December 2012 Freshwater Matters Freshwater Matters is a monthly electronic bulletin of the most recent freshwater news from around the world, compiled by the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA). It includes updates of what is happening at the FBA and ways to get involved. Contents Editorial What’s happening at the FBA? This month’s articles Streams show signs of degradation at earliest stages of urban development Saving salmon from deadly sea lice Thriving beaver population threatens Dutch flood banks Crocodile jaws more sensitive than human fingertips Mixed fortunes for fens wildlife River Welland project aims to lure back wildlife Infrared vision in a cichlid fish River Nith crayfish reports probed Archer fish spitting mystery solved Climate change may alter amphibian evolution Editorial This month’s editorial has been written by Dr Karen Rouen, who manages the publications programme at the Freshwater Biological Association, As you will see below, the second in our general guides to freshwater invertebrates (Scientific Publication No. 68) has now been published. Produced as a tribute to T.T. Macan, it complements the FBA’s keys to species and we hope it will inspire a new generation of freshwater biologists. With this in mind, it’s an opportune moment to ask readers of Freshwater Matters what you would like to see in future from the FBA in terms of new guides for identifying and studying freshwater organisms. What are you missing at the moment, and yet desperately need? Do you have any comments about existing FBA keys (we have a number of updates on the go, but feedback on any existing key is always welcome)? Are there particular methods that you would like to see covered in a practical guide? Are you in a position to ‘road-test’ draft keys with groups of students or those new to the field? If you have any comments or feedback, we would be delighted to hear from you - just drop us a line at email@example.com. We would also be interested to hear suggestions on funding sources for the development of identification keys. The production of new guides is often dependent on obtaining sponsorship or other types of financial support, and indeed the latest guide has only been possible thanks to a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. So if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the new guide! What’s happening at the FBA? New book just published At the time of writing, we have just today received delivery of the latest in the FBA’s series of Scientific Publications (No. 68), “Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates”, which covers all the common freshwater invertebrates occurring in Britain and Ireland. Published in hardback, it is available at a price of £33 (or £24.75 for FBA Members) plus postage. For further details, visit http://www.fba. org.uk/sp68-guide-freshwater-invertebrates, (this web-page also summarising the differences between this guide and Scientific Publication No. 67) or look at our online shop (https://www.fba.org.uk/shop/). Calling authors - Freshwater Reviews The FBA’s house-journal Freshwater Reviews is an international, peer-reviewed
journal dedicated to providing modern reviews of topics in the freshwatersciences. Manuscript submission is open to both FBA members and non-members, and authors include researchers and those involved with themanagement of fresh waters. Published twice a year, online and in print, topicsrange from biology and limnology to policy and socio-economic aspects. Aswell as ‘traditional’ reviews, summarising current knowledge, shorter articles- comprising reasoned and well-argued opinion/comment - are also welcome.Manuscript submission is quick and easy via the journal website, and you canalso track the progress of your manuscript at every stage from acceptance topublication. We aim to provide authors with a prompt turnaround of manuscripts.For further information, visit our journal website: https://www.fba.org.uk/journals/index.php/FRJ.Birthday celebrations – John W.G. Lund, CBE, FRSWe were delighted to be able to celebrate the 100th birthday of John Lund on 27November - a true milestone for a true legend in freshwater biology. Formerly astaff member of the FBA, Honorary Curator of the Fritsch Collection, and HonoraryResearch Fellow, and a current Vice President of the FBA, his contribution tofreshwater science and to the FBA has been enormous, and we send him and hisfamily our very best wishes. (More about this in the spring issue of our members’newsletter, FBA News)This month’s articlesStreams show signs of degradation at earliest stages of urbandevelopmentA new study by the USGS has found that streams are more sensitive to urbandevelopment than previously thought. Based on an assessment of nine streamsacross the continental USA the team of researchers found that a 20 per centchange in land use can lead to significant changes in species composition.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115133704.htmSaving salmon from deadly sea liceA change in the time that captive salmon are treated for sea lice infections canhave significant benefits for wild species according to work published in thismonth’s Ecological Applications. By shifting treatments to autumn and winterresearchers were able to demonstrate that mortality of wild salmon fell from anestimate 90 per cent in the early 2000s to less than four per cent today.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115133531.htmThriving beaver population threatens Dutch flood banksA booming beaver population in the Netherlands is threatening the dykes thatprotect much of the country from flooding. Currently the 700 beavers found in thecountry perform an important ecological role. However, with predictions that thepopulation could reach 7000 in the next 30 years experts are looking at ways toreduce the damage they could cause.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20315417Crocodile jaws more sensitive than human fingertipsResearchers at Vanderbilt University in the US have found that special bumpsaround the mouths of crocodiles could make them more sensitive to stimuli thanhuman fingers. The bumps are believed to be the reason why the animals canreact so quickly when hunting.http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121108/crocodile-jaws-more-sensitive-human-fingertips-videoMixed fortunes for fens wildlifeThe first complete biodiversity assessment of the Fens has reported a mixedpicture for wildlife. Although the study found the area is home to around 25 percent of Britain’s rarest wildlife, it also found that 504 rare species have not been
seen in the last 25 years and that 100 species may have been lost altogether.http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/environment/study-reveals-mixed-fortunes-for-fens-wildlife-1-4447560River Welland project aims to lure back wildlifeA half a million pounds in funding has been provided by DEFRA’s catchmentrestoration fund to restore wildlife to the River Welland in Leicestershire. The poorstate of the river can be traced back to the 1960s when flood defence schemeswidened the river and removed many of the deep pools that fish and wildlife relyupon.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-20165065Infrared vision in a cichlid fishBiologists from the University of Bonn using a classical prey choice experimenthave found that the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus can see in the nearinfrared range. The researchers think that the ability to see these wavelengthsmay be important for hunting and mate choice.http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/uob-ivi102912.phpRiver Nith crayfish reports probedScottish Natural Heritage is carrying out surveys on the River Nith to see if theNorth American signal crayfish has become established following reports of itsdiscovery this month. The crayfish were first found in Scottish waters in 1995 andcan have a potentially devastating effect on other wildlife.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-20136865Archer fish spitting mystery solvedResearch published in PLoS ONE this month has solved the mystery of how archerfish can spit powerful jets of water that can hit prey up to two metres away.Rather than using specialised internal organs the fish use water dynamics tomodulate the velocity of the water jet.http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20068607Climate change may alter amphibian evolutionMany amphibians that live in tropical countries lay their eggs out of water inorder to protect them from predators. However, as rainfall patterns alter underclimate change this could lead to the loss of young. Now researchers from theSmithsonian have found that one species of frog may be altering its breedingbehaviour in order to adapt to this threat.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121025095539.htm Please forward this bulletin to any of your colleagues who may be interested!