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RS02. Biogeochemical processes and greenhouse gas emissions in inland waters


Vast amounts of organic matter and nutrients are transformed during transport from soils to oceans. Those transformations shape the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems and define their interaction with the climate system, e.g. through the exchange of atmospheric greenhouse gases. This session aims to broadcast novel findings in a wide array of topics: terrestrial-aquatic biogeochemical linkages, aquatic carbon and nutrient cycling and export to the sea and greenhouse gases fluxes and sources. The goal of the session is to foster interactions between researchers from contrasting disciplines, studying different cycles or using diverse approaches and scales that help to better assess the impacts of climate-induced changes on aquatic biogeochemical cycles.

RS03. Microbial ecology in freshwaters


Microbial assemblages not only are selected by the environment, but also change the environmental conditions in an interplay of metabolic capabilities.  This session aims to cover all aspects of the ecology of microrganisms and the role they play in aquatic environments, and would include also the advances in the metodological approaches for such kinds of studies.

RS04. Addressing freshwater biodiversity decline


Freshwaters are considered to be experiencing biodiversity loss at unprecedented rates but relatively few studies to date have documented the loss. This session will feature papers dealing with research reporting on aquatic biodiversity decline, knowledge gaps and how best to address them, new methodologies and indicators to detect/monitor/quantify declines as well as research on protection and restoration of  freshwater biodiversity.

RS05. Small water bodies


This session presents research on the characteristics, functioning and contribution to local and catchment-wide biodiversity of small water bodies. These include naturally created and man-made standing and running small water bodies such as small streams, ditches, ponds, small lakes, springs and flushes.  Challenges related to the filling of knowledge gaps and monitoring options and methodologies are included. Papers dealing with the management of small water bodies are welcome especially in the context of integrated catchment management.


RS06. Advancing our understanding of freshwater ecosystems with molecular approaches


Globally, freshwater systems are among the most threatened with respect to loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. In recent years, rapid development of genomic molecular tools has led to an unprecedented opportunity to gain insight into the biodiversity which inhabit these important systems, such as: population structure, species-specific adaptations, community composition and ecosystem function. This session will focus on advancement in our understanding of freshwater biodiversity with molecular approaches (such as environmental DNA, metabarcoding, omics and comparative genomics) and we particularly invite talks with real-world application of molecular methods which aid conservation and protection of the biodiversity within these systems.


RS07. Freshwater quality: research to support progress towards zero pollution targets


Water quality issues continue to degrade freshwater ecosystems around the world. This session investigates the challenges posed by major freshwater pollutant pressures including eutrophication, organic pollution, and toxic compounds including plastics, as well as solutions that promote their sustainable management. In particular, this session explores progress towards the achievement of zero-pollution targets, in line with the ambitious EU vision that aims to reduce pollution to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems by 2050.


RS08. The past is the key to the future: the role of palaeoecology in understanding and managing fresh waters


Palaeoecology has progressed rapidly as a science in the last few decades from one typically associated with long-term reconstructions of the environment based on one or two proxies to a much more diverse discipline. The new palaeoecological approaches complement contemporary ecological studies and employ a wide range of physical, chemical and biological indicators to assess local and regional changes of freshwater ecosystems and in turn to inform their conservation and management. This session invites contributions from across the full spectrum of palaeoecology as applied to fresh waters and especially encourages papers that showcase the role of palaeoecology in freshwater management and conservation.


RS10. Biomonitoring


The assessment of freshwater environments using biological communities has been a useful tool for over century, enabling early detection of environmental stressors and thus timely action by national monitoring agencies. However, the development and application of effective biomonitoring approaches can often be complex due to the dynamic nature of freshwater systems, in which multiple stressors typically interact to influence ecosystem health. This session will focus on the use of both structural and functional communities in novel and emerging biomonitoring approaches designed to enable effective health assessments in freshwater ecosystems adapting to global change.


RS11. Restoration, conservation and management of freshwater systems

With the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and its key element, the new nature restoration law, freshwater restoration, conservation and sustainable management will hopefully gain further importance in research and policy contexts. This session will focus on current developments related to systematic restoration, conservation and management approaches from the local to the catchment to the continental scale, practical applications including nature-based solutions, and discussing knowledge gaps and potential future research avenues.


RS12. Advances in environmental flow science and practice


Accelerating the design and implementation of environmental flows (e-flows) is a management and policy priority to curb the decline of freshwater biodiversity and the associated benefits to people. At the same time, increasing the effectiveness of future e-flow implementations requires continued development of their scientific foundation, better inclusion of uncertainties due to global change, and more meaningful engagement of diverse stakeholders. This session aims to showcase research from all perspectives on environmental flows and levels, from the stream reach to the global scale, and from innovative case studies of e-flow implementation to advances in e-flow frameworks for sustaining human cultures.


RS13. Climate change and freshwaters: challenges and solutions


Climate change is having profound impacts on freshwaters, with rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns leading to shifts in hydrology, water quality, and the distribution and abundance of aquatic species. This session will discuss research on climate change impacts on aquatic ecosystems, including consequences for water availability, water quality or extreme events (e.g., heat). Contributions on strategies for managing freshwaters in the face of climate change, including the use of adaptive management and integrated watershed management approaches are also welcome!


RS15. Ecological interactions in freshwater environments


Research on ecological interactions in freshwaters has typically focused on food webs due to their important role in determining the structure and function of these ecosystems. There are, however, also a range of other positive and negative interactions occurring in freshwater systems, e.g., parasitism, symbioses, competition, to name just a few. This session is a space to talk about ecological interactions in all their forms and how they can affect the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems.


RS17. Science dissemination/communication & education


Freshwater ecosystems are degrading at alarming rates, leading to a biodiversity crisis and posing risks to food and water security. Thus, there is an urgent need to raise social awareness that can promote management and political actions. Within this context, communicating science is essential to make the challenges that freshwater ecosystems face visible and promote societal transformation. For a long time, scientists have paid little attention to communicating their results to broad audiences. However, science communication is becoming increasingly important (e.g. it is often valued by selection committees) and easy (social media, new data visualization tools, etc.). In this session, we aim at debating science communication and education, exploring the existing barriers and opportunities.


RS20. Aquatic terrestrial linkages


The aquatic-terrestrial ecotone, being an integral part of both landscapes and riverscapes as documented in many scientific studies, is more than ever under enormous pressure with respect to its structural and functional properties. Especially the typical and often not predictable event-related as well as seasonal hydrologic dynamics may be seriously altered by human activities and ongoing climate change, thus interfering with structures and processes and hence ecosystem services provided by this specific environment. Can we deduce promising conservation and management strategies from growing knowledge? We invite contributions highlighting the significance of flow dynamics on these aquatic-terrestrial linkages either from natural observations, field or laboratory experiments, including molecular approaches as novel tools. Other key aspects defining the ecotone characteristics which might play a role, e.g., focusing on standing water bodies, are welcome as well.


RS21. Wetland ecology and management


This session addresses a variety of issues related to fragile wetland ecosystems – from biodiversity and environmental parameters that determine distribution of taxa and habitats, through functional relations, up to the monitoring and management. The idea is to point to complexity, to provide new data and approaches to research, summarize the state of related ecosystems, but also to offer methodologies and point to necessity of their conservation.


RS23. Ditching misconceptions: the ecological diversity of artificial waterbodies


Artificial waterbodies are widespread and support diverse ecological communities and a range of biochemical processes. However, these characteristics are often undervalued and thus understudied relative to similar processes and communities in natural and semi-natural waterbodies. This session will showcase the full range of biochemical and ecological research conducted in artificial waterbodies, and aims to promote discussions around maximising the value of artificial waterbodies for mitigating the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss that are predicted to manifest in the coming decades.


SS01. Mechanisms underlying responses to multiple stressors


Prof. Dr. Bernd Sures, University of Duisburg Essen

Prof. Dr.  Daniel Hering, University of Duisburg Essen

Prof. Dr.  Ralf Schäfer, University of Koblenz-Landau


The effects of multiple stressors on freshwater biota have been in the focus of research since a few decades. However, the mechanisms underlying multiple stressor effects and the recovery trajectories from multiple stressors remain poorly understood. Our session aims at unravelling these mechanisms, thereby fostering our capacity for prediction. We particularly welcome contributions targeting the mechanistic understanding of multiple stressor effects, e.g. on direct / indirect effects, on the role of dispersal or of biotic interactions for recovery from multiple stress and on a comparison of stressor tolerances between laboratory and field studies. Contributions resulting from field studies, mesocosm experiments, or modelling approaches for all components of the stream food web are welcome.


SS02. Monitoring, managing and protecting/restoring freshwaters – the role and power of citizen science


Dr Bill Brierley, Freshwater Biological Association, UK

Ms Rebecca Lewis, Buglife, UK

Dr Laurance Carvalho, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway


Public interest and concerns about the health of our freshwaters has led to the development of many varied citizen science programmes around the world. These initiatives bring together members of the public (especially young people and ECRs), researchers, water managers/regulators and policy makers in new inclusive ways. This is leading to new types of evidence and ways of thinking on how freshwater ecosystems are managed and protected. This is all happening at a time when many established water monitoring programmes are being reduced or are under threat due to reduced finances. It also presents an opportunity to address gaps in current monitoring programmes (e.g. small water bodies), both spatially and temporally.

Both national and international initiatives are proliferating and there are some key issues that need to be developed in an inclusive way between citizen scientists, researchers, regulators and managers to identify best practice covering method development and training, monitoring (e.g. where citizen science should be targeted), data and information sharing and reporting and how we develop this into the evidence required for sound decision making in freshwater management.


SS03. Conservation of Anadramous Fish in a Changing World


Dr Jack Bloomer, Tyne Rivers Trust

Dr Colin Bull, Atlantic Salmon Trust


Anadramous fish have been negatively affected by changing land-use patterns for centuries and, increasingly, a warming climate in freshwater and marine systems. While conservation efforts to address these issues are widespread, they are often implemented based on relatively poor knowledge of their potential to influence lifetime survival prospects. Here we discuss the challenges facing anadramous fish in freshwater and ocean-going phases and propose a new management decision support framework that integrates mechanistic understanding from across the salmon life cycle. This empowers river and catchment managers to deliver actions with the greatest benefit for anadramous fish and many other freshwater species.


SS04. Soundscape studies in ponds, lakes and rivers


Mr David de la Haye, Newcastle University. Music Technician and PhD candidate.

Prof. Carl Sayer, Geography at UCL. Pond Restoration Research Group.

Dr Jack Greenhalgh, University of Bristol. Soundscape ecologist.


Listening to underwater soundscapes of ponds, lakes, and rivers reveals much about the biodiversity hidden beneath the surface. Ongoing research into the acoustic ecology of freshwater habitats continues to captivate listeners with a bewildering array of sounds produced by invertebrates, amphibians, and aquatic plants. This session will explore this frontier sonic research, and how the listening process itself can be used to make sense of species richness in an accessible way. It will also promote the use of hydrophones not only for acoustic documentation but also to inspire stronger cultural connection to water through artistic practice.


SS05. Freshwater Macroecology research and perspectives


Researcher Gonçalo Duarte, Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Associate Laboratory TERRA

Researcher Paulo Branco, Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Associate Laboratory TERRA

Professor Pedro Segurado, Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Associate Laboratory TERRA


Ecosystems are increasingly impacted by anthropogenic occupation and actions, in particular

freshwater systems given their ubiquitous presence throughout the landscapes and the

disproportional elevated and imperiled biodiversity they contain. Considering the hierarchical,

dendritic and directional nature of river network, using riverscape-related approaches provides

a sound methodological perspective for freshwater macroecological studies. Moreover,

European policies and management guidelines generally target large spatial scales and extents.

Considering this, freshwater macroecological research is a scientific field of growing interest

that provides valuable knowledge to assess the status and safeguard the future of river

ecosystems under a changing environment.


SS06. Ponds as integral part of aquatic and terrestrial landscapes


Helen Greaves, UCL / EPCN / NPP

Dr Marlene Pätzig, EPCN / EPCN Germany

Simon Johnson, FBA / NPP


Ponds (small lentic systems, <5 ha, <5 m depth) are of enormous global importance due to their worldwide distribution and multiple ecosystem functions. Nevertheless, they receive less attention compared to larger aquatic systems and are particularly vulnerable, especially to climate change and anthropogenic stressors. The European Pond Conservation Network (EPCN) was established in 2004 to promote pond conservation. Since then, much scientific knowledge and practical experience has been gained. This session invites contributions representing not only the diversity of ponds in terms of the natural and manmade habitats in which they are situated but also their origin and utilisation, ranging from traditional uses to contemporary employment as Nature-based Solutions.

SS07. Conservation translocations: successes, failures and lessons learned


Dr Louise Lavictoire, Freshwater Biological Association

Dr John Taylor, Natural Resources Wales

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, Beaver Trust


Conservation translocations are movements of a species from one area to another for the conservation benefit of the species or local ecosystem. In this session we will discuss the lessons learned from a number of conservation translocation projects on a wide variety of species from across Europe (and beyond), and aim to draw out common factors which can cause successes as well as challenges. We will also consider monitoring requirements to accurately assess the scale of success/failure, and pose important questions surrounding cost-benefit analyses and deciding when to stop, either due to success, or as part of an exit strategy.


SS08. Freshwater ecosystems and urbanization – is the sustainable development of cities really possible?


Dr Maria João Feio, University of Coimbra, Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Portugal

Prof. Salomé Almeida, University of Aveiro, GeoBioTec, Portugal

Prof. Sylvain Dolédec, University of Lyon 1, France


Healthy freshwater ecosystems can increase urban livability, climate change resilience, flood mitigation, public health and well-being and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. Yet, urbanization has been leading to strong hydromorphological modifications; water pollution; removal of riparian vegetation; spread of invasive species; increased GHG (methane) emission; among others. These pressures alter freshwater biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services. However, the patterns of response and magnitude, and how these aspects are interrelated remain unclear, preventing the implementation of effective rehabilitation measures. Participatory approaches may contribute to achieve better results. This special session will bring together scientists to debate all these aspects.


SS10. Freshwater salinization: causes, consequences and management


Dr. Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, IDAEA-CSIC

Dr. Elisabeth Berger, University of Koblenz-Landau

Dr. David Cunillera, University of Barcelona


All around the world the ion concentration of freshwater ecosystems is being altered by human activities. Available studies have shown that this can have strong effects on socioecological systems. However, there are still important gaps of knowledge that limit our ability to manage this emerging environmental problem. Is this session we will address some pressing research questions like the interaction of freshwater salinization with other stressors, the potential of salinization to trigger trophic cascades in freshwater ecosystems or the effects of freshwater salinization on ecosystem functioning and human welfare.


SS11. Understanding ecological complexity of freshwaters under a chemical stress context


Dr. Mirco Bundschuh, Functional Aquatic Ecotoxicology, iES Landau, Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

Dr.  Andreu Rico, Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, Spain

Prof. Dr. Antonio Camacho, Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, Spain


Further than affecting the physiology of aquatic organisms, chemical stress in freshwaters can shape local populations and communities as well as the functions these communities perform. The effects of chemical stress, and the interaction among these effects, may act at multiple levels of organization, from genes to landscape, or even the biosphere as a whole. This session aims to collect contributions of scientific research with the purpose of consolidating the scientific foundations of ecotoxicology in the context of Ecology, through the interaction of freshwater ecologists and ecotoxicologists.


SS12. Modelling meets data science - what can we and our machines learn from each other?


PD Dr. Nele Schuwirth, Eawag

Dr. Sami Domisch, IGB

MSc Johannes Feldbauer, TU Dresden

Dr. Thomas Petzoldt, TU Dresden


In the past, mechanistic modelers, statistical modelers and machine learning communities tended to work in different silos, and also the lake and river modelling communities had limited exchange. There is however an increasing interest in integrating data in mechanistic models and inferring potential mechanisms from data. In this session, we want to overcome barriers between different research fields to exchange on novel, trending, or classical methods for synthesizing and increasing our understanding and for prediction of freshwater ecosystem responses to environmental drivers. We welcome presentations on technical challenges and methodological issues as well as applications that focus on modelling results.


SS13. River connectivity: processes, methods and case-studies


Researcher Paulo Branco, Forest Research Center, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon | Associate Laboratory TERRA

Researcher Gonçalo Duarte, Forest Research Center, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon | Associate Laboratory TERRA

Professor José Maria Santos, Forest Research Center, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon | Associate Laboratory TERRA


River network connectivity is paramount for the maintenance of several ecosystem processes

and to maintain healthy ecosystems. Mostly because crucial habitats within

rivers are temporal and/or spatially separated, and, animals, nutrients, water and sediments

need to be able to move freely along river networks. To holistically approach river

connectivity, one should be able to measure fragmentation, apply

connectivity management and enhancement actions, such as fishway development and dam

removal, as well as techniques to prioritize restoration actions accounting for their potential

benefits and drawbacks. This session will holistically showcase all research related to river

network connectivity.


SS14. Drying rivers in a time of global change


Prof. Rachel Stubbington, Nottingham Trent University

Dr Thibault Datry, INRAE

Dr Romain Sarremejane, INRAE


Rivers and streams which sometimes dry are diverse, dynamic ecosystems that dominate global river networks. These ecosystems support high aquatic–terrestrial biodiversity and deliver valued ecosystems services, are increasing in extent due to climate change and other human impacts. As a result, drying rivers are currently the subject of considerable research spanning disciplines including biogeochemistry, ecology, geomorphology, hydrology and the social sciences. This inclusive session will bring together scientists from across disciplines to share recent advances in drying river science and its application to inform the protection of biodiversity within ecosystems adapting to global change.


SS15. Who knows what is “good”? Defining aquatic ecosystem health targets for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, national and international policies


Dr Sandra Poikane, EC Joint Research Centre

Dr Prof Martyn G Kelly, Bowburn Consultancy; University of Nottingham

Dr Prof Agnieszka Kolada, Institute of Environmental Protection, Poland


Target setting is fundamental for long-term sustainable water management. Targets are essential for identifying water bodies in need of restoration and for assessing restoration effectiveness. Pressure-related targets help to diagnose cause(s) of deterioration and guide the urgency and scale of remedial action. However, targets are often not based on hard evidence and  set using “expert judgement”, ”best available” sites or a simple division of gradients. Whilst we have made progress setting targets for nutrients, we still lack targets for less-understood pressures, such as salinization and hydrological/ morphological alterations. It is timely to share experiences on all aspects of target setting and evaluation in the context of freshwater ecosystem management. In this session, we welcome critical evaluations of past target setting successes and failures as well as new perspectives on enhancing this process in the future.


SS16. Unravelling biological invasions in freshwaters: challenges and knowledge gaps in a hyper-connected world


Dr Simone Guareschi, Doñana Biological Station

Dr Josie South, University of Leeds

Dr Zarah Pattison, University Of Stirling

Dr Kate Mathers, Loughborough University


Biological invasions are an imperative global scale challenge for the management and conservation of inland waters. Substantial knowledge gaps prevent a full understanding of biological invasions and limit our ability to effectively manage them.

This Special Session seeks contributions focused on biological invasions at all spatial and temporal scales, including experimental, field and modelling studies. All organisms and geographical areas are encouraged. We welcome submissions related but not limited to: implications of invasive species; population dynamics; dispersal vectors; management efforts and policy implications. We also strongly welcome studies bridging the disciplines of invasion biology and social science. 


SS17. Delta Ecosystems in transition


Prof Suzanne McGowan, Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Prof Andy Large, Newcastle University

Dr Ginnie Panizzo, University of Nottingham

Prof Andy Henderson, Newcastle University


River deltas are productive and dynamic environments, supporting a diversity of lentic and lotic ecosystems. Globally, over 500 million people live on river deltas, many of whom depend on freshwater ecosystem services. The aquatic ecosystems of deltas are often interdependent and highly interconnected over large terrestrial areas. Multiple threats including climate change, rising sea levels, pollution from intensive farming, urban and industrial expansion and damming are changing freshwater ecosystems in delta regions. We invite contributions on deltaic systems from around the world aiming to learn more about their freshwater systems including ponds, rivers, ditches, floodplains, wetlands reservoirs and lakes.


SS18. Driving forward the network on the interpretation, conservation and management of temporary ponds


Dr. Vito Emanuele Cambria, Sapienza University of Rome

Prof. Fabio Attorre, Sapienza University of Rome

Prof. Simonetta Bagella, University of Sassari


On March 2022, a Natura 2000 Networking Event titled “Disentangling the complexity and variability of Mediterranean temporary ponds (habitat 3170*)” was organised at the Botanic Garden of Rome. About 80 Natura 2000 practitioners, researchers and policy-makers from the whole Mediterranean area convened to brainstorm assessment, restoration and valorisation schemes to harmonise identification approaches and enable long-term conservation of habitat 3170*. SEFS13 will be an excellent opportunity to put forward the network and to exchange non-Mediterranean views and methodologycal advancements on the interpretation, conservation and management of temporary ponds.

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