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 6306

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
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

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Guest Editor
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

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Guest Editor
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

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 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 (6 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 2477 KiB  
Article
Tackling the Phylogeny of Lampreys—Insight from the Croatia’s Danube Basin
by Sara Pleše and Ivana Buj
Water 2024, 16(8), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16081153 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 318
Abstract
This research addresses the pressing issue of protecting endangered lamprey species in Croatia, a crucial element in preserving biodiversity, particularly in the face of increasing human-induced impacts on natural ecosystems due to global warming. Lampreys, a group of vertebrates with an ancient lineage, [...] Read more.
This research addresses the pressing issue of protecting endangered lamprey species in Croatia, a crucial element in preserving biodiversity, particularly in the face of increasing human-induced impacts on natural ecosystems due to global warming. Lampreys, a group of vertebrates with an ancient lineage, are not fully understood taxonomically, posing a challenge to conservation efforts. In the Danube and Adriatic basins of Croatia, where lampreys are found, the lack of modern molecular methods and analyses has hindered an accurate determination of species numbers. This study aimed to bridge this knowledge gap by assessing the genetic diversity and structure of identified lamprey species and lineages in Croatia using the gene for cytochrome b. The research revealed four distinct lineages within the species Eudontomyzon vladykovi Oliva and Zanandrea, 1959 and confirmed the presence of the species Eudontomyzon danfordi Regan, 1911 in Croatia. Genetic diversity and differentiation tests, coupled with molecular diagnostic analyses, indicated moderate to high levels of genetic diversity within and between the identified species and lineages, emphasizing the deep structuring within Eudontomyzon vladykovi species. These results highlight the significance of understanding lamprey taxonomy and genetic diversity for effective conservation. The study provides important insights into the intricate relationships and conservation needs of lampreys, and provides a basis for future discussions involving additional genetic markers. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the taxonomy, ecology, and genetic diversity of lampreys, we can ensure their conservation and that of associated ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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14 pages, 2717 KiB  
Article
Microplastics in the Danube River and Its Main Tributaries—Ingestion by Freshwater Macroinvertebrates
by Jelena Stanković, Djuradj Milošević, Momir Paunović, Boris Jovanović, Nataša Popović, Jelena Tomović, Ana Atanacković, Katarina Radulović, Davor Lončarević and Maja Raković
Water 2024, 16(7), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16070962 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 842
Abstract
This study was carried out at the Danube River and its tributaries during the Joint Danube Survey 4 (JDS4) expedition. Three freshwater benthic species were used to estimate the quantity of microplastics (MPs): Corbicula spp., Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri (Claparede, 1862), and Polypedilum nubeculosum (Meigen, [...] Read more.
This study was carried out at the Danube River and its tributaries during the Joint Danube Survey 4 (JDS4) expedition. Three freshwater benthic species were used to estimate the quantity of microplastics (MPs): Corbicula spp., Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri (Claparede, 1862), and Polypedilum nubeculosum (Meigen, 1804). Following the kick and sweep technique, individuals were sampled using a hand net or dredge. In order to estimate the number of MP particles/individual particles/g wet body mass, the body mass and total length of all specimens were measured. Alkaline (Corbicula spp. and L. hoffmaisteri) and enzymatic (P. nubeculosum) protocols were performed for tissue degradation. All samples were filtered through glass microfiber filters (mesh size 0.5 µm). The particles were photographed, measured, and counted. A total of 1904, 169, and 204 MPs were isolated from Corbicula spp., L. hoffmaisteri, and P. nubeculosum, respectively. To confirm the chemical composition of isolated MPs, a subsample of 46 particles of the fragmented particles from 14 sampling sites was analysed via µ-ATR-FTIR spectroscopy analysis. The particles were characterised as polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene–polyethylene copolymer (PP-PE), nylon (polyamide-PA) and cellophane, with the domination of PET. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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17 pages, 5552 KiB  
Article
Aquatic Insects (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera) Metric as an Important Tool in Water Quality Assessment in Hilly and Mountain Streams
by Bojana Tubić, Stefan Andjus, Katarina Zorić, Božica Vasiljević, Katarina Jovičić, Jelena Čanak Atlagić and Momir Paunović
Water 2024, 16(6), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16060849 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
The aim of the study was to test the significance of the EPT index in the water quality assessment of three types of water bodies in hilly and mountainous region of Serbia. The aquatic macroinvertebrate community was dominated by the group of insects, [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to test the significance of the EPT index in the water quality assessment of three types of water bodies in hilly and mountainous region of Serbia. The aquatic macroinvertebrate community was dominated by the group of insects, of which 95 taxa represent the EPT group. We compared the obtained values of biological indices used for the assessment of water quality according to the national legislation with the overall status assessment represented by the ecological quality classes (EQC). The results of the Spearman correlation test showed a negative correlation of EQC with the EPT index, BMWP score, H′, total number of taxa and number of sensitive taxa, while a positive correlation was observed for the values of SI and Tubificinae %. The values of EQC and biological indices were subjected to principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed that the parameters that contributed most to the differences were the EPT index, the BMWP score and the number of sensitive taxa. The results indicate that the EPT index is an excellent indicator of changes in water quality and an important tool for the ecological categorization of water bodies in mountain regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Ecosystems—Biodiversity and Protection)
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18 pages, 3780 KiB  
Article
Distribution Range of the Endangered Species Unio crassus Philipsson, 1788 in Serbia (Western Balkans Region), Historical and Recent Data
by Jelena Tomović, Vladica Simić, Ana Petrović, Ana Atanacković, Katarina Zorić, Momir Paunović and Maja Raković
Water 2023, 15(24), 4248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15244248 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 879
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
by Ana Atanacković, Nataša Popović, Nikola Marinković, Jelena Tomović, Jelena Đuknić, Jelena Stanković and Momir Paunović
Water 2023, 15(22), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223873 - 07 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 948
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
by Maja Šimunović, Antonija Kulaš, Petar Žutinić and Marija Gligora Udovič
Water 2023, 15(7), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15071379 - 03 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1690
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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