Special Issue "Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ioannis Karaouzas
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Athens, Greece
Interests: freshwater biology; stream ecology; freshwater pollution; macroinvertebrate ecology & taxonomy; environmental monitoring & assessment; biogeography; ecosystems protection & management
Dr. Christos Theodoropoulos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Anavyssos, Greece
Interests: eco-hydraulics; macroinvertebrates; freshwater ecology; habitat modeling; ecological modeling; ecological monitoring; ecological indicators; sustainable development
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, freshwater ecosystems are being critically threatened by agrochemical and industrial pollution, habitat degradation and loss, the introduction of invasive species, unsustainable dam construction, water overexploitation, and anthropogenic and climate-change-induced water scarcity. This Special Issue of Water welcomes scientific contributions from freshwater scientists, water managers, and policy makers that will enhance the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge in research and applications in the field of freshwater ecology and ecosystem protection and management. Contributors may propose advanced concepts/frameworks and solutions, demonstrate new ecological tools to tackle the aforementioned issues, and advance towards a balanced/sustainable human interaction with freshwater ecosystems. Specifically, submissions may address one of the following issues:

  • Impact of pollution on freshwater ecosystems;
  • Innovative concepts and practices regarding pollution mitigation and management;
  • Reviews of sustainable freshwater resources management policies and best practice case studies;
  • Effects of multiple stressors on freshwater ecosystems;
  • Effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems; future scenarios; and how to prevent further biodiversity loss;
  • Ecological modelling applications within wider freshwater management and restoration schemes;
  • Development of new generic and/or stressor-specific biotic indices;
  • Cost-effective and time-efficient ecological restoration techniques and practices;
  • New concepts on fundamental freshwater ecology that could contribute to advancing policy frameworks;
  • Other fundamental and applied freshwater ecology topics that may contribute to developing a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.

Dr. Ioannis Karaouzas
Dr. Christos Theodoropoulos
Guest Editors

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 ecology
  • Ecological modelling
  • Pollution mitigation
  • Multiple stressors
  • Sustainable freshwater management
  • IWRM
  • Integrated water resources management
  • Ecological applications

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Effect of a Summer Flood on Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Medium-Sized, Temperate, Lowland River
Water 2021, 13(7), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070885 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 812
Abstract
Floods are naturally occurring extreme hydrological events that affect stream habitats and biota at multiple extents. Benthic macroinvertebrates (BM) are widely used to assess ecological status in rivers, but their resistance and resilience to floods in medium-sized, temperate, lowland rivers in Europe have [...] Read more.
Floods are naturally occurring extreme hydrological events that affect stream habitats and biota at multiple extents. Benthic macroinvertebrates (BM) are widely used to assess ecological status in rivers, but their resistance and resilience to floods in medium-sized, temperate, lowland rivers in Europe have not been sufficiently studied. In this study, we quantified the effect of a moderate (5-year return period) yet long-lasting and unpredictable flood that occurred in summer 2020 on the BM community of the Jeziorka River in central Poland. To better understand the mechanisms by which the studied flood affected the BM community, we also evaluated the dynamics of hydrological, hydraulic, channel morphology, and water quality conditions across the studied 1300 m long reach. Continuous water level monitoring, stream depth surveying, and discharge measurements. As well, in-situ and lab-based water quality measurements were carried out between March and August 2020. BM communities were sampled three times at eight sites along the reach, once before and twice after the flood. High flow velocities during the flood resulted in stream bed instability leading to sand substrate movement that caused streambed aggradation by up to 0.2 m. Dissolved oxygen and ammonium-nitrogen were major drivers of BM community structure. Taxa richness, abundance, and the BMWP-PL index declined significantly, whereas Shannon evenness and Simpson diversity indices showed no significant change in the first post-flood sampling, as indicated by Kruskal–Wallis and Tukey tests. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analysis showed that community composition was also significantly affected by the flood. Seven weeks after the flood peak (August 2020 sampling), BM communities had fully recovered from the disturbance. The results can serve as a first approximation of the resistance and resilience of BM communities for relevant applications in other medium-sized, low-gradient, temperate rivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
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Article
Comprehensive Assessment Indicator of Ecosystem Resilience in Central Asia
Water 2021, 13(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020124 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 646
Abstract
The ecosystems in the arid inland areas of Central Asia are fragile and severely degraded. Understanding and assessing ecosystem resilience is a challenge facing ecosystems. Based on the net primary productivity (NPP) data estimated by the CASA model, this study conducted a quantitative [...] Read more.
The ecosystems in the arid inland areas of Central Asia are fragile and severely degraded. Understanding and assessing ecosystem resilience is a challenge facing ecosystems. Based on the net primary productivity (NPP) data estimated by the CASA model, this study conducted a quantitative analysis of the ecosystem’s resilience and comprehensively reflected its resilience from multiple dimensions. Furthermore, a comprehensive resilience index was constructed. The result showed that plain oasis’s ecosystem resilience is the highest, followed by deserts and mountainous areas. From the perspective of vegetation types, the highest resilience is artificial vegetation and the lowest is forest. In warm deserts, the resilience is higher in shrubs and meadows and lower in grassland vegetation. High coverage and biomass are not the same as the strong adaptability of the ecosystem. Moderate and slightly inelastic areas mainly dominate the ecosystem resilience of the study area. The new method is easy to use. The evaluation result is reliable. It can quantitatively analyze the resilience latitude and recovery rate, a beneficial improvement to the current ecosystem resilience evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
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Article
Habitat Suitability Curves for Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Tropical Andean Rivers
Water 2020, 12(10), 2703; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102703 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Sustainable river management requires a thorough understanding of the response of aquatic biota to riverine microhabitat variability. The purpose of this study was to assess macroinvertebrate hydraulic-habitat suitability in Ecuadorian Andean rivers to support habitat modelling for sustainable ecosystem management. 597 macroinvertebrate samples [...] Read more.
Sustainable river management requires a thorough understanding of the response of aquatic biota to riverine microhabitat variability. The purpose of this study was to assess macroinvertebrate hydraulic-habitat suitability in Ecuadorian Andean rivers to support habitat modelling for sustainable ecosystem management. 597 macroinvertebrate samples were collected from ten sampling stations the Yanuncay River, Ecuador. Physical, chemical, hydraulic and habitat variables were measured/calculated. Froude number, Reynolds number, substrate index and algae coverage were major drivers of macroinvertebrate response, and were used to develop suitability curves for Baetodes, Andesiops, Camelobaetidius, Ecuaphlebia, Anacroneuria, Atopsyche, Simulium and Palpomyia using General Additive Models. Standardised density contours of taxa as functions of hydraulic and habitat variables were also developed. Taxonomic response was related to body structures/shapes and feeding habits. Baetodoes, Simulium, Anacroneuria and Atopsyche preferred fast flowing waters, and thus, they could be significantly affected in case of flow reduction. Similar habitat suitability curves were developed from the main river and the tributaries, possibly due to the short distance between the sampling stations. This study fills a major knowledge gap by developing macroinvertebrate habitat suitability curves for future physical habitat simulations and environmental flow assessments in the Andean region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Dissolved Organic Carbon and Freshwater Browning in the Zoige Alpine Wetland, Northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
Water 2020, 12(9), 2453; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092453 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
The concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and its light-absorbing fraction (chromophoric dissolved organic matter; CDOM) in surface waters, particularly those draining organic-rich peatlands, have dramatically increased over the past decade due to climate change and human disturbance. To explore the spatiotemporal dynamics [...] Read more.
The concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and its light-absorbing fraction (chromophoric dissolved organic matter; CDOM) in surface waters, particularly those draining organic-rich peatlands, have dramatically increased over the past decade due to climate change and human disturbance. To explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of DOC and CDOM in surface waters of the northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, we collected water samples from two rivers in the Zoige alpine wetland and from two rivers in its adjacent alpine-gorge region, during wet and dry seasons. DOC concentration ranged from 4.82 mg·L−1 to 47.83 mg·L−1, with a mean value of 15.04 mg·L−1, 2.84 times higher than the global average. The Zoige rivers had higher DOC concentration and highly terrigenous CDOM. Significantly higher DOC concentration was observed for the Zoige rivers in the wet season compared to the dry season. In contrast, the alpine-gorge rivers had higher DOC levels in the dry season. No significant correlations were observed between DOC and CDOM at all rivers due to the influence of autochthonous sources on the alpine-gorge rivers and intensive photochemical degradation of terrigenous DOM in the Zoige rivers. Significant relationships between CDOM and specific ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254) and between CDOM/DOC and SUVA254 were observed, indicating that the aromaticity of DOM in the rivers was mainly determined by CDOM. Moreover, the DOC/CDOM properties of the Hei River indicate critical human-induced water quality degradation. High DOC level and high browning degree were found in rivers in the Zoige alpine wetland, indicating that large amounts of terrigenous DOC were released to the aquatic systems of the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
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Article
α- and β-Diversity Patterns of Macrophytes and Freshwater Fishes are Driven by Different Factors and Processes in Lakes of the Unexplored Southern Balkan Biodiversity Hotspot
Water 2020, 12(7), 1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071984 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Disentangling the main drivers of species richness and community composition is a central theme in ecology. Freshwater biodiversity patterns have been poorly explored; yet, it has been shown that different freshwater biota have different, often contrasting responses to environmental gradients. In this study, [...] Read more.
Disentangling the main drivers of species richness and community composition is a central theme in ecology. Freshwater biodiversity patterns have been poorly explored; yet, it has been shown that different freshwater biota have different, often contrasting responses to environmental gradients. In this study, we investigated the relative contribution of geographical and environmental (habitat-, climate- and water quality-related) factors/gradients in shaping the α- and β-diversity patterns of macrophytes and fish in sixteen natural freshwater lakes of an unexplored Balkan biodiversity hotspot, the Southern Balkan Peninsula. We employed generalized linear modeling to identify drivers of α-diversity, and generalized dissimilarity modeling to explore commonalities and dissimilarities of among-biota β-diversity. Species richness of both biota was significantly associated with lake surface area, whereas macrophytes had an inverse response to altitude, compared to fish. Both species turnover and nestedness significantly contributed to the total β-diversity of macrophytes. In contrast, species turnover was the most significant contributor to the total fish β-diversity. We found that the compositional variation of macrophytes is primarily limited by dispersal and ultimately shaped by environmental drivers, resulting in spatially structured assemblages. Fish communities were primarily shaped by altitude, highlighting the role of species sorting. We conclude that among-biota diversity patterns are shaped by different/contrasting factors, and, thus, effective/sustainable conservation strategies should encompass multiple aquatic biota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. from Dr. Sukhmani Mantel's team, Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa

Title: Impacts of Climate Change on Rivers and Biodiversity in a Water-Scarce Agricultural Region of the Western Cape, South Africa

Authors: Jane Tanner *, Sukhmani Mantel, Andrew Slaughter, Bruce Paxton, and Denis Hughes

Abstract: Meeting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6.4 and 6.6 relating to stress on freshwater resources requires evaluating and enhancing the adaptive capacity of riverine ecosystems while meeting the demands for water withdrawal for food security. The ecological Reserve (environmental flows) as defined under the South African National Water Act 36 of 1998 provides a means of managing water in such a way as to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and services provided. We investigated climate change impacts on ecological Reserve targets in Doring River using the Habitat Flow Stressor Response method (which integrates hydrology, hydraulics, water quality and ecological data) under projected climate scenarios (2041 – 2070). Current Reserve model outcomes for 3 sites were compared with the future hydrology using Global Circulation Models associated with four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP 2.6 to 8.5). Climate predictions reflected reduced future flows, but the uncertainty band of predicted future flows overlapped with present day flows. Flood flashiness following heavy rains and the increased length of dry periods that are predicted would both contribute to increased erosion and geomorphological degradation, and further compromise biodiversity including endangered fish populations and threaten both freshwater and estuarine ecosystems downstream. Salinity variation is predicted to increase in future leading to increased seasonal salinity stress and reduced use of abstracted water. We interrogate various options for mitigating the impacts including augmenting dry season flows, developing on-farm, catchment-scale and strategic water resources management, and removing alien vegetation.

Keywords: climate change; environmental flows; hydrological modelling; water availability; biodiversity protection

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