Diversity, function and impairment in freshwater ecosystems: consequences for conservation and ecosystem services

Symposium organised by:

Steve Ormerod, Cardiff University, UK.

Isabelle Durance, Cardiff University, UK.

Cayetano Gutiérrez-Cánovas, Universidad Murcia, Spain.


Europe’s freshwater ecosystems are now extensively modified by multiple, landscape-scale pressures on their catchments, riparian zones, floodplains and channels.  There are large effects on aquatic species composition and diversity, but knowledge about consequences for ecological function, conservation and ecosystem services is still fragmented. This symposium will explore emerging themes in this highly topical and strategically important subject area, blending fundamental science with management relevance.  It will include presentations by international researchers and practitioners working at landscape scales in freshwater ecosystems.


Large scale pressures on European fresh waters range from land-use change and diffuse pollution to habitat modification, altered connectivity and abstraction. These effects often interact to create multiple stressors and are increasingly exacerbated also by emerging major issues such as climate change and invasive organisms. Increasing evidence reveals widespread effects on species composition in running and standing waters with consequences for species interactions, local diversity and regional richness. While evaluations of these effects have focused traditionally on structural measures, the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of freshwaters increasingly requires understanding of likely consequences for ecosystem processes, ecological functions and ecosystem services.  We will explore these themes with contributions on a range of organisms, freshwater ecosystems and locations.


We expect the symposium to attract strong interest from research and stakeholder communities ensuring direct impact on the science and management of freshwaters.  As well as providing a high profile networking opportunity, we are exploring a special journal issue or a collaborative opinion paper. The symposium will be broadcast directly via Twitter and reported on LinkedIn to ensure wide dissemination.

Oral presentations