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  1. 1. Freshwater MattersEditorialThis month’s editorial has been written by Dr Mike Dobson, Director of theFreshwater Biological Association,As you are probably aware, I will be stepping down as Director the FBA after sixyears in the post. I will be finishing on 15th May, and I am pleased to announcethat FBA Council has appointed as Acting Director John Davy-Bowker, Facilitiesand Research Manager at the River Laboratory in Dorset. John joined the FBAin 2009 after many years at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and, beforethat, at the Environment Agency. He brought to the FBA not only a recognisedexpertise in developing biological monitoring tools for fresh waters, but also avery practical hands-on approach to sorting out management of the FBA’s Dorsetestate: if you visit the site you will almost certainly see brickwork, lighting orcarpentry that was done by John himself. John has a passion for developing andextending the niche that the FBA is carving in applied ecological research, an areawhere there are still so many questions to be answered.John will occupy this role while the FBA undergoes a full review of requirementsfor the future. He will remain based at the River Laboratory, but will be makingfrequent visits to Windermere, where he will be ably assisted by the newlypromoted Officer in Charge, Dr Karen Rouen, who will continue also to lead theKnowledge Transfer activities of the FBA.I am sure you will join me and the other FBA staff and Honorary Research Fellowsin wishing Karen and John well in their new roles.What’s happening at the FBA?Clear Waters Oral History ProjectThe FBA has recently embarked on a year-long oral history project funded bythe Heritage Lottery Fund called ‘Clear Waters – an oral history of people’sunderstanding of fresh water’. Over the summer we will be interviewing formerstaff and members of the FBA, local anglers and sport fishermen and localpeople with an interest in wildlife and recreation. The aim is to discover people’sperceptions of the changes in the water bodies of the Lake District during the last50-60 years. We are seeking people to be interviewed and volunteers to conductinterviews, do transcriptions, photography and archive research. The informationMay 2013Freshwater Matters is a monthly electronic bulletin of the most recentfreshwater news from around the world, compiled by the Freshwater BiologicalAssociation (FBA). It includes updates of what is happening at the FBA and waysto get involved.ContentsEditorialWhat’s happening at the FBA?This month’s articlesConservation Group Lists 10 Most Endangered US RiversBeavers use their noses to assess their foesCranes make first nest in 400 years... with help from their human ‘mum’Measuring microbes makes wetland health monitoring more affordable, saysresearcherResearchers call for parasite to be monitored to protect UK freshwater fishPhilippine Freshwater CrocodilesPharmaceutical pollution wreaking havoc on aquatic wildlife in freshwater streamsInvasive Asian carp survive harsher conditions than expected: bad news forfreshwater riversContractors fined after pearl mussel population destroyed on River LyonManaging freshwater wisely
  2. 2. gathered will be made available to the public, through a website and an exhibitionwhich will tour Cumbria and will be shown in museums and other public places.For information on how to take part in the Clear Waters oral history project,please contact Faith Hillier, Project Officer at or ring 01539487720. Please also visit Training Courses 2013 UpdateJust a reminder that the FBA have a range of training courses running this springand summer. These include:• Entomology for anglers – Level 1 and Level 2• Identifying aquatic beetles• Identifying caddis• NEW FOR 2013! Identifying chironomid larvae• The Chironomid Pupal Exuvial Technique (CPET)We also have a number of courses running in the autumn, and there is a discountavailable for early bookings! These include: RIVPACS/RICT bioassessmenttraining; Freshwater fish: assessment of condition and ageing; Fish health,parasites and disease; and Invertebrate identification for biotic assessment(including examination).FBA members receive generous discounts on course fees. For more informationand to book a place, please contact us at or ring 01539442468. For a full course programme and downloadable booking form, please month’s articlesConservation Group Lists 10 Most Endangered US RiversA list of the ten most endangered rivers in the USA has been released this monthby the environmental group American Rivers. This year the annual list names theColorado River as the most threatened due to over-abstraction. As a result theriver now dries up before it even reaches the ocean. use their noses to assess their foesA study published this month in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology showsthat beavers use their noses when deciding whether to take on an opponentthreatening their territory. The smell of secretions from the beavers anal glandcontains a wealth of information about age and status allowing other beavers togauge the best response. make first nest in 400 years... with help from their human ‘mum’Cranes are nesting in southern England again for the first time since the EnglishCivil war in a success story for the Great Cranes Project. The project, set up fouryears ago, aimed to re-introduce a bird that was wiped out due to a mixture ofhunting and the loss of habitat. microbes makes wetland health monitoring more affordable,says researcherConventional assessments of wetland health often focus on the larger species.However, a study led by the University of Missouri has shown that monitoring themicrobial community is cheaper and faster than traditional assessments and couldlead to improvements in securing the provision of services such as water filtration. call for parasite to be monitored to protect UK freshwater fish
  3. 3. In a paper published this month in Conservation Ecology and EnvironmentalChange, researchers from Bournemouth University are calling on the EnvironmentAgency to require checks for the presence of the parasite Sphaerothecumdestruens (also known as The Rosette Agent) when fish are moved betweenlocations. The parasite has a 90% mortality rate in infected freshwater fish andcould be economically disastrous for the angling industry. Freshwater CrocodilesThirty six Philippine freshwater crocodiles were reintroduced into the wildthis month in an effort to bolster the population of the critically endangeredspecies. With only 250 individuals left in the wild the species is one of the mostendangered reptiles. pollution wreaking havoc on aquatic wildlife infreshwater streamsResearchers have found that chemicals commonly released into the environmentincluding antibiotics and caffeine are exerting a profound effect on biofilms infreshwater systems. As biofilms are a key food source for invertebrates the effectscould be drastically impacting the food web of rivers. Asian carp survive harsher conditions than expected: bad newsfor freshwater riversResearch published this month in Freshwater Biology has shown that invasiveAsian Carp in North America may be able to live and breed in areas previouslythought unsuitable. Previous information on habitat was based on the speciesnative distribution; however the new findings suggest that the species may bemore adaptable than previously thought. fined after pearl mussel population destroyed on River LyonTwo contractors that destroyed an internationally important population offreshwater pearl mussels on the River Lyon in Scotland have been fined £11,000.The damage to the river was so severe that it cost £1 million to make basicrepairs and it is thought that full recovery will not occur for hundreds of years. freshwater wiselyBiologists in Australia have developed a new approach to identifying major threatsto aquatic habitats in the drier parts of the country. Their approach, publishedin Global Change Biology, classifies aquatic habitats as either evolutionary orecological refuges. forward this bulletin to any of your colleagues who may beinterested!