Freshwater Matters
What’s happening at the FBA?
An Algal Update
In the last few months, thanks to volunteer Brenda Leese, ...
phytoplankton identification, CPET, macroinvertebrates to mixed taxon
level; introduction to macroinvertebrate identificat...
helping the conservation of a species that is in sharp decline. The scheme
is part of a bigger project that has seen local...
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Freshwater Matters September2013

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Freshwater Matters September2013

  1. 1. Freshwater Matters What’s happening at the FBA? An Algal Update In the last few months, thanks to volunteer Brenda Leese, we have checked and digitised all the sheets in the Fritsch Collection of Algal Illustrations for just one diatom genus and twelve closely related genera. That doesn’t sound much but there were 376 species and 725 sheets. In the genus Fragilaria we have 60% of the type figures and many original diagnoses; others are new combinations or new names and types maybe included elsewhere. Some sheets were corrected, mainly as incorrect authorities were given by later authors (carelessness followed by that old game of ‘Chinese whispers’!), or repaired (finding loose fragments in the file requires detective work!). This is a reminder that the use of algal names still requires care. We now have a system for digitizing any of the algal sheets instead of xerox copying and posting, so brief requests are welcome and there will be a small charge; please contact Dr Elizabeth Haworth, Fritsch Collection Curator (ehaworth@fba.org.uk). FBA Bespoke Training Courses Alongside our programmed courses (the 2014 course programme is currently being planned and should be out early Autumn), we can also offer flexible and tailored tuition to suit your aquatic training needs. Whether this be any of the types of training listed as part of our course programme, but at a time and venue to suit you, or in another subject entirely, we can design and deliver an appropriate course. Some of the subjects we can cover are: subterranean freshwater fauna; electron microscopy; fish health; fish scale ageing and interpretation; RIVPACS/RICT; September 2013 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 What’s happening at the FBA? This month’s articles Worst summer in two decades for salmon fishing Iraq creates first National Park Freshwater creatures less affected by dino-killing asteroid Endangered eels to be given special chutes into Windermere in bid to halt decline Smithsonian scientists use rare fossils to catch up to speedy snail evolution River health revealed in birds’ eggs Loss of marshland threatens rare bat species Ecosystems change long before species are lost Mountaintop mining pollution has distinct chemical signatures Testicle-Biting fish may be invading Denmark
  2. 2. phytoplankton identification, CPET, macroinvertebrates to mixed taxon level; introduction to macroinvertebrate identification and sampling methods (Derry); Diptera identification; introduction to common macrophytes and non- native aquatic plants; and data management and curation. We can also arrange a variety of other freshwater and generic-skills based training not listed here, so please contact us with your specific requirements. The FBA has sites in Dorset and Windermere or we can come to you, with dates and times arranged for your convenience. To discuss bespoke training options, please contact us: events@fba.org.uk; 01539 442468. Book now! There are a number of autumn courses in the 2013 programme, and there are currently still places available on the following: River InVertebrate Prediction And Classification System (RIVPACS)/River Invertebrate Classification Tool (RICT) bioassesment training (1-2 October); Freshwater fish: assessment of condition and ageing (15 October); Fish health, parasites and disease (16 October); and Invertebrate identification for biotic assessment (including examination) (22-24 October). Please contact us for further details or to book a place: events@fba.org.uk; 01539 442468. And finally...A big thank you to Louise We would like to say a big thank you to Louise for the work she has done on the newsletter over the past 7 years, and we wish her all the best for her maternity leave. This month’s articles Worst summer in two decades for salmon fishing The July heat wave has been bad news for anglers, with the Environment Agency reporting that nearly 50,000 fish have died due to plummeting oxygen levels as waters warm. The weather has also resulted in the temporary closure of many salmon fisheries as many fish remain in the estuaries rather than running upstream. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10226359/Worst-summer-in-two- decades-for-salmon-fishing.html Iraq creates first National Park Iraq’s Council of Ministers has approved the designation of the Mesopotamian Marshes as the country’s first National Park. In the 1990’s the marshes, which were once the third largest wetland in the world, were practically destroyed. However, since the downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, efforts have been ongoing to re-flood and restore the marshes to their former glory. http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/46275 Freshwater creatures less affected by dino-killing asteroid A study published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research— Biogeosciences suggests that freshwater creatures may have been at an advantage when the asteroid that wiped the dinosaurs out hit the earth 65 million years ago. Many freshwater creatures are adapted to freeze-thaw cycles and times of low oxygen and so were able to survive the period after the impact, leading to much lower extinction rates than were seen in other habitats. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/07/130723-chicxulub-asteroid- dinosaurs-freshwater-survival-extinction/ Endangered eels to be given special chutes into Windermere in bid to halt decline Bristly boards that help young eels negotiate barriers are being installed in the River Leven in an effort to help the eel population in Windermere recover, and
  3. 3. helping the conservation of a species that is in sharp decline. The scheme is part of a bigger project that has seen local children raise young eels in the classroom before releasing them back to the wild. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/endangered-eels-given-special- chutes-2152181 Smithsonian scientists use rare fossils to catch up to speedy snail evolution A study of snails in Lake Malawi sheds new light on why species may struggle to cope with environmental change. Scientists from the Smithsonian compared changes in present day freshwater snails with the same species in the fossil record. They found that despite rapidly changing conditions in the lake, there has been little change in the morphology of the species. http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=64393#.UhM4ZZJwpMU River health revealed in birds’ eggs River pollution remains a serious problem in the UK’s former industrial areas according to a study that examined chemicals in the eggs of Eurasian Dippers. The report, published in Environmental Science and Technology, found several types of pollutants, including some no longer produced, were at levels high enough to be damaging. http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/news/story.aspx?id=1506 Loss of marshland threatens rare bat species The loss of the UK’s marshlands is leading to a dramatic decline in the Grey Long- Eared Bat according to a report published by the Bat Conservation Trust. The trust warns that with as few as 1000 individuals left in the wild unless something is done to restore the habitats the species could be lost. http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/46303 Ecosystems change long before species are lost Using dragonflies and diving beetles, a study published this month in Nature Communications demonstrates that altering the population structure of species can have profound implications for the entire ecosystem. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130813134521.htm Mountaintop mining pollution has distinct chemical signatures Mountaintop mining activities have a distinct chemical signature that allows scientists to identify the source of pollution. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, demonstrated that it was possible to differentiate pollution from three mountaintop mines and so trace impacts back to the source providing a potential tool with which to enforce regulations. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815133604.htm Testicle-Biting fish may be invading Denmark The summer silly season is upon us, but swimmers in Denmark might be thinking twice before cooling off with a quick dip after a fisherman netted what is believed to be a South American Pacu. The fish has a powerful bite, usually used for crushing fruit and nuts falling from the forest canopy. However, in Papua New Guinea, where the species is invasive, the fish has a more fearsome reputation. http://news.yahoo.com/testicle-biting-fish-may-invading-denmark-165855557. html Please forward this bulletin to any of your colleagues who may be interested!

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