Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2024 | Viewed by 3639

Special Issue Editors

Department of Assessment and Aquatic Ecosystems Research, National Water Reference Laboratory of Slovakia, Water Research Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: chironomidae; macrozoobenthos; epiphyton; hydrobiology; water quality assessment; freshwater biodiversity; paleolimnology
Department of Biology, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
Interests: aquatic ecology; phytoplankton taxonomy and ecology; phytoplankton functional groups; floodplain ecology; invasive species; water quality assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Biology and Ecology, University of Niš, Višegradska 33, 18000 Niš, Serbia
Interests: aquatic ecology; macroinvertebrates; chironomidae; bioassessment; ecotoxicology

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Guest Editor Assistant
Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković" National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Interests: Freshwater Mollusca (Gastropoda and Bivalvia); macroinvertebrates; taxonomy and population genetics; water quality assessment; invasive species

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent times, there have been great concerns in all ecosystems regarding biodiversity and habitat protection. This is especially true for freshwater ecosystems, since some of the strongest negative anthropogenic influences are evident in the lakes, rivers, ponds or floodplains in our vicinity. All around the world, we are struggling with the challenges to protect biodiversity, to decrease habitat destruction and to ensure vital ecological services, developing various ways and activities to actively assess and monitor aquatic habitats (and communities), developing plans and models for protection, revitalization and restoration of natural freshwater ecosystems. To achieve these goals, it is vital to understand how the system is functioning, what is the status of the communities present or what are the main factors influencing it. Furthermore, the application of biotic elements or multi-indicator methods can be helpful in protection and management of the studied freshwater system.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present reviews, notes, and original research that concern the following issues: diversity studies of various types of freshwater ecosystems, water quality assessment methods and application, important stressors in lentic and lotic ecosystems, biodiversity in human-made water bodies, bioassessment of natural and human-made water bodies, main anthropogenic influences in freshwater ecosystems, community structure and functional complexity (from plankton to benthos), application of eDNA analysis and molecular taxonomy.

We believe these subjects will be very useful for further development of biodiversity studies as well as monitoring and protection of freshwater ecosystems.

Dr. Dubravka Čerba
Dr. Filip Stevic
Dr. Djuradj Milošević
Guest Editors

Dr. Maja Raković
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 2600 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 communities
  • α, β, γ diversity
  • biotic indicators
  • water quality assessment
  • anthropogenic influence
  • ecotoxicology
  • metacommunity
  • invasive species
  • non-wadeable rivers
  • conservation
  • barcoding

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 3780 KiB  
Article
Distribution Range of the Endangered Species Unio crassus Philipsson, 1788 in Serbia (Western Balkans Region), Historical and Recent Data
Water 2023, 15(24), 4248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15244248 - 11 Dec 2023
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Abstract
The thick-shelled river mussel, Unio crassus Philipson, 1788, is considered to be one of the species with the highest conservation priority in Serbia. The study represents the first comprehensive research of the distribution of U. crassus in Serbian waters. The research covered [...] Read more.
The thick-shelled river mussel, Unio crassus Philipson, 1788, is considered to be one of the species with the highest conservation priority in Serbia. The study represents the first comprehensive research of the distribution of U. crassus in Serbian waters. The research covered a variety of waterbody types throughout Serbia, and distribution data were considered over three time periods from 1953 to 2019. The paper summarizes all the available literature data, field research and information obtained during the review of the collection of malacological material of the Natural History Museum in Belgrade. The results show a positive population trend, which is reflected in an extension of the distribution area and an increase in population density. After reviewing the museum collection, 13 synonyms for U. crassus were identified. The study also revealed a better insight into the habitat requirements and the limiting factors of the species. Substrate characteristics, waterbody types, altitude, and nitrate content of the water seem to be of great importance for the occurrence of the species. The results presented here can improve further measures for the conservation of U. crassus, not only in Serbia, but also in the Western Balkans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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12 pages, 7475 KiB  
Article
Effects of Environmental Factors on the Distribution and Diversity of Aquatic Oligochaetes
Water 2023, 15(22), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223873 - 07 Nov 2023
Viewed by 724
Abstract
The aim of our study was to detect the actual distribution of oligochaete species and to identify their ecological differentiation with respect to environmental factors: altitude, temperature, oxygen concentration, conductivity, total organic carbon, and waterbody type. Although widespread, differentiation of oligochaete communities in [...] Read more.
The aim of our study was to detect the actual distribution of oligochaete species and to identify their ecological differentiation with respect to environmental factors: altitude, temperature, oxygen concentration, conductivity, total organic carbon, and waterbody type. Although widespread, differentiation of oligochaete communities in four waterbody types and altitudinal groups can be observed through alpha and beta diversity. Their differences were analyzed using MANOVA, while the ecological preferences of species were presented with logistic Gaussian regression analyses. The highest number of the species of Oligochaeta was recorded in oligochaete communities in medium and large rivers. Total beta diversity decreased with the decreasing of waterbody size, the increasing of size of the substrate particles, river flow velocity, as well as altitude. Communities from small mountain rivers and streams and large and medium rivers with coarser substrate differed from other oligochaete communities. When coarser substrate was prevalent in smaller and medium rivers, a domination of a certain family was observed: Lumbriculidae (>800 m a.s.l.), Propappidae and Enchytraeidae (500–800 m), and Naididae (<500 m a.s.l.). Common species of Oligochaeta, with significantly overlapping ranges in running waters in Serbia, still show a clear grouping with respect to preference for certain types of waterbodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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20 pages, 3719 KiB  
Article
Phytoplankton Diversity of a Natural Karst Lake Combining Morphological and Molecular Approaches
Water 2023, 15(7), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15071379 - 03 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Phytoplankton are considered to be one of the most sensitive indicators of the ecological status of lakes. Nowadays, it is essential to recognize the prospects of the molecular approach (eDNA metabarcoding) in phytoplankton community assessments and combine them with the existing traditional microscopy-based [...] Read more.
Phytoplankton are considered to be one of the most sensitive indicators of the ecological status of lakes. Nowadays, it is essential to recognize the prospects of the molecular approach (eDNA metabarcoding) in phytoplankton community assessments and combine them with the existing traditional microscopy-based morphological approach before its standardization. In this study, the aim was to characterize the phytoplankton community of a natural karstic lake by combining and comparing the morphological and molecular approach to check the applicability of eDNA metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool. A total of 51 phytoplankton taxa were found using the morphological approach, whilst the molecular approach discovered 97 ASVs that corresponded to the algal community. The comparability of both approaches in describing phytoplankton communities is evident in the designation of centric diatoms, dinoflagellates and cryptophytes as descriptive taxa. Furthermore, both approaches proved reliable in detecting functional groups (Lo, C, X2, X3) with similar ecological demands. Moreover, the results have shown that euphotic zone samples can be reliably exchanged by composite samples to provide an accurate characterization of phytoplankton communities in the euphotic zone. It was confirmed that eDNA metabarcoding is an applicable tool for biodiversity monitoring of a natural karst lake and should be used as a feasible supplement to traditional microscopy in the phytoplankton community assessments, with regards to the drawbacks of each method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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