Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2022) | Viewed by 12952

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Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
Interests: freshwater fish ecology; climate change; alien fish invasions; freshwater biodiversity conservation; water quality; freshwater fish management.
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global warming is expected to accentuate biodiversity loss in inland waters, where climate-induced effects will lead to a worsening of ecological conditions for aquatic biota. In these environments, climate change is often associated with increasing water temperatures and decreasing habitat availability, which strongly affect the survival of many species. Furthermore, in many cases, the negative effects of climate change are added to other anthropogenic stressors, such as alien species invasions, water pollution, and habitat fragmentation. All these effects may lead to a strong decrease in biodiversity, since inland waters represent isolated environments from which the inhabiting species hardly have the opportunity to colonize new habitats in case of adverse environmental conditions. Despite the high conservation interest of many freshwater species, information on climate-related changes in their distribution, population status, and life history strategies are currently limited.

This Special Issue will collect articles focused on testing the possible effects of climate changes on aquatic species inhabiting inland waters all over the world, including the possible synergistic effects with other anthropogenic stressors. This information could help to create sound management strategies and plan proper conservation actions for the survival of these species.

Dr. Antonella Carosi
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • climate change
  • freshwater ecosystems
  • aquatic species
  • biodiversity conservation
  • anthropogenic stressors.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 189 KiB  
Editorial
Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity
by Antonella Carosi
Water 2022, 14(23), 3953; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233953 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1782
Abstract
This Special Issue intended to collect articles focusing on the assessment of the possible effects of climate changes on aquatic species inhabiting inland waters all over the world, including the possible synergistic effects in combination with other anthropogenic stressors. A total of six [...] Read more.
This Special Issue intended to collect articles focusing on the assessment of the possible effects of climate changes on aquatic species inhabiting inland waters all over the world, including the possible synergistic effects in combination with other anthropogenic stressors. A total of six original articles were published that report on investigations of different freshwater ecosystems across the world, including the mountain streams of the Western United States and Northwest Italy, river basins of Northwest China and Central Italy, a larger lowland river in north Italy, and a high-elevation temporary pond in Central Italy. In most of these papers, special attention was devoted to the repercussions of the climate change and its effects on three important components of the biotic community: the fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, and zooplankton. According to the aims of this Special Issue, three of the articles offer new insight into the synergistic effects of global warming together with other anthropogenic stressors, including water exploitation and alien species invasions. In light of the studies’ aim to highlight the effects of climate change, three papers provided analyses of environmental data collected through long-term monitoring. The scientific findings provided by these studies could help to create sound management strategies for freshwater biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

10 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
Species-Specific Abundance Response of Montane Stream Fishes to Drought-Induced Variation in Streamflow
by Noah E. Larsen, Richard M. Simkins, Jeff S. Wesner, R. Cary Tuckfield and Mark C. Belk
Water 2022, 14(16), 2467; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14162467 - 10 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1493
Abstract
Climate change projections in the western United States suggest that snowpack levels and winter precipitation will decline, but mean annual precipitation levels will remain unchanged. Mountain streams that once saw a constant source of water from snowpack will begin to see large seasonal [...] Read more.
Climate change projections in the western United States suggest that snowpack levels and winter precipitation will decline, but mean annual precipitation levels will remain unchanged. Mountain streams that once saw a constant source of water from snowpack will begin to see large seasonal variation in flow. Increased stream intermittency will create significant conservation risks for fish species; however, few studies have examined the abundance responses of fish in high elevation streams to the shift from perennial to intermittent flow. To determine the effects of stream intermittency on fish abundance in a montane stream, we quantified changes in abundance for five species over a five-year period that exhibited extreme variation in streamflow. Responses varied by species and life stage, suggesting that the shift from perennial to intermittent flow will cause significant declines in abundance for some species. Northern leatherside chub may experience large decreases in their range as the availability of perennial streams decreases. The study of drought effects on fish abundance will be crucial to the conservation of biodiversity in montane regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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16 pages, 2525 KiB  
Article
Population Status and Ecology of the Steno-Endemic Fairy Shrimp Chirocephalus sibyllae Cottarelli and Mura, 1975 Inhabiting a Mountain Temporary Pond (Central Italy)
by Antonella Carosi, Maria Gaetana Barelli, Alessandro Ambrosi, Alessandro Rossetti, Federico Morandi, Francesca Lorenzoni, Giovanni Tagliaferri and Massimo Lorenzoni
Water 2022, 14(11), 1750; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111750 - 29 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2223
Abstract
High-elevation ephemeral waters are sentinels of climate change, as they quickly respond to decreasing precipitation levels and increasing air temperatures. Fairy shrimps are among the most threatened invertebrates in ephemeral waters, as they are extremely vulnerable to habitat loss. Chirocephalus sibyllae is a [...] Read more.
High-elevation ephemeral waters are sentinels of climate change, as they quickly respond to decreasing precipitation levels and increasing air temperatures. Fairy shrimps are among the most threatened invertebrates in ephemeral waters, as they are extremely vulnerable to habitat loss. Chirocephalus sibyllae is a fairy shrimp endemic to the Palazzo Borghese temporary pond, located within Sibillini Mountains National Park (Central Italy). The aims of the present study were to: (i) evaluate the physicochemical characteristics of C. sibyllae habitat, with special reference to climate changes over twenty years; (ii) document the life history, size, and abundance of C. sibyllae; and (iii) document the coexisting zooplankton fauna in Palazzo Borghese pond. The zooplankton community was monitored fortnightly, during the filling phases of the pond, from April 2019 to June 2021, using an 80 μm mesh net, within transects of known length. On each sampling occasion, 13 physicochemical parameters were measured, and water-level fluctuations and pond surface area were recorded. Compared to what was reported in the literature, in the last two years the wet phase of the Palazzo Borghese pond was shorter, and the pool dried up much earlier than in the past. The water quality was good and reflected the typical characteristics of high-mountain oligotrophic ponds. Orthophosphates seem to play a key role in zooplankton population abundance, increasing over time during the filling period. According to the extreme unpredictability of environmental features, the zooplankton community was composed of a very limited number of species, adapted to face drought conditions for most of the year. C. sibyllae life-history traits showed a high number of cysts in the broodpouch of ovigerous females (mean ± SD = 66.0 ± 38.9), and a higher mean total length of adults (1.72 cm for females and 1.76 cm for males), in comparison to data reported in the literature. The year 2019 was configured as the season with the most favorable conditions for the development of C. sibyllae; in 2020, the short duration of the pond did not allow the species to complete its life cycle. Climate change seems to pose the main threat to the species, considering that the progressive increase in air temperatures and the decrease in snowfall will, likely, lead to increasingly shorter filling phases of its habitat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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16 pages, 2580 KiB  
Article
Flow Intermittency Affects Leaf Decomposition and Benthic Consumer Communities of Alpine Streams: A Case Study along the Po River
by Laura Gruppuso, Alberto Doretto, Elisa Falasco, Stefano Fenoglio, Michele Freppaz, Mark Eric Benbow and Francesca Bona
Water 2022, 14(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020258 - 16 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2046
Abstract
Streams and rivers are becoming increasingly intermittent in Alpine regions due to the global climate change and related increases of local water abstractions, making it fundamental to investigate the occurrence of supraseasonal drying events and their correlated effects. We aimed to investigate leaf [...] Read more.
Streams and rivers are becoming increasingly intermittent in Alpine regions due to the global climate change and related increases of local water abstractions, making it fundamental to investigate the occurrence of supraseasonal drying events and their correlated effects. We aimed to investigate leaf litter decomposition, the C:N ratio of the litter, and changes in associated macroinvertebrate communities in three reaches of the Po River: One upstream, consistently perennial, a perennial mid-reach with high hydrological variability, and an intermittent downstream reach. We placed leaf litter bags of two leaf types—chestnut and oak; both showed comparable decomposition rates, but the remaining litter mass was different and was attributed to the C:N ratio and palatability. Furthermore, (1) in perennial reaches, leaf litter decomposed faster than in the intermittent ones; (2) in intermittent reaches, the C:N ratio showed a decreasing trend in both leaf types, indicating that drying affected the nitrogen consumption, therefore the conditioning phase; (3) associated macroinvertebrate communities were richer and more stable in perennial reaches, where a higher richness and abundance of EPT taxa and shredders was observed. Our results suggest that the variations in the hydrology of mountain streams caused by global climate change could significantly impact on functional processes and biodiversity of benthic communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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19 pages, 2171 KiB  
Article
Climate Change and Water Exploitation as Co-Impact Sources on River Benthic Macroinvertebrates
by Francesca Salmaso, Giuseppe Crosa, Paolo Espa and Silvia Quadroni
Water 2021, 13(19), 2778; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192778 - 07 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2100
Abstract
Climate change can affect freshwater communities superimposing on other major stressors, such as water exploitation, with effects still poorly understood. The exacerbation of naturally-occurring periods of low flows has been reported as a major hydrological effect of water diversions, with severe impacts on [...] Read more.
Climate change can affect freshwater communities superimposing on other major stressors, such as water exploitation, with effects still poorly understood. The exacerbation of naturally-occurring periods of low flows has been reported as a major hydrological effect of water diversions, with severe impacts on river benthic macroinvertebrate communities. This study aimed at assessing long-term modifications of low-flow events in a large lowland Italian river possibly associated to climate change and the effects of these events, intensified by water withdrawals, on benthic macroinvertebrates. A 77-year dataset on daily discharge was thus analyzed through Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s method to investigate modifications of the main hydrological parameters. Moreover, macroinvertebrates were collected during the low-flow periods that occurred from 2010 to 2015 at three sites downstream of water withdrawals, representing three different conditions of hydrological impairment. After assessing possible differences in taxonomical and functional composition between sites and impairment conditions, redundancy analysis and ordinary least squares regression were performed to link benthos metrics to environmental (hydrological and physico-chemical) characteristics. An increase in the duration of the low-flow periods and reduced summer flows were detected on the long term, and the magnitude of low flows was significantly altered by water withdrawals. These hydrological features shaped both structural and functional characteristics of benthic assemblages, highlighting the need for a more environmentally-sustainable water resource management in the current context of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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20 pages, 5216 KiB  
Article
The Role of Climate Changes in the Spread of Freshwater Fishes: Implications for Alien Cool and Warm-Water Species in a Mediterranean Basin
by Antonella Carosi, Lucia Ghetti and Massimo Lorenzoni
Water 2021, 13(3), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030347 - 30 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2683
Abstract
In running waters, under climate change conditions, the combined effect of water warming and decreasing flow rates may encourage colonisation by invasive cool and warm-water fish species. The aim of the study was to analyze the potential climate change effects on the spread [...] Read more.
In running waters, under climate change conditions, the combined effect of water warming and decreasing flow rates may encourage colonisation by invasive cool and warm-water fish species. The aim of the study was to analyze the potential climate change effects on the spread of four invasive alien fishes in the Tiber River basin, taking into account the effects of river fragmentation. Fish and environmental data collected in 91 sites over the years 1998–2018, were used to analyze temporal changes in their habitat requirements. A multivariate analysis was conducted, and the hypothesis of a range expansion towards the upstream reaches has been tested. For Barbus barbus, Gobio gobio, Padogobius bonelli and Pseudorasbora parva population abundances and body condition were analyzed. Detectability, occupancy, local extinction and colonization probabilities were estimated. We showed that B. barbus and P. bonelli have significantly extended their range toward upstream. P. parva did not move toward higher altitudes significantly, suggesting that, at this stage, the species has probably reached an equilibrium. River fragmentation, elevation, water temperature and average current speed seem to be major determinants in colonization processes, affecting the dispersal ability of the species. Not surprisingly for species introduced in relatively recent times, the colonization probabilities were much higher than extinction probabilities. Our results provided evidence for some synergistic effects between climate changes and alien fish species invasions, in terms of species range shifts mediated by rising water temperatures, although they should be interpreted cautiously, taking into account that these species most likely were not yet stabilized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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19 pages, 4115 KiB  
Article
The Soil Water Evaporation Process from Mountains Based on the Stable Isotope Composition in a Headwater Basin and Northwest China
by Leilei Yong, Guofeng Zhu, Qiaozhuo Wan, Yuanxiao Xu, Zhuanxia Zhang, Zhigang Sun, Huiying Ma, Liyuan Sang, Yuwei Liu, Huiwen Guo and Yu Zhang
Water 2020, 12(10), 2711; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102711 - 27 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2834
Abstract
Soil water is a link between different water bodies. The study of soil water evaporation is of great significance to understand the regional hydrological process, promote environmental remediation in arid areas, and rationalize ecological water use. On the basis of soil water δ [...] Read more.
Soil water is a link between different water bodies. The study of soil water evaporation is of great significance to understand the regional hydrological process, promote environmental remediation in arid areas, and rationalize ecological water use. On the basis of soil water δ2H and δ18O data from April to October 2017 in the Xiying River basin in the upper reaches of the Qilian mountains, the lc-excess and Craig-Gordon model were applied to reflect the evaporating fractionation of soil water. The results show that the change in evaporation loss drives the enrichment of soil water isotopes. The signal of evaporative fractionation of soil water isotopes at different elevations has spatiotemporal heterogeneity. From the perspective of time dynamics, the evaporation loss of the whole region during the observation period was affected by temperature before July, while after July, it was controlled jointly by temperature and humidity, evaporation was weakened. Soil salt content and vegetation played an important role in evaporation loss. In terms of spatial dynamics, the soil moisture evaporation at the Xiying (2097 m) and Huajian (2390 m) stations in the foothills area is larger than that at the Nichan station (2721 m) on the hillside and Lenglong station (3637 m) on the mountain top. The surface soil water evaporation is strong, and the evaporation becomes weak with the increase of depth. The research has guiding significance for the restoration and protection of vegetation in arid areas and the formulation of reasonable animal husbandry policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
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