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Special Issue "Multiplicity, Characteristics, Main Impacts, and Stewardship of Natural and Artificial Freshwater Environments: Consequences for Biodiversity Conservation"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 7 September 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Marco Cantonati

Head of Limnology and Phycology Section, Museo delle Scienze - MUSE, Trento, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-0461-270342
Interests: freshwater science; environmental biology; environmental change; phycology; groundwater
Guest Editor
Dr. Sandra Poikane

EC Joint Research Centre, Directorate Sustainable resources
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-0332-789720
Interests: applied ecology; aquatic bioassessment; freshwater ecology; alternative biomonitoring methods
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Catherine M. Pringle

Odum School of Ecology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA. 30602-2602
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (706) 542-1120
Guest Editor
Dr. Lawrence E. Stevens

Director, Springs Stewardship Institute, Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86001 Northern Arizona, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (928) 380-7724
Guest Editor
Dr. Eren Turak

Principal Scientist, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; Australian Museum
E-Mail
Phone: +61411270816
Interests: freshwater biodiversity observations; freshwater conservation planning; Earth observations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rationale of this Special Issue is to collect papers that discuss the potential of the different natural and artificial freshwater habitat types to contribute to freshwater biodiversity conservation. We are especially seeking articles that illustrate the potential of near-natural and man-made freshwater habitats (focus can be narrowed on ecolgical categories, e.g., phytobenthos- or taxocoenoses, etc.) for biodiversity conservation by examining their ecological characteristics, conservation status, and main impacts affecting them. The following topics are alredy planned to be included in the Special Issue: Potential and value of springs, natural and artificial lakes affected by marked water-level fluctuations, large ancient lakes, mires, mountain and high-mountain lakes, streams and rivers for freshwater biodiversity conservation; springs (as compared to streams) as refugial habitat for sensitive species (Least-Impaired Habitat Relicts—LIHRe concept); can freshwater-biodiversity inventoring be funded independently from assessment and monitoring efforts?

Dr. Marco Cantonati
Dr. Sandra Poikane
Prof. Dr. Catherine M. Pringle
Dr. Lawrence E. Stevens
Dr. Eren Turak
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 monthly 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 1600 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

  • Near-natural freshwater habitats
  • man-made freshwater habitats
  • freshwater biodiversity
  • conservation ecology
  • biodiversity inventoring
  • environmental-quality assessments
  • water-level fluctuations (WLF)

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Diversity and Structure of the Tychoplankton Diatom Community in the Limnocrene Spring Zelenci (Slovenia) in Relation to Environmental Factors
Water 2018, 10(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040361
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The influence of selected factors on the diversity and composition of tychoplanktonic diatom community in limnocrene spring Zelenci was investigated. The spring that was studied is located in a glacial valley in the south-eastern calcareous Alps. Samples of tychoplankton were collected with a [...] Read more.
The influence of selected factors on the diversity and composition of tychoplanktonic diatom community in limnocrene spring Zelenci was investigated. The spring that was studied is located in a glacial valley in the south-eastern calcareous Alps. Samples of tychoplankton were collected with a plankton net between October 2012 and August 2015 and for each sample, selected abiotic factors were measured. Over 100 different diatom species were identified, the most abundant being Achnanthidium minutissimum and Denticula tenuis. The most species-rich genera were Navicula, Fragilaria, Nitzschia, Cymbella and Gomphonema. The most significant impact on species composition of tychoplanktonic diatom community was from the conductivity of the water and the consecutive number of the month. Diversity was correlated negatively with concentration of orthophosphate and positively with pH and water level. Benthic species from the low profile ecological group dominated the tychoplankton community, with a share of 30–72%. High profile and motile species characteristic for benthos reached higher shares on average than euplanktonic species. This indicates the essential role of underwater springs in the maintenance of a species-rich tychoplanktonic community. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
To What Extent Are Swiss Springs Refugial Habitats for Sensitive and Endangered Diatom Taxa?
Water 2017, 9(12), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9120967
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2171 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Habitat alteration is one of the major drivers of species loss. Springs may be among the least affected aquatic habitats and are considered to be refugial habitats. Diatom assemblages were sampled from 74 Swiss springs comprising seven spring types over a wide altitudinal [...] Read more.
Habitat alteration is one of the major drivers of species loss. Springs may be among the least affected aquatic habitats and are considered to be refugial habitats. Diatom assemblages were sampled from 74 Swiss springs comprising seven spring types over a wide altitudinal and ecological range as well as a wide range of anthropogenic modifications (alterations). Each spring was assigned to a five-point alteration scale, from natural to heavily altered. In total, 504 diatom species were recorded (not including 36 taxa that could not be identified to species level) from five microhabitats, and coded according to rarity and Red List status. The results of this extensive spring-habitat diatom survey were compared statistically with a large stream diatom dataset (DI-CH). The spring diatom microflora was more species rich and included more rare and/or threatened species than the stream microflora. The proportion of Red List species and rare species was highest in the DI-CH dataset, but the proportion of species with no Red List status and rare species was the highest in springs. Species richness, Red List status, and rarity were significantly related to the degree of spring alteration. This is consistent with the hypothesis that unaltered springs function as refuges for the Swiss fresh water microflora, and that they can be regarded as “least-impaired habitats”. These may be critically important for the conservation of the European freshwater diatom microflora. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Ecological and Conservation Value of Small Standing-Water Ecosystems: A Systematic Review of Current Knowledge and Future Challenges
Water 2019, 11(3), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030402
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
A small standing-water ecosystem (SWE) is a shallow (<20 m) lentic water body with a surface of a few hectares (≤10 ha). Compared to larger counterparts, they exhibit wider ecotones, sometimes even equaling their whole surface, which maximizes structural heterogeneity, supporting exceptionally high [...] Read more.
A small standing-water ecosystem (SWE) is a shallow (<20 m) lentic water body with a surface of a few hectares (≤10 ha). Compared to larger counterparts, they exhibit wider ecotones, sometimes even equaling their whole surface, which maximizes structural heterogeneity, supporting exceptionally high biodiversity, metabolic rates, and functionality. Surprisingly, no binding regulations support global strategies for SWE conservation. This work consists of a literature review performed for the period 2004–2018 to assess the ecological and conservation value of SWEs and the contribution of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in promoting their conservation. Outcomes from this work open new perspectives on SWEs, which emerge as valuable ecosystems, and confirm their pivotal contribution to watershed biodiversity, resilience, and functionality. Results also suggest clear narrative trends and large knowledge gaps across geographical areas, biological components, and target issues. Additionally, we note that SWEs are under-represented in the frame of WFD implementation, stressing their marginality into assessing procedures. All of this calls for further studies, especially outside Europe and with a global, multi-taxon perspective. These should be devoted to quantitatively assess the roles of SWEs in maintaining global water ecosystem quality, biodiversity, and services, and to prioritize management actions for their conservation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biological Diversity in Headwater Streams
Water 2019, 11(2), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020366
Received: 21 January 2019 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
Headwaters, the sources of all stream networks, provide habitats that are unique from other freshwater environments and are used by a specialised subset of aquatic species. The features of headwaters that provide special habitats include predator-free or competitor-free spaces; specific resources (particularly detrital [...] Read more.
Headwaters, the sources of all stream networks, provide habitats that are unique from other freshwater environments and are used by a specialised subset of aquatic species. The features of headwaters that provide special habitats include predator-free or competitor-free spaces; specific resources (particularly detrital based); and moderate variations in flows, temperature and discharge. Headwaters provide key habitats for all or some life stages for a large number of species across just about all freshwater phyla and divisions. Some features of headwaters, including isolation and small population sizes, have allowed for the evolutionary radiation of many groups of organisms within and beyond those habitats. As small and easily engineered physical spaces, headwaters are easily degraded by streambank development, ditching and even burial. Headwater streams are among the most sensitive of freshwater ecosystems due to their intimate linkage with their catchments and how easily they are impacted. As a unique ecosystem with many specialist species, headwater streams deserve better stewardship. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Why Do We Need to Document and Conserve Foundation Species in Freshwater Wetlands?
Water 2019, 11(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020265
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6551 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Foundation species provide habitat to other organisms and enhance ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling, carbon storage and sequestration, and erosion control. We focus on freshwater wetlands because these ecosystems are often characterized by foundation species; eutrophication and other environmental changes may cause [...] Read more.
Foundation species provide habitat to other organisms and enhance ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling, carbon storage and sequestration, and erosion control. We focus on freshwater wetlands because these ecosystems are often characterized by foundation species; eutrophication and other environmental changes may cause the loss of some of these species, thus severely damaging wetland ecosystems. To better understand how wetland primary producer foundation species support other species and ecosystem functions across environmental gradients, we reviewed ~150 studies in subtropical, boreal, and temperate freshwater wetlands. We look at how the relative dominance of conspicuous and well-documented species (i.e., sawgrass, benthic diatoms and cyanobacteria, Sphagnum mosses, and bald cypress) and the foundational roles they play interact with hydrology, nutrient availability, and exposure to fire and salinity in representative wetlands. Based on the evidence analyzed, we argue that the foundation species concept should be more broadly applied to include organisms that regulate ecosystems at different spatial scales, notably the microscopic benthic algae that critically support associated communities and mediate freshwater wetlands’ ecosystem functioning. We give recommendations on how further research efforts can be prioritized to best inform the conservation of foundation species and of the freshwater wetlands they support. Full article
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