A Celebration of World Rivers Day

Post provided by Alfred Burian, Antonia Ford and Quentin Mauvisseau

Celebrating our river ecosystems world-wide on the 22nd of September.

Celebrating our river ecosystems world-wide on the 22nd of September. ©Bob Wick, BLM.

It’s the 22nd of September and that means it’s this year’s UN World Rivers Day! In over 60 countries around the globe events are going on today to bring attention to the many values of our waterways. And we, the Aquatic Ecology Special Interest Group of the BES, are joining in with the celebrations! We’re highlighting recent methodological advancements that will help us to manage and conserve our rivers in the future. So let’s get started…

Multiple Stressors and Molecular Tools

Today, human activities across the world are impacting rivers to varying degrees. As scientists, we frequently see the interaction of multiple different stressors such as flow regulations, pollution or climate change affecting our rivers. The combined impact of stressors like these may be worse than any of their individual impacts. To understand and manage the effect of them, we need cost-effective and reliable analytical tools that can capture site-specific and ecosystem-wide effects.

Recent methodological advances that will help us to achieve these goals often rely on the application of new or improved molecular tools. Emerging techniques include environmental DNA (eDNA) based applications to monitor endangered and invasive species as well as stable isotope ecology, which provides us with new insights into animal diets and energy flows through aquatic food webs. We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce some of the novel developments in both of these exciting fields. Continue reading

What fish ears can tell us about sex, surveillance and sustainability

Below is a press release about the Methods paper, ‘Quantifying physiological influences on otolith microchemistry, from the University of Southampton:

Dr Anna Sturrock blood sampling plaice ©Anna Sturrock

Dr Anna Sturrock blood sampling plaice ©Anna Sturrock

Scientists at the University of Southampton have found a way to pry into the private lives of fish – by looking in their ears!

By studying ear stones in fish, which act as tiny data recorders, scientists can now reveal migration patterns and even provide insights into their sex life.

Managing fish stocks in a sustainable way is a major challenge facing scientists, conservationists, policy makers and fishermen. To get the best results, accurate information about the movements of fish in the wild is needed but gathering this information is extremely difficult. Continue reading