viernes, 4 de octubre de 2019

URBIFUN, the 3rd J-AIL collaborative project

How microbial biodiversity and ecosystem function change across a gradient of urbanization? 

This question will be addressed in the next 2 years by early-career scientists of the Iberian Association of Limnology. URBIFUN is the third collaborative project for and led by young limnologists.

Miriam Colls and Ferran Romero, from the Catalan Institute of Water Research (ICRA) and University of Girona, are the PIs of this competitive project funded by the Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL). URBIFUN aims to foster scientific collaboration among young limnologists and promote interdisciplinary synergies that led to new knowledge on stream ecology.

URBIFUN is looking for participants to join the project. Participate here

Project summary: More than half of the current global population lives in urban areas, and this figure is expected to increase in the near future. Urban areas are largely recognized as a source of stress for their surrounding water bodies, such as rivers and streams. Despite the acknowledged impact of urbanization on water bodies, there is still work to do in order to fully understand the impact of cities on river and stream ecosystems, particularly regarding the relationship between microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning. In URBIFUN, we will address this knowledge gap by relating a gradient of urban impact to the structure of the microbial community and the associated functioning in river sediments. To analyse the shifts that urban areas produce on the structure of the microbial community, we will use a high-throughput sequencing technique (i.e. MiSeq IlluminaTM). We will also analyse how changes in community composition translate into alterations in the ecosystem functioning in situ (i.e. community respiration and primary production). We expect to find shifts in microbial community composition with increasing urban pressure, leading to the identification of potential indicator taxa and community thresholds. We also expect that all these community changes will be reflected at the functional level, with urbanization leading to decreased production-respiration ratios.    

Links of interest:
- DOMIPEX (1st J-AIL collaborative project, 2013-2014)
- AGRYDOM (2n J-AIL collaborative project, 2016-2018)

viernes, 17 de mayo de 2019

New Book: Rios de Portugal. Comunidades, Processos e Alterações

Dear J-AIL,
It is with great satisfaction that we share with you all that our colleagues Maria João Feio and Verónica Ferreira (former J-AIL representative at the AIL council), just edited the book “Rios de Portugal. Comunidades, Processos e Alterações”. In 17 chapters, more than 60 Portuguese researchers present what is known about the rivers of Portugal, from their hydrology and sediments, through the various communities that inhabit them and the processes therein, to the alterations to which they are subjected, measures to assess its impacts and restoration, ending with a chapter on estuaries and another on hot springs.
The electronic version of the book is freely accessible at UCdigitalis ( Digital and printed versions can also be purchased via Amazon and Google Play.
Enjoy the reading!

domingo, 23 de diciembre de 2018

AIL Member Andrea Bravo is the 2019 ASLO Lindeman Award Recipient

Dear J-AIL members,

It is with great satisfaction that we share with you all that our colleague Andrea Bravo has been awarded by the ASLO RAYMOND L. LINDEMAN AWARD, honoring a young author for an outstanding peer-reviewed, English-language paper in the aquatic sciences for her paper Molecular composition of organic matter controls methylmercury formation in boreal lakes, published in Nature Communications in 2017. 

Quoting ASLO President Michael Pace "The paper by Andrea Bravo and colleagues demonstrates important contrasts in the rates of mercury methylation in lakes and thereby advances understanding of the formation and concentration of this highly toxic form of the metal". You can read here the award announcement. Andrea's work will be presented at the next ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Puerto Rico, February 2019.

Many congratulations, Andrea!

domingo, 2 de diciembre de 2018

Climate determines the role of rivers in carbon processing

We are glad to present the latest work of the DOMIPEX project, where they show that climate determines the role of rivers in the carbon cycle. The article, recently published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, in the study, the authors have found that climate conditions the ability of rivers to degrade organic matter and recycle the nutrients of water, one of the main ecosystem services of rivers.
You can find an entrance in Ecomandanga as well!

Rivers play a fundamental role in carbon cycling
Rivers and streams are fascinating elements of the landscape. They transport water and materials connecting the entire watershed, from the mountains to the sea. But rivers are not simple passive pipes. During the journey downstream, rivers transform the materials they transport, which can accumulate in aquatic organisms and sediments or become gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). One of the main materials that come from terrestrial ecosystems and reach rivers and streams is organic matter (for example, leaves and branches from the surrounding vegetation), rich in carbon, which serves as indispensable food for fluvial organisms, such as bacteria and fungi. Thus, the rivers, and especially the smaller streams, are very active systems where a multitude of biogeochemical reactions take place and with a great capacity for processing the organic matter that reaches them, which is why they play a key role in the cycle of carbon.

DOMIPEX: a collaborative project to study the role of headwater streams in the carbon cycle
In this study, researchers explore how rivers process dissolved organic matter along a broad biogeographical gradient, from the humid forests of southern Germany and Switzerland to the semi-arid areas of Murcia. To carry out a study of this kind, which covers such a wide geographical area simultaneously, we were fortunate to have the support of the first call for collaborative studies of the Iberian Limnology Association for young researchers.
Initially, the young researchers of the association who decided to get involved sampled 11 different rivers during two periods (summer and autumn 2014) using a common protocol. The experiment consisted of the addition of acetate, a compound similar to sugar, and nitrate to determine the rates of consumption of organic matter of the river by the microbial aquatic community. To measure the capacity of aquatic microbes to consume these compounds, they measured how the concentration of acetate and nitrate decreased after their experimental addition in the river. Thus, when the concentration of added acetate decreases rapidly, it indicates that microbes have a high capacity to degrade organic matter. Additionally, daily cycles of dissolved oxygen measurements were performed, which allowed to calculate the capacity of these rivers to produce (primary production) and consume organic matter (respiration), which together give us information on the ecosystem metabolism. Finally, the groups that participated in the project took water samples that were analyzed to identify the type of organic compounds dissolved in streams water, to see if there were differences between rivers in humid and arid zones.

The results of this work indicate that the differences in the type of organic matter and its processing in rivers depend on the biogeographic area where the river is located and its climate. In general, in rivers located in more rainy areas, the dissolved organic matter was composed of molecules of humic type, that is, long aromatic and colored molecules, such as lignin or cellulose, from plant material from the forests of the catchment.
The microbial organisms of rivers located in rainy areas seem to depend on this type of humic organic matter, as indicated by fluvial metabolism values. On the other hand, in the most southerly and arid rivers, with scarce rainfall, organic matter was mostly composed of smaller, protein-like molecules that have probably been produced upstream within the river itself by microbes, algae or macrophytes. This coincides with a higher primary production in these warmer rivers. At the same time, rivers process organic matter (acetate) very differently depending on the climate. Thus, the rivers of arid zones are able to consume much more acetate than the rivers of northern Europe, because in natural conditions, the rivers of more arid areas receive very little contributions of organic matter of terrestrial origin due to the lower presence of trees and organic matter in the soil.

This study has been a pioneer in determining the relationship between the type of dissolved organic matter, its process and the ecosystem metabolism in streams of different regions. In this way, we can better understand how rivers process the organic matter they receive from terrestrial ecosystems. This information is essential to highlight the key role that aquatic ecosystems have in the carbon cycle, and to predict the effects of global change on the functioning of ecosystems.

This work has been possible thanks to the illusion and the coordinated effort of a group of young researchers, who believe in the value of collaboration to face the challenges of global change, to which ecology, environmental sciences and society in general are currently facing.

Complete paper:
N. Catalán, J. P. Casas-Ruiz, M. I. Arce, M. Abril, A. G. Bravo , R. del Campo, E. Estévez, A. Freixa, P. Giménez-Grau, A. M. González-Ferreras , Ll. Gómez-Gener, A. Lupon, A. Martínez, C. Palacin-Lizarbe , S. Poblador, R. Rasines-Ladero, M. Reyes , T. Rodríguez-Castillo, P. Rodríguez-Lozano, I. Sanpera-Calbet, I. Tornero, and A. Pastor. 2018. Behind the Scenes: Mechanisms Regulating Climatic Patterns of Dissolved Organic Carbon Uptake in Headwater Streams. Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

martes, 3 de julio de 2018

Urban Algae at Limnologia 2018

We want to inform you that the Urban algae team has been completed. We are 97 young scientists across Europe motivated to collaborate among us with a common goal: Study the ecosystem services perception from society and the ecological status of urban ponds.
We are surprised of the highly motivation from the members of AIL, which represents the 34 % of the members.
During this year pond sampling and social survey will be performed, and you can get news from the project in our ResearchGate and twitter accounts. Soon a webpage too.
Also, Urban algae was presented at the AIL meeting hold recently in Coimbra. Our poster was presented by Sonia Herrero, but some members of UA contributed significantly in the discussions with the public. The project was well received by the poster visitors and by the conference´s attendees with whom we could exchange opinions and talk about UA and also about the importance of collaborative projects for young researchers. Creating networks from early stages of scientific career is vital to contribute to multidisciplinary and international research. During the AIL meeting, Urbanalgaers visiting the conference met for dinner. Was the first time some of us met! Some very interesting discussions about sampling procedures and definitions of urban ponds came up from this UA get together.
You can download the poster here

UA dinner at Coimbra. Photocredit: Miguel Cañedo.