Special Issue "Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation in Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems "

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Eva Papastergiadou
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Guest Editor
Department of Biology, School of Natural Sciences, University of Patras, University Campus Rio, GR 26500 Patras, Greece
Interests: freshwater biology; ecological quality; climate change effects on shallow lakes; biodiversity patterns at spatial and temporal scales; functional ecology; riparian ecosystems; lowland streams; shallow lakes; landscape change ecology; human impacts; invasive species; land-water interactions; ecosystem functioning; ecosystem services
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater ecosystems cover less than 1% of the Earth’s surface and are among the most diverse and threatened systems in the world. They support diverse and productive communities, but the degradation of habitats and species loss in freshwater is far greater than in any other ecosystem. Ecosystems in warm climates are more sensitive to anthropogenic pressures, such as eutrophication and water extraction, than similar ecosystems in temperate or cold climates. Mediterranean freshwater ecosystems have a highly endangered biodiversity, which cannot be dissociated from the long history of human disturbances. Additionally, water diversion, flow regulation, increased salinity, eutrophication, pollution and introduced species have impacted the Mediterranean ecosystems over time. As a result, freshwater biodiversity is declining at a far greater rate than the biodiversity of any other terrestrial ecosystem. The loss of biodiversity is altering ecosystem functions and services that are essential for the well-being of the human community, as well as threatening species with extinction.

In this Special Issue, we aim to collect high-quality articles addressing the factors that influence freshwater biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean climate ecosystems (e.g. streams, rivers, lakes, lagoons, ponds, etc). This research topic is open to submissions related to biodiverse ecosystem functioning, land use and climate changes, human impacts in catchment areas over the last decades, species decline and invasion, and the potential effects of water quality change on threatened species and habitats. We also welcome submissions on the ecological assessment and conservation management of Mediterranean climate freshwater ecosystems and their respective capacity to support ecological integrity and to provide ecosystem services.

Assoc. Prof. Eva Papastergiadou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Freshwater biodiversity
  • Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Climate change
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Threatened species and habitats
  • Invasive species
  • Eutrophication/pollution
  • Water quality assessments
  • Conservation planning,
  • Catchment management and restoration

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Linkages between Macrophyte Functional Traits and Water Quality: Insights from a Study in Freshwater Lakes of Greece
Water 2019, 11(5), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051047 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Freshwater ecologists have shown increased interest in assessing biotic responses to environmental change using functional community characteristics. With this article, we investigate the potential of using functional traits of the aquatic plants to assess eutrophication in freshwater lakes. To this end we collected [...] Read more.
Freshwater ecologists have shown increased interest in assessing biotic responses to environmental change using functional community characteristics. With this article, we investigate the potential of using functional traits of the aquatic plants to assess eutrophication in freshwater lakes. To this end we collected macrophyte and physicochemical data from thirteen lakes in Greece and we applied a trait-based analysis to first identify discrete groups of macrophytes that share common functional traits and then to assess preliminary responses of these groups to water quality gradients. We allocated 11 traits that cover mostly growth form and morphological characteristics to a total of 33 macrophyte species. RLQ and fourth corner analysis were employed to explore potential relationships between species, trait composition and environmental gradients. In addition, a hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to discriminate groups of plants that share common trait characteristics and then the position of the groups along the environmental gradients was assessed. The results showed total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, conductivity, pH and Secchi disk depth as main drivers of the environmental gradients. Hierarchical cluster analysis showed a clear separation of macrophyte assemblages with discrete functional characteristics that appeared to associate with different environmental drivers. Thus, rooted submerged plants were related with higher Secchi disk depth, conductivity and alkalinity whereas rooted floating-leaved plants showed a preference for enriched waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. In addition, free-floating plants were related positively with nitrogen and increased pH. Although we did not identify specific trait patterns with environmental drivers, our findings indicate a differentiation of macrophytes based on their functional characteristics along water quality gradients. Overall, the presented results are encouraging for conducting future monitoring studies in lakes focused on the functional plant trait composition, as expanding the current approach to additional lakes and using quantifiable functional characteristics will provide more insight about the potential of trait-based approaches as ecological assessment systems. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Oxygen Depletion Affects Kinematics and Shoaling Cohesion of Cyprinid Fish
Water 2019, 11(4), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040642 - 27 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Numerous anthropogenic stressors impact rivers worldwide. Hypoxia, resulting from organic waste releases and eutrophication, occurs very commonly in Mediterranean rivers. Nonetheless, little is known about the effects of deoxygenation on the behavior of Mediterranean freshwater fish. To fill this knowledge gap, we assessed [...] Read more.
Numerous anthropogenic stressors impact rivers worldwide. Hypoxia, resulting from organic waste releases and eutrophication, occurs very commonly in Mediterranean rivers. Nonetheless, little is known about the effects of deoxygenation on the behavior of Mediterranean freshwater fish. To fill this knowledge gap, we assessed the impact of three different dissolved oxygen levels (normoxia, 48.4%, 16.5% saturation) on kinematics indicators (swimming velocity, acceleration, distance traveled) and shoaling cohesion of adult Iberian barbel, Luciobarbus bocagei, a widespread cyprinid species inhabiting a broad range of lotic and lentic habitats. We conducted flume experiments and video-tracked individual swimming movements of shoals of five fish. Our results reveal significant differences between the treatments regarding kinematics. Swimming velocity, acceleration, and total distance traveled decreased stepwise from the control to each of the two oxygen depletion treatments, whereby the difference between the control and both depletion levels was significant, respectively, but not between the depletion levels themselves. Shoaling cohesion showed dissimilarities between the treatments regarding the maximum distance between fish, as the high depletion treatment differed from each of the other two, indicating that under severe oxygen depletion some individuals move away from the shoal. Overall, our results show how oxygen depletion changes fish behavior, which may entail ecological responses, highlighting the need to maintain an unfragmented river network to ensure movement dispersal among habitats, thus providing conditions for species escapement from hypoxia. Full article
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