Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seeking freshwater pandas: endangered freshwater species need comprehensive protection

19.12.2016

A disproportionately large number of animal and plant species in the world’s lakes and rivers are at risk of extinction. Together with international colleagues, researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin call for the identification and implementation of targeted conservation measures for these species. As a first step, awareness needs to be raised among the research community and the general public: to this end, the researchers have identified more than 60 potential ‘freshwater pandas’.

“A disproportionately large number of species living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are at risk of extinction, and are in particular need of protection,” stressed IGB researcher Dr. Gregor Kalinkat, one of the authors of the appeal in the journal Conservation Biology. This is confirmed by current figures: according to the Living Planet Report 2016 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), populations of freshwater species shrank by 81 per cent between 1970 and 2012. In their appeal, the authors call for the definition of freshwater flagship umbrella species and for the development of targeted conservation measures.


The Yellow-Winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum) is one of the proposed species that may be appropriate as a flagship for species diversity in freshwaters.

© André Karwath


As one of the largest freshwater fishes worldwide the South-American Arapaima (Arapaima gigas) is one of the most impressive candidates to fulfil the role of a true freshwater panda.

© IGB/David Ausserhofer

The term ‘flagship umbrella species’ combines two established concepts from conservation biology: the main idea behind the ‘flagship’ role is to raise public awareness, paving the way for conservation measures, e.g. through donations. The panda is the most well-known example of a flagship species; for years, the bear with striking black-and-white coloration has been used as an advertising emblem for the protection of endangered species. ‘Umbrella species’ are species whose protection indirectly benefits many other species. One example is the Amur tiger in East Siberia, whose conservation also helps protect bears, deer and other species.

From pandas to mussels: scientists name freshwater flagship species

In developing new conservation concepts, it is important to consider animal and plant species that have until now been neglected, which play a particular role in their respective ecosystem, and to expand the scale of species worthy of protection: from single-cell organisms to vertebrates.

The authors discuss a number of criteria for flagship umbrella species, and identify a total of over 60 species that could serve as ‘freshwater pandas’. These species include the European Sturgeon, a bony fish that IGB has been helping to reintroduce in Germany for years; the Freshwater Pearl Mussel, a critically endangered large native mussel that needs clean water and can live for up to 80 years; and the Yellow-Winged Darter, whose colourful body makes it easy to recognise.

Researchers call for better data and close cooperation between researchers and practitioners

In addition, better species protection requires better data – although the current data pool has improved significantly in recent years, particularly for freshwater species, it continues to be inadequate. “To date, a disproportionately large amount of research and scientific data material has been collected on land and for marine species. In order to protect freshwater species, we are in urgent need of more comprehensive data, which can be collected both cost-effectively and extensively using innovative methods,” reported Dr. Gregor Kalinkat. These newly developed molecular methods (e.g. environmental DNA) can be used, for instance, to determine the existence of fish or amphibian species from simple water samples, which in the past needed to be collected painstakingly by hand or using nets.

The scientists emphasise in their appeal that researchers and practitioners must collaborate more closely in order to implement extensive conservation measures for freshwater species. In light of this, ‘freshwater pandas’ require more than just effective concepts – targeted species protection is dependent on the support of as many actors as possible around the world.

Link to study:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12813/full

Contact person:
Dr. Gregor Kalinkat
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin
Email: kalinkat@igb-berlin.de
Phone +49 30 641 81 707

About IGB:

http://www.igb-berlin.de

Work at IGB combines basic research with preventive research as a basis for the sustainable management of freshwaters. In the process, IGB explores the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems under near-natural conditions and under the effect of multiple stressors. Its key research activities include the long-term development of lakes, rivers and wetlands under rapidly changing global, regional and local environmental conditions, the development of coupled ecological and socio-economic models, the renaturation of ecosystems, and the biodiversity of aquatic habitats. Work is conducted in close cooperation with universities and research institutions from the Berlin/Brandenburg region as well as worldwide. IGB is a member of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V, an association of eight research institutes of natural sciences, life sciences and environmental sciences in Berlin. The institutes are members of the Leibniz Association.

Angelina Tittmann | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>