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

 

Aerial view of geo-engineering applications of a modified zeolite product called Aqual-P at Lake Okaro, New Zealand.
Assessing geo-engineering approaches
table of chemical risk ranking
Identifying the single most dangerous chemical present in UK surface waters
Endocrine map - Rivers
Professor Andrew Johnson talks about chemicals and the environment
Wast Water, photo by Alan Lawlor
National hub for lakes information
eLTER H2020 project logo
Integrated European Long-Term Ecosystem & Socio-Ecological Research Infrastructure
Collecting fish samples
Enabling assessment of chemical contamination in rivers

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