Sessions

SEFS 12 Regular Sessions

RS1    Advances in freshwater monitoring (high frequency monitoring, new techniques & big data)

RS2    Agriculture and water quality

RS3    Catchment management from policy to practice

RS4    COVID and freshwaters

RS5    Ecosystem services/natures contributions to people (NCP)/natural capital - integration into policy and practice

RS6    Emerging contaminants in freshwater systems

RS7    Fish & Fisheries

RS8    Forestry operations and water quality

RS9    Freshwater education in a changing world

RS10  Freshwater restoration: challenges, innovation and achievements

RS11  Fundamental and applied freshwater (rivers, lakes & wetlands) ecology

RS12  Groundwaters including karst and hyporheic zones

RS13  Hydromorphology: integration with ecology

RS14  Insights from long-term datasets

RS15  Lakes as sentinel sites

RS16  Management of riparian zones for water quality and biodiversity benefits

RS17  Microbial contaminants, disease transmission and human health

RS18  Microplastics: sources and impacts

RS19  Nature-based solutions for multiple benefits

RS20  Reservoirs: ecological potential

RS21  Transboundary water challenges

RS22  Urban freshwaters

SEFS 12 Special Sessions

SS1   Role of freshwater ecosystems in the carbon cycle and the climate system

SS2   Freshwater food webs in the Anthropocene

SS3   The role of small water bodies in the landscape

SS4   Citizen science and public participation in freshwaters: engaging citizens to research and management of freshwater ecosystems

SS5    Multidisciplinary perspectives on invasive alien species in freshwater ecosystems

SS6    European Freshwater Ostracoda

SS7    The Burrishoole Ecosystem Observatory: 65 years at the cutting edge of lake and catchment studies

SS8    Mayflies and stoneflies in Europe: current diversity, status and research

SS9    Aquatic fungi: bringing a key freshwater microbial group into the spotlight

SS10  Management of climatic extreme events in lakes and reservoirs for the protection of ecosystem services

SS11  Freshwater invertebrate biodiversity - threats, assessments, knowledge needs and conservation challenges

SS12  The use of synthetic communities for a mechanistic understanding of ecological principles in freshwater ecosystems.

SS13  Remote sensing for inland waters

SS14  Securing and managing biodiversity, functional integrity and ecosystem services in drying river networks

SS15  Progress on the understanding of the water quality and habitat requirements for European unionid mussels

SS16  The science and management of multiple stressors in aquatic ecosystems

SS17  Development and evaluation of in situ fluorimetry as a tool for phytobenthic characterisation in freshwaters.

SS18  Functional indicators of freshwater ecosystem health

SS19  Aquatic metacommunity ecology in depth: ecosystems, scales and applications

SS20  Effects of freshwater restoration on cultural ecosystem services and human well-being

SS21  Chemistry, biology and ecology of protected oligotrophic lakes in Europe

SS22  Genetic approaches to assess and monitor freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem functions

SEFS 12 Special Sessions Descriptions

 

SS1. Role of freshwater ecosystems in the carbon cycle and the climate system

Convenors:

Antonio Camacho, University of Valencia, Spain

Daniel Morant, University of Valencia, Spain

Katrin Attermeyer, University of Vienna, Austria

Pascal Bodmer, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal, Québec, Canada

 

Freshwater ecosystems are very active in the exchange of carbon with the atmosphere. Currently, under a climate change framework, there is a growing need to improve the understanding of the C-related processes, the quantification of both organic and inorganic C-flows, and their stocks and budgets in different compartments. This knowledge, in addition, can be used as a basis to improve the ecosystems’ conservation and strengthen its adaptive capacity and climatic regulatory role. In this session, we intend to share research addressing the biogeochemistry of carbon in aquatic ecosystems, linked to the carbon dynamics from multiple perspectives.

 

SS2. Freshwater food webs in the Anthropocene

Convenors:

Brian Hayden, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Margaux Mathieu-Resuge, WasserCLuster Lunz, Austria

Benjamin Lejeune, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

 

The field of food web ecology has undergone a transformation as a wide range of new approaches to estimate diet and trophic interactions have been added to researchers’ toolkits. The use of biomarkers (e.g., stable isotope and fatty acids), and new molecular based methods (e.g., compound-specific stable isotopes, DNA metabarcoding) provide the opportunity to assess dietary connections inside and between ecosystems, which result in incredible new insights in ecology. This session will highlight these novel approaches and future challenges to estimating trophic ecology and detail the new understanding they have brought to a diverse set of freshwater ecosystems.

 

SS3. The role of small water bodies in the landscape

Convenors:

Iwan Jones, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Mary Kelly-Quinn, University College Dublin, Ireland      

Bill Riley, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), United Kingdom

Lena Fehlinger, Danube University Krems, Austria

Biljana Rimcheska, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria

Darmina Nita, University of Bucharest, Romania                               

 

Small, 1st and 2nd -order, headwater streams and ponds provide natural flood control, trap sediments and contaminants, retain nutrients, and maintain biological diversity. Many of these benefits have the potential to be wide-ranging, extending into the wider catchment. Management of such small waterbodies could deliver improvements in the quality of surface waters rapidly and cost-effectively. This session will include works detailing the benefits small waterbodies provide, and how improved management and restoration of small waterbodies can enhance delivery of these ecosystem services at the landscape scale.

 

SS4. Citizen science and public participation in freshwaters: engaging citizens to research and management of freshwater ecosystems

Convenors:

Núria Bonada, University of Barcelona, Spain

Romina Álvarez-Troncoso, University of Vigo, Spain

Mary Kelly-Quinn, University College Dublin, Ireland

Citizen science and public engagement with freshwaters have become increasingly popular worldwide. Citizen science initiatives include projects designed to bring science to the people and as well as to collect data to contribute to science and water quality monitoring such as RiuNet, Enquetedeau, Stream Tracker, Barrier Tracker, CrowdWater, Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative or to general platforms that gather biodiversity records. In a broader sense, public participation is nowadays a common approach used in decision making, such in the development of the River Basin Management Plans in Europe. Linking scientists, managers and citizens, and evaluating the effectiveness of these relationships, is crucial for implementing conservation and management practices, for collecting data in freshwaters usually not cover by established monitoring programmes and, importantly, for raising public awareness of environmental problems affecting freshwaters.

 

 

SS5. Multidisciplinary perspectives on invasive alien species in freshwater ecosystems

Convenors:

Angela Boggero, NR-Water Research Institute, Verbania, Italy

Vadim Panov, Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre, Helsinki, Finland 

 

Environmental global modifications, pollution and introduction of Alien Species (AS) are threatening biodiversity. To halt the introduction and spread of AS researchers launched a huge number of interdisciplinary projects while politicians enacted a great number of laws at local and global level to regulate human behaviour and to fill the gaps of human unawareness and knowledge. Recently, Citizens Science became crucial to maximize the number of people involved in the geo-localization of AS to covering entire territories with previously missing information. This is a proposal for large-scale contributions to better understand, predict and address the environmental problems AS pose.

 

SS6. European Freshwater Ostracoda

Convenors:

David Horne, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Koen Martens, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium

Isabelle Schön, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium

Ostracods are ecologically diverse in freshwater (and saline) lakes, rivers, temporary ponds, groundwater and (semi-)terrestrial habitats.  Despite their efficient dispersal mechanisms facilitated by resting eggs and parthenogenesis, cosmopolitan species distributions are relatively rare and endemicity is common. Ostracods are a model group in ecological and evolutionary studies.  Lake sediment archives of their calcareous valves provide a geo-chronological context for studies of their evolution and facilitate palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstructions. We welcome presentations on any aspect of freshwater ostracod research, including "benchmark" reviews in the fields of biology, (palaeo-)ecology, biogeography, molecular biology, and genetic/genomic and taxonomic diversity.

 

SS7. The Burrishoole Ecosystem Observatory: 65 years at the cutting edge of lake and catchment studies

Convenors:

Eleanor Jennings, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland

Elvira de Eyto  Marine Institute, Ireland        
Phil McGinnity, University College Cork, Ireland

 

The Burrishoole catchment in the west of Ireland was first launched as a research site in the
1950s, when it was purchased by Guinness family to provide new information on salmonid
species. Currently managed by the Marine Institute, research in the catchment and its lakes
has been continuous since that time, and it is now also one of the most important lake global
ecological observatories. This session will be an opportunity to showcase recent research
from the Burrishoole Catchment Cluster projects, including environmental and genomic
studies, while also providing an opportunity for retrospective presentations using the long-term data archive.

 

SS8.  Mayflies and stoneflies in Europe: current diversity, status and research

Convenors:

Craig Macadam, Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, United Kingdom

Hugh Feeley, Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland

 

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and stoneflies (Plecoptera) are key components of healthy, unpolluted freshwaters across Europe. Nevertheless, these ubiquitous insects are often overlooked despite their diversity and importance in ecosystem functioning and ecosystem service delivery. It is essential that research on mayflies and stoneflies continues, and new tools like the recent advances in molecular methods are utilised, to ensure the expansion of our knowledge in areas such as ecology, behaviour, distribution and biogeography, ongoing and emerging threats, and future adaptation. It is also important key knowledge gaps and research areas are identified and that continued interest in these fascinating insects is maintained and encouraged.

 

SS9. Aquatic fungi: bringing a key freshwater microbial group into the spotlight

 Convenors:

Isabel Fernandes, Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology (CBMA), University of Minho, Portugal

Andreas Bruder, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland, Switzerland

Hans-Peter Grossart, Leibniz Institute  of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany

Matthew Fisher, Imperial College School of Public Health, United Kingdom

Fungi display diverse lifestyles in freshwaters including decomposers, parasites, predators, endophytes, symbionts, and pathogens. Despite these important roles, fungi are greatly understudied compared to other freshwater microbes. Consequently, freshwater fungal biodiversity is still underestimated as well as our understanding of their contributions to ecosystem functions and services, and their importance as emerging pathogens. In this special session, we aim at bringing together scientists and topics in freshwater fungal biodiversity, ecology, and biogeography, thereby highlighting novel conceptual and methodological developments. We will identify knowledge gaps and develop initiatives to coordinate among mycologists and ecologists in order to advance the research field.

 

SS10. Management of climatic extreme events in lakes and reservoirs for the protection of ecosystem services

Convenors:

Harriet L. Wilson, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland

Ana I. Ayala, Uppsala University, Sweden

 

Extreme climatic and biological events can have meaningful and persistent effects on the functioning of freshwater ecosystems. With directional climate change, these events are predicted to become more frequent, longer in duration, and more intense. This virtual session is aimed at the community investigating these extreme climatic events in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.  This includes those involved in field-based, experimental and modelling studies, as well as more traditional monitoring programmes. The topic will also interest water managers and policy makers dealing with the impacts of these events in aquatic systems.

 

SS11.     Freshwater invertebrate biodiversity - threats, assessments, knowledge needs and conservation challenges

Convenors:

Hugh Feeley, Environmental Protection Agency, Dublin, Ireland

Brian Nelson and Áine O Connor, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dublin, Ireland

David Bilton, University of Plymouth, UK

Mary Kelly-Quinn, University College Dublin, Ireland

 

Freshwater ecosystems are remarkably diverse, ranging from springs and fens, to rivers, lakes, floodplains and temporary waters. Research has highlighted the alarming biodiversity losses in these aquatic and wetland habitats, at local, regional and global scales. Losses have been attributed to both well-known pressures (e.g. eutrophication, acidification) and emerging threats (e.g. climate, pesticides). However, the state of knowledge of freshwater biodiversity, especially the distribution and ecology of many species of insect and other invertebrates, is most often incomplete. Further, methods for monitoring and assessing, as well as practical measures for protecting these species and assemblages are often underdeveloped. This session aims to consider these issues, and how to incorporate practical targets and actions for invertebrate species and assemblages of conservation concern into on-going policies and practices.

 

SS12.     The use of synthetic communities for a mechanistic understanding of ecological principles in freshwater ecosystems.

Convenors:

Olga Lamprecht, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Switzerland

Ahmed Tlili, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Switzerland

 

Understanding the mechanisms that govern the dynamics and functional properties of natural communities in freshwaters is challenging, mainly because of their high complexity. The field of synthetic ecology is increasingly foreseen as an alternative approach to overcome such challenges. It relies on the establishment of synthetic and stable communities that are artificially created by co-culturing selected species under controlled conditions. These reduced-complexity microbial consortia can then be used as a model system to answer complex ecological questions by providing insights into key functions of the ecosystem. Indeed, as an experimental setup, these synthetic communities enable testing of different hypotheses by targeted manipulation.

 

SS13. Remote sensing of inland waters

Convenors:

Richard Lestyn Woolway. European Space Agency

Valerie McCarthy, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland

Stefan Simis, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom

Claudia Giardino, Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment, National Research Council, Italy

The Earth's surface waters provide essential ecosystem services but are impacted by multiple pressures and drivers of environmental change. In this session, we welcome presentations that demonstrate new scientific understanding across inland waters, enabled by developments in satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) and associated technologies and analysis techniques. The objective of this session is to provide opportunities to demonstrate the limnological understanding enabled by remote sensing technologies, to motivate the uptake of these technologies by the wider community, and to enhance the synergies achievable from combining remote sensing technologies with complementary approaches to monitoring, forecasting, and understanding global freshwaters under climate change.

 

SS14. Securing and managing biodiversity, functional integrity and ecosystem services in drying river networks

Convenors:

Thibault Datry, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE), France

Zoltan Csabai, University of Pecs, Hungary

Rachel Stubbington, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom

 

Drying events are dramatically increasing in time and space across river networks. Effects of flow intermittence on the biodiversity-function-services cascade have gained attention at local scales. However, this phenomenon has been poorly considered at larger spatial scales, where intermittent flow translates into river network fragmentation. Consequently, ecosystem management strategies may be ineffective in these pivotal ecosystems. This interdisciplinary session will investigate how flow intermittence alters aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services in river networks. The balanced contribution of early-career and established scientists will foster collaborations that support future research and effective management in drying river networks.

 

SS15. Progress on the understanding of the water quality and habitat requirements for European unionid mussels

Convenors:

Richard O’Callaghan, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dept. of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH), Ireland

Evelyn Moorkens, Trinity College, Dublin

Ian Killeen, National Museum of Wales, United Kingdom

 

There are 16 species of native Unionid bivalves in Europe, none of which can be considered to be secure throughout their ranges under IUCN threat assessments. A CEN standard has been published for M. margaritifera and approval has been given to begin the process of developing a similar publication for European Unionid mussels. Freshwater scientists across Europe are invited to contribute their knowledge on any of these species in order to progress our understanding of their requirements, the factors leading to their decline and any conservation measures that can improve their status.

 

SS16. The science and management of multiple stressors in aquatic ecosystems

Convenors:

Jeremy J. Piggott, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Michelle Jackson, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Ralf B. Schaefer, University Koblenz-Landau, Germany

 

Aquatic ecosystems are characterised by the co-occurrence of stressors, i.e. multiple stressors simultaneously affecting organisms. Hence, ecosystem managers are confronted with questions of stressor prioritisation and require robust scientific knowledge on stressor interactions to avoid ecological surprises from management measures. Multiple stressors are examined in an emerging field of research, typically termed “multiple stressor research”, which aims to predict their consequences for different levels of biological organization. The session welcomes all contributions with a particular focus on presentations that test ecological theories, link levels of biological organization and incorporate spatiotemporal complexity.

 

SS17. Development and evaluation of in situ fluorimetry as a tool for phytobenthic characterization in freshwaters

Convenors:

Martyn Kelly, Bowburn Consultancy, United Kingdom

Ben Surridge Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Maria Snell     AFBI, Northern Ireland

 

Phytobenthic communities are robust indicators of anthropogenic impacts in freshwaters, applied across a variety of research, monitoring and bioremediation contexts. Traditional assessments of phytobenthic community biomass and taxonomic composition are labour-intensive and expensive, generating low resolution datasets. However, new instruments for assessment of phytobenthic communities have recently emerged, based on the principle of in-situ fluorimetry. In-situ fluorimetry potentially enables rapid, high resolution quantification of phytobenthic chlorophyll-a concentration and assignment of chlorophyll-a to individual taxonomic groups. We seek contributions covering the development, application and evaluation of in-situ fluorimetry for phytobenthic communities in freshwaters, exploring the opportunities and challenges surrounding this technique.

 

SS18. Functional indicators of freshwater ecosystem health

Convenors:

Verónica Ferreira, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Daniel von Schiller, University of Barcelona, Spain

Freshwater ecosystems provide a multitude of services to human populations and, therefore, their ecological integrity should be a societal goal. The ecological health of any ecosystem comprehends both structural and functional integrity, but stream monitoring is generally based on structural elements, while ecosystem functioning is not considered. For this session, we invite contributions focusing on the use of functional indicators to assess freshwater ecosystem health. By sharing results and experiences, we will identify situations where functional indicators are most useful in identifying environmental impacts and the challenges that need to be overcome to allow their integration into official monitoring programs.

 

SS19. Aquatic metacommunity ecology in depth: ecosystems, scales and applications

Convenors:

David Cunillera-Montcusí, WasserCluster Lunz, Lunz am See, Austria

Miguel Cañedo-Arguelles, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain          

 

Metacommunity ecology is one of the main theories that are currently driving ecological research. However, it faces important methodological and conceptual challenges. First, the interaction among different ecosystems or habitats (e.g., rivers, lakes, ponds) or their differences in network structure, which drives dispersal dynamics. Second, the variation of metacommunity dynamic along temporal and spatial scales. Third, the need for new methodological frameworks to account for complex processes (e.g. species interactions, spatial autocorrelation of environmental variables) and to apply this framework in the conservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. These challenges still need to be assessed in the current scientific scenario.

 

SS20.    Effects of freshwater restoration on cultural ecosystem services and human well-being

Convenors:

Nina N. Kaiser, University Duisburg-Essen & University of Applied Science Trier, Germany

Stefan Stoll, University Duisburg-Essen & University of Applied Science Trier, Germany

 

Freshwater ecosystems contribute to human well-being in many ways, but worldwide, many rivers are degraded thus compromising service supply.  Restoration aims to improve freshwater conditions for the benefit of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). Cultural ES are cognitively easily accessible for the public and have a great potential in promoting environmental stewardship. In our session, we want to explore the range of effects of freshwater restoration on cultural ES and ways to assess them. As the field of ecosystem services is interdisciplinary, we invite contributions from all disciplines; however, the link to the session topic must be clear and precise.

 

SS21. Chemistry, biology and ecology of protected oligotrophic lakes in Europe

Convenors:

Heather Lally, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland

Amy Pickard, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), United Kingdom

Emma Gray,  Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland

 

Under the EU Habitats Directive, three oligotrophic lake habitats are protected: 3110 oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals of sandy plains, 3130 oligotrophic-mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoeto-Nanojuncetea, and 3160 natural dystrophic lakes and ponds. These protected lake habitats are located within peatland catchments designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). To determine their contribution towards vital peatland catchment ecosystem services and natural capital benefits, it is vital to evaluate and understand their complex chemistry, biology and ecology, ensuring mitigation and restoration measures are effectively targeted securing their longer term “good” conservation status.

 

SS22.   Genetic approaches to assess and monitor freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem functions

Convenors:

Florian Leese, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Agnès Bouchez, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE), France

Rosetta Blackman, Swiss Federal Institute for Aqatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), Switzerland 

Michal Grabowski, University of Lodz, Poland 

Marlen Vasquez Cyprus University of Technology

DNAqua-Net consortium, COST Action CA15219

 

Genetic methods, in particular environmental DNA (eDNA) based biodiversity assessments, are revolutionizing freshwater ecology. The exponential increase of studies dealing with population, community or functional assessments using eDNA and eRNA shows the popularity of the approach. The new genetic tools provide researchers to address ecological, biogeographic, conservation biological as well as evolutionary questions in much greater resolution in space, time as well as taxonomic coverage. Similarly, eDNA approaches emerge as pivotal tools for environmental management and biomonitoring through the rapid and reliable assessment of either individual rare or invasive species, or of whole organismal communities from bacteria to multicellular organisms. With this session we provide a platform for researchers and managers to present recent findings on freshwater ecosystems using genetic tools. Talks that highlight both the potential as well as limitations are welcome.

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SEFS is the official meeting of the European Federation for Freshwater Sciences (EFFS)