health and integrity. Functional variables may be especially useful in situations where there is a stronger response among organisms not usually included in stream assessment (e.g. fungi and bacteria) than the commonly used invertebrate, macrophytes and fish indicators.

Leading research questions related to the use of functional indicators in running waters include: (i) how large is natural and operator-induced variation for functional indicators? (ii) how small of an effect size (delta) can be detected using structural versus functional indicators? and (iii) how do we efficiently improve theories as well as predictive ability for functional measures to assess the effects of anthropogenic stressors?

To advance the use of functional indicators in applied running-water studies, we need to supplement the approach of using large-scale datasets and correlation with ecosystem manipulations.

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Assessing and Conserving Groundwater Biodiversity
Volume 54 Issue 4 - April 2009

Guest Editors: Janine Gibert and David C.Culver
Assessing and Conserving Groundwater Biodiversity
Groundwater biodiversity is vastly underestimated and underappreciated. Clearly, however, aquatic subterranean habitats are varied and harbour unique biological communities of remarkable diversity, with organisms ranging widely in taxonomic affiliation and body size, from less than 1 μm in groundwater microbes to vertebrates that reach more than 10 cm. Freshwater Biology have recently published a special issue which synthesises information on the first comprehensive, broad-scale examination of aquatic subterranean diversity in both karstic and non-karstic aquifers. Data are mainly derived from a survey carried out across multiple regions in Europe and a data base elaborated within the European PASCALIS project (Protocol for the ASsessment and Conservation of Aquatic Life In the Subsurface), but information from studies elsewhere in Europe, North America and Australia is also included.

Three reviews are devoted to the biology and ecology of groundwater bacteria and archaea, oligochaetes, and copepods - all poorly investigated but important subterranean taxa. Five papers address broad-scale diversity patterns across European regions, spatial partitioning of species richness, cryptic diversity, sampling methodology, and the use of surrogate taxonomic groups for assessing total species richness of groundwater communities. These analyses are complemented by four papers exploring biodiversity patterns in selected regions and by two papers addressing conservation issues. Three additional papers expand on the central themes of adequate sampling and dispersal, and a final synthesis summarizes the advances made in elucidating groundwater biodiversity patterns and points to important challenges that lie ahead. Collectively, the papers in this special issue should provide a solid foundation on which to build future investigations and effective strategies for protecting the astonishing diversity hidden in subterranean environments.

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Viruses in Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume 53 Issue 6 - June 2008

Guest Editors: Mathias Middelboe, Stéphan Jacquet and Markus Weinbauer
Viruses in Freshwater Ecosystems
Viruses have become widely recognized as the most abundant biological entities and important players in aquatic environments, and this realization has profoundly changed our conceptual understanding of the functioning and regulation of aquatic ecosystems in the last two decades. However, most of this research has focussed on marine viruses, especially in pelagic environments.

Here we introduce a special issue of Freshwater Biology dealing with viruses in freshwater ecosystems. It represents the first attempt to summarize progress in freshwater viral ecology made by diverse research groups and to direct attention of viral ecologists towards fresh waters.

Six review-type articles and ten original research papers cover a wide range of aspects of freshwater viral ecology. This includes reports on the distribution of freshwater viral communities in contrasting habitats (e.g. sediments, wetlands, littoral zone, open waters), on different roles of viruses in freshwater ecosystems (e.g. mortality rates of bacteria and phytoplankton, transduction, influence on bacterial diversity and organic matter), and on different types of viruses (bacteriophages, cyanophages, algal viruses, and a fish-pathogenic virus).

Collectively the series of papers presented in this special issue indicates that freshwater environments cover great habitat diversity and that the significance of some of the mechanisms controlling viral dynamics and impacts may differ between freshwater and marine habitats.

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