Freshwater ecology is the study of the relationship between freshwater organisms and their environment. This includes the study of streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, reservoirs and some wetlands.

Freshwater ecosystems provide us with many valuable services. They purify our drinking water, supply irrigation for agriculture, recycle nutrients, help stem the severity of floods and droughts and support fisheries and recreation. They face many threats, however, including:

  • pollution from pesticides and fertilizers
  • climate change
  • habitat loss
  • drainage
  • invasive species
  • dam construction
  • over-use of water

To sustain good water quality and ecological health demands wide-ranging, intensive research on how freshwaters respond to these threats and how they improve in relation to management and restoration measures.

CEH work on freshwater ecology

Projects

CEH carries out freshwater ecology research at all its sites, conducting pioneering research on the ecological functioning of lake and river ecosystems. Long-term monitoring is an important component with flagship freshwater observatories across the UK.

We also undertake research at national, European and international scales, often in inter-disciplinary collaborations with CEH colleagues, universities, government agencies and industry. Examples include:

Monitoring sites

Research Facilities

Contacts

Edinburgh (Laurence Carvalho)

Lancaster (Stephen Maberly)

Wallingford (Francois Edwards)

Watch a stunning video of some freshwater organisms sampled during CEH's lake monitoring programme

 

Ed Tipping
Professor Ed Tipping praised for influencing and inspiring the work of environmental scientists around the world over the past 39 years
MARS project
International eConference to address the future of water management in Europe under the next phase of the Water Framework Directive (WFD)
River in Wroclaw, Poland
Reviewing implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive
Professor Alan Gray
British Ecological Society Award made to CEH Fellow Professor Alan Gray in recognition of exceptional voluntary service to the Society and its community
iLEAPS
Theme for 5th Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study (iLEAPS) to focus on understanding the impact of land-atmosphere exchanges

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