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Freshwater Matters from the FBA March 2013

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  1. 1. March 2013 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 What’s happening at the FBA? This month’s articles Top predators have sway over climate Environmental factors determine whether immigrants are accepted by cooperatively breeding animals Extreme winters impact fish negatively Amazon freshwater ecosystems are vulnerable to degradation Something fishy going on… Antidepressants make perch antisocial WISER methods to assess ecological recovery of European water bodies highlighted in special journal issue Busy beavers give Canada geese a lift Sockeye salmon ‘sense magnetic field of home’ Deadly Topmouth Gudgeon removed from Millennium Coastal Park lakes Monster goldfish found in Lake Tahoe What’s happening at the FBA? Job opportunity The FBA, in partnership with the University of Cumbria and Sellafield Ltd. is offering an exciting opportunity for a graduate (who has graduated at any level within the last 5 years) wanting to develop skills and experience in freshwater bioremediation. Funding has just been granted for this position and application information will be available on the FBA website over the next couple of weeks ( Environment Agency Archives Project The Data and Information Services Team is busy digitising valuable reports from the Environment Agency. They include mainly fisheries and other surveys from the EA North West Region but cover also other Regions and general topics. Have a look here at the growing number of documents, all available Open Access:,_ UK_=28Freshwater_Biological_Association=29.html FBA Oral History Project The FBA is looking forward to starting an interesting new project called ‘Clear Waters - an oral history of people’s understanding of change in the Lake District’. The project (which will officially kick off in April) will explore the living history of the lakes of Cumbria and the changes they have gone through over the past 50/60 years. For more information see project. Learning for Lakes Project visit On the 19th of February, a delegation of managers and scientists from throughout Europe visited the FBA at Windermere as part of the EU funded “Learning for Lakes” project. The FBA promoted its partnership work with a number of talks that included practical demonstrations and tour of the facilities. Topics included; freshwater pearl mussel conservation, restore the shore (rehabilitating Windermere’s reed beds), oral history (new FBA project), and the role of the general public in environmental monitoring. Training update Our 2013 season of training courses starts this month, kicking off with a two-day course on identifying freshwater invertebrates, on 20-21 March at our Windermere site. With expert tuition by the FBA Director, Dr Mike Dobson, the course will involve the collection and identification of aquatic invertebrates from both running
  2. 2. and still water habitats, and will feature sampling methods, bankside sortingand lab-based identification. Places are still available - for more informationand to book a place, please contact us at For a full courseprogramme and downloadable booking form, please visit well as the courses listed in our course programme, we can also offer bespoketuition in some of the courses listed, where dates and venues can be flexible, aswell as courses on other topics, tailored to your needs. Alternatively, if you arelooking for a venue for your own course(s), our training and conference facilitiesare also available for hire. Sited on the shore of Windermere and the River Fromein Dorset, with a conference room at both locations and a training laboratoryat Windermere, our sites make inspiring venues for freshwater events, fromuniversity field courses to professional workshops. If you would like to find outmore, please contact us at month’s articlesTop predators have sway over climateThe removal of predators at the top of the food chain can lead to freshwaterecosystems releasing a lot more carbon dioxide according to research in NatureGeoscience. Using three experimental ponds scientists from the University ofBritish Columbia found that removal of predators led to 93% more carbon dioxidebeing released into the atmosphere compared to ponds that retained theirpredators. factors determine whether immigrants are accepted bycooperatively breeding animalsResearch published in this month’s Proceedings of the Royal Society B show thatcichlid fish are more likely to accept immigrants into their group when there isa threat from predators. The research was carried out on a cichlid from LakeTanganyika that lives in groups with a dominant breeding pair and several helperfish that assist with raising the offspring. winters impact fish negatively.Research published in Bioscience this month has found that fish can be negativelyimpacted by extreme winter conditions if their habitat does not provide themwith refuges to escape from the most adverse conditions. Studying the impact ofice break up on fish communities, the researchers found that rivers impacted byhydro power were particularly difficult for fish to survive in due to rapid changes inthe flow that prevent them escaping to deeper water in time. freshwater ecosystems are vulnerable to degradationFreshwater ecosystems in the Amazon region are highly vulnerable to degradationfrom deforestation, pollution, dam construction and over-harvesting according toa study published in Conservation Letters. This degradation is a major cause forconcern not only for the habitat, but also as people within the region are highlydependent on the associated ecosystem services. fishy going on… Antidepressants make perch antisocialScientists in Sweden have found that drugs used to treat anxiety and depressionare affecting the behaviour of fish species even at small concentrations. In a studyexamining the European perch (Perca fluviatilis) the researchers found that fishexposed to the drugs were less sociable, bolder and ate faster than fish that werenot exposed.
  3. 3. WISER methods to assess ecological recovery of European water bodieshighlighted in special journal issueThis month saw the publication of a special issue of the journal Hydrobiologia thatbrought together key outputs from the EU’s WISER project, which examined waysof improving assessment methods for European water bodies. beavers give Canada geese a liftThe presence of beaver ponds has been found to increase the breeding successof Canada geese returning to Alberta, Canada after their winter migration. Theactivity of the beavers results in an earlier thawing of the snowpack allowingthe geese to get a head start with nesting, therefore increasing their chance ofbreeding success. salmon ‘sense magnetic field of home’Data published this month in Current Biology provide the first direct evidence thatsalmon use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate across oceans and return totheir home rivers to breed. Using 55 years of data from the Fraser River in BritishColumbia researchers have shown that the migration route of sockeye salmonmatches the intensity of the geomagnetic field. Topmouth Gudgeon removed from Millennium Coastal Park lakesWork to remove an invasive fish species from an area of Wales has entered itssecond phase this month as members of the Environment Agency began draininglakes to rescue native fish species. Following this the EA will apply chemicals toeradicate one of the 23 populations of topmouth gudgeon found in England andWales. Not only do the fish out-compete native species, but they also harbour adisease that can kill salmon and trout. goldfish found in Lake TahoeResearchers trawling Lake Tahoe for invasive species netted themselves quite asurprise when they caught a 1.5 ft, 4.2 pound goldfish. The fish was probablydumped in the lake by an aquarium owner, a common practice in the USA and onethat is having a toll on native wildlife. Please forward this bulletin to any of your colleagues who may be interested!