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Banks Online. McBride Online. Read The Familiar Past? Cooper PDF Online. It is widely agreed that goals set by parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity CBD to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by were not met Butchart et al. It would be hard to know if they were, since an evaluation of the state of freshwater biodiversity monitoring networks Revenga et al.

One important finding was that existing data on freshwater species and populations were not readily accessible or harmonised in a way that they could be used to inform management decisions Revenga et al. Freshwater fishes and water birds were by far the best studied groups, although there were considerable regional differences in completeness of data coverage. By contrast, aquatic plants, freshwater insects, molluscs and crustaceans were poorly known or not assessed in most regions and especially in the tropics Balian et al.

Nonetheless, even in there were some well-established regional and continental assessments of freshwater biota Revenga et al. A global system of freshwater ecoregions has been completed Abell et al. To address the past under-representation of biodiversity targets in the Millennium Development Goals, their sequel, the Sustainable Development Goals, now more explicitly include targets that are based on the CBD targets. Importantly, there have also been improvements in access to freshwater biodiversity data which we describe below.

Ready access to freshwater biodiversity data and information from all parts of the world is fundamental for the success of freshwater biodiversity observation programs and systems at global, national, regional or local scales. There has been significant progress in this regard during recent years. The Freshwater Information Platform is an open body and additional global or continental organisations are welcome to join.

As its name suggests, the Atlas includes a collection of published and open-access freshwater biodiversity maps as well as maps developed by different organisations from open-access data.

A Practitioner's Guide to Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation

The dynamic maps are accompanied by short articles explaining the maps, including background information and links to publications and data sources related to the specific maps. Contact points of the sources of maps are also provided to ease the access to data and additional information by users. The atlas provides stakeholders at the science-policy interface, the public and scientists interested in future conservation and sustainable management, with comprehensive information about freshwater biodiversity and its drivers and stressors.

It allows those working in freshwater biodiversity to feature their results and make their research outputs visible to the broader community. Despite such initiatives, much freshwater biodiversity data remain difficult to access. There is a large number of smaller datasets or individual observations of occurrence data that are not integrated into public repositories even though these data may have been used in scientific papers.

Together with editors of leading freshwater journals, BioFresh led a call to make such data available in a standardised format De Wever et al. Adoption of data publishing practices as part of a mandatory archiving policy may well be required to effect changes in data management practices.

This could allow the automation of the data publishing process while allowing authors to retain full control of that data. This baseline is an essential first step for tracking changes in relation to the CBD targets. Considering the challenges of assessing the status of a sufficiently large proportion of freshwater species, Revenga et al. Despite the expansion of monitoring programs focussed on river and lake conditions and the improvement in remote sensing technology for tracking wetland extent, a global assessment of the condition and extent of freshwater ecosystems is yet to be completed.

Biodiversity observation networks can contribute to addressing these challenges by helping to coordinate data collection across large areas. The plan represents an agreement among the Arctic nations on the approach to be taken to monitor and assess freshwater biodiversity across the pan-Arctic region. This program is coordinating the efforts of the Arctic countries as they inventory and collect freshwater monitoring data with the goal of producing the first status and trends assessment of Arctic freshwater biodiversity, which is planned for completion in The initial assessment will evaluate spatial and temporal trends from contemporary and historical time periods, where data allow, which means that by the end of this decade there should be sufficient time-series data to report on changes towards the CBD targets for the Arctic region.

Nicole Silk (Editor of A Practitioner's Guide to Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation)

Furthermore, planned periodic re-assessments will continue to inform management decisions beyond In many other regions of the world there are comparable programs albeit mostly at much smaller spatial scales involving the collection of freshwater biodiversity data in a standardised way at least for each individual site and often for a group of sites.

One recent example is the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, a collaborative effort of over 50 organisations working across the Northeast U. The initiative has at its core the implementation of standardised monitoring protocols to assess its impact on water quality see www. Although freshwater species and population data are not being collected in the service of assessing biodiversity per se, the data are being housed in an open-access database and may prove useful for evaluating species trends in the basin over time.

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In general, the data collection protocols of such basin-scale efforts are tailored to the specific goals of individual programs or research efforts, creating challenges for directly combining the primary data for global or regional assessments. It may, however, be possible to use these primary data to quantify essential biodiversity variables representing main components of freshwater biodiversity e. Contributors assessed the spatial and temporal coverage of available monitoring data and identified important elements, including environmental stressors, indicators, and Focal Ecosystem Components FECs to be incorporated into the pan-Arctic Freshwater Plan.

FECs are biotic or abiotic elements, such as taxa or key abiotic processes, which are ecologically pivotal, charismatic or sensitive to changes in biodiversity. Preliminary information on the spatial and temporal coverage of available freshwater monitoring data for FECs was summarised to identify high-quality data sets that will form the basis for the first report on status and trends in freshwater biodiversity in the Arctic, which is planned for completion in This report will evaluate trends in existing data and identify gaps in monitoring efforts and scientific knowledge of Arctic freshwaters.

It will also provide recommendations and guidance for more effective monitoring activities that are coordinated and stressor-targeted. By establishing common approaches for monitoring and assessment, the CBMP-Freshwater Plan and the first status and trends report are intended to improve our ability to detect changes to biodiversity and evaluate stressor impacts on a circumpolar scale, thus facilitating more effective management of these systems.

Biological monitoring of fresh or inland waters is developing rapidly. TXT ; see, for example, review by Friberg et al. We stress, however, that some widely-used indicators for the condition of freshwater ecosystems e. In situ observations of freshwater biodiversity provide information about species or biological communities at discrete locations within a freshwater body e. The use of these observations to infer the status of biodiversity across any large area at a given point in time requires aggregating disparate observations according to relationships between geography and the physical environment on the one hand and geography and freshwater biodiversity on the other.

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These relationships can also indicate how monitoring efforts can be distributed most efficiently across any given region. Two recent developments provide a foundation for formulating and applying such relationships at regional to global scales. The first of these as mentioned in Sect. FEOW was developed based on freshwater biogeography, defined broadly to include the influences of phylogenetic history, palaeogeography, and ecology.

FEOW development used fish species as proxies for the distinctiveness of biotic assemblages, with a few exceptions for extremely data-poor regions and inland seas, where some invertebrates and brackish-water fish were considered, respectively. FEOW offers a framework for development of broad-scale conservation strategies and represents a global-scale knowledge base with the potential for increasing freshwater biogeographic literacy, but it does not provide species occurrence data at a level of resolution that is especially useful for monitoring change over time Abell et al. The second important development is the availability of databases and tools such as HydroBASINS Lehner and Grill , the most accurate, globally consistent, digital catchment dataset currently available.

It provides rapid access to reliable information about drainage basins, globally, at twelve levels of spatial resolution, and includes information on network connectivity. Such landscape units are probably better suited to mapping patterns of biodiversity across broad regions than the uniform, arbitrarily-scaled typically square grids used to map patterns of terrestrial or marine biodiversity. These drainage units also have great potential for planning freshwater conservation initiatives and identifying inland water areas for protection e.

As a result, gene flow is limited and populations of the same species may vary considerably in their genetic composition.

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This variability has particular applications to the management of freshwater fisheries where loss of genetic variants may have major consequences for ecosystem service provision. Knowledge of inter-population genetic variability can also assist in deciding which populations should be priorities for conservation action, and may be important for assessing risks from invasive species. Recent advances in high-speed environmental DNA technology see Taberlet et al. DNA extracted from water samples can be used to determine the genetic diversity of the community organisms that were present in that waterbody within up to two weeks before sample collection see Thomsen et al.

The molecular markers used are usually fragments of the mitochondrial CO1 gene micro-barcodes , 16s, 18s or 18sV4 rDNA fragments. The CO1 gene was selected for barcoding because of its utility in species identification, but it also shows inter-population polymorphism and is used to identify genetic variants in commercial fish species Ardura et al.

Environmental DNA methods offer possibilities for monitoring metagenomes i. It also offers new possibilities in freshwater biodiversity monitoring such as obtaining direct measures of the species diversity though not, at present, species abundances of individual water bodies including the diversity of microorganisms; enhancing the detection of cryptic, rare or endangered species without having to physically capture individuals; and early detection of invasive species at the expansion front.

Nevertheless, this technology is still in its infancy; it would thus be pertinent to caution against over-reliance on it until issues around its sensitivity are resolved Iversen et al.

Conservation Science

The information available on the distribution, population sizes and population structure of freshwater species has greatly improved in recent years, allowing a general enhancement of regional, national, and global biodiversity observation networks. The raw data provided by the experts who undertook the initial FADA is accessible through an online database www. Despite many obvious taxonomic and geographic gaps, and hence a need to collect more data Balian et al.

In particular, the disproportionate richness of global freshwaters is striking: the total number of freshwater animal species was estimated at , species, representing 9. Insects make up the majority The total global number of fish species is presently estimated at 33, Eschmeyer and Fong , based on estimates from Reid et al. The Freshwater Biodiversity Unit of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN has been leading the development of a global assessment of the distribution and conservation status of freshwater organisms Carrizo et al.

These assessments bring together the most updated taxonomy and the extensive knowledge from thousands of regional experts. Assessments undertaken thus far have focused on fishes, molluscs mainly unionid bivalves , decapods crabs, crayfish and shrimps , Odonata dragonflies and damselflies , and selected plant families Carrizo et al. These taxonomic groups encompass a range of biogeographic distributions, habitat preferences and feeding habits, thereby offering a representative view of the ecology and conservation status of freshwater ecosystems.

In addition, many of the assessed taxa are good indicators for environmental health in freshwater systems. Importantly, the IUCN assessments of species are based upon the most comprehensive and accurate information available, involving collation of data on taxonomic status, ecology, distribution, spatial and temporal trends in abundance, as well as the threats they face, their use by humans and conservation measures in place to protect them. Because these data are available at basin or sub-catchment units, they can be combined with information on population, land use and other types of data that are used for water resource management.

Modelling techniques that allow mapping of suitable habitats for individual species are increasingly being applied to freshwater species e. These models use species occurrence data together with digital data on environmental layers to help predict where species might occur, allowing targeted in situ observations or monitoring of species of particular interest or of conservation concern. If climatic variables are included among the environmental data, these models offer the potential to coarsely predict how species distributions may shift in response to global climate change e.

Species traits have widely been used to characterise freshwater assemblages or communities, and may include aspects of morphology, function, physiology, behaviour, habitat use, reproduction and life history. Commonly documented traits include: trophic ecology or functional feeding groups ; oxygen or nutrient requirements; thermal range, or tolerance to pollutants, acidity, desiccation, turbidity, etc. However, such trait-specific data are still lacking for many taxa and in most parts of the world, and fundamental facts about even the basic ecology of many common species are lacking, especially in the tropics.

Information on the composition of freshwater assemblages has been employed with some success to assess the condition of freshwater ecosystems, and statements about desirable composition of freshwater biota have been integrated into environmental legislation in countries in Europe and elsewhere Friberg et al.