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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. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GB005919

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.

domingo, 24 de junio de 2018

Plants to restore river health


Riparian management to improve river quality: new research by AIL member Cayetano Gutierrez-Cánovas


Version in Spanish and Portuguese


Safeguarding the vegetation occurring in banks and margins of streams and rivers has a key role in ensuring aspects of river health. 


That’s the major conclusion from a new international study just published in Water Research
Protecting, planting and restoring native plants and their habitats alongside rivers provides food for aquatic organisms and prevents high temperatures in the fight against global warming.  Bankside ‘riparian zones’ can also prevent some of the pressures on rivers that arise from activities in their wider catchment – such as farming – but not always.

Healthy riparian vegetation in a  Alcolobre river (Tagus Basin, Portugal)

Impacted riparian vegetation in Segura River (SE Spain)


Rivers provide critical human resources, such as clean water, food and recreation, but are threatened increasingly by pollution, physical modification and over-exploitation.  While international efforts, such as the EU Water Framework Directive, aim at evaluating and restoring river health to protect biodiversity and peoplethey are not always effective in reversing damage.  A key need has been to evaluate why, and to find the options that work best under different circumstances.     

An international team of researchers within the EU MARS project addressed this need by reviewing available scientific literature, asking which vegetation types were linked to successful restoration. They also evaluated how riparian management reduced impacts from nutrients, sediments and high temperatures, and whether biological quality could be improved.

While riparian revegetation had limited effects on nutrients, sediments and biological quality, woody riparian vegetation consistently increased leaf-litter inputs to rivers (a key food source), also improving habitat quality in the form of woody debris and reduced water temperature. Positive effects were greatest where riparian management took place in the upper parts of rivers – where proportionately more river flow is affected by the riparian zone. 

Leader of the study, Dr Christian Feld (University of Duisburg-Essen) said “Land management such as farming or forestry are essential for the World - but can damage rivers downstream. We therefore need ways to reduce the unwanted effects, and management of the riparian zone has long been proposed as a cost-effective and local solution. Our evidence show that riparian restoration can be effective in offsetting some problems, but not all. Bigger-scale problems such as pollution from agricultural chemicals or sediments will need bigger-scale solutions applied through improving the management of whole river catchments".

C.K. Feld, M.R.P. Fernandes, M. T. Ferreira, D. Hering, S.J. Ormerod, M. Venohr, C. Gutiérrez-Cánovas. Evaluating riparian solutions to multiple stressor problems in river ecosystems A conceptual studyWater Research139, 381-394.

martes, 20 de marzo de 2018

UrbanAlgae collaborative project

Our very own Sonia Herrero, member of the Young AIL, is CO-PI of the URBAN ALGAE PROJECT, 2nd Collaborative European Freshwater Science Project for Young Researchers ("FreshProject")


We are very pleased to inform you that Urban algae was selected the 2nd Collaborative European Freshwater Science Project for Young Researchers ("FreshProject"), a joint initiative by the European Federation of Freshwater Sciences (EFFS) board, the European Fresh and Young Researchers (EFYR) and representatives of the Fresh Blood for Fresh Water (FBFW) meetings.

We are now looking for young freshwater scientists (with both natural and social backgrounds) to form teams (minimum two persons) and to join our Europe-wide study. The objective of this study is to assess the ecological status of urban ponds and their ecosystem services together with the citizen´s perceptions.

Interested young researchers can find more information in the attachment. In order to participate in the project, please fill in the online questionnaire. The application is open until April 23rd, midnight GMT, 2018.

We are also open to external collaborations through the Urban algae network. Please contact us with your ideas!

Please forward this call and the questionnaire to any of your colleagues who might be interested.

Follow us in twitter to keep updated on latest project´s news!

Fresh regards, 
the Urban algae team