Stress and recovery of rivers - from genes to ecosystems – Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

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Stress and recovery of rivers - from genes to ecosystems

Speaker: Dr Nikolai Friberg, Adjunct Professor, Freshwater Biology Section, BIO; Research Director – Biodiversity, NIVA, Norwegian Institute for Water Research
Host: Associate Professor Dean Jacobsen, Freshwater Biology Section, BIO-UCPH

Nikolai Friberg was recently appointed as Adjunct Professor in stream ecology at the Freshwater Biology Section. Come and hear his inaugural talk on his past and future research on environmental stressors and quality of stream ecosystems in Denmark and abroad.

Freshwaters have seen the largest decline in biodiversity of any ecosystem, with river ecosystems particularly impacted by human activities. The main drivers of environmental change relate primarily to agriculture, urbanization and industrial production that have resulted in severe habitat degradation in streams and rivers worldwide. The increasing impact of climate change and invasive species has put further pressure on these systems. For more than a century, status of rivers and streams has been assessed using biological indicators and represents a prime example of applying ecological knowledge to address societal issues. A large part of my scientific career has focused on exactly this, namely ways of detect impacts on rivers from a range of different stressors relating to land use and climate change both in Denmark and abroad. In this lecture, I will show some examples of how structure and functioning of rivers are influenced by environmental change and how existing assessment systems can be improved through new and innovative approaches. Another cornerstone of my research relates to the exact opposite and that is the restoration of rivers.  The restoration of degraded habitats is a key measure to halt the global decline in biodiversity towards 2020 with rivers having a strong pedigree in restoration ecology. Here I will touch upon drivers of restoration, linkages between habitats and biota, the current restoration paradigm and ways forward in the way we conduct river restorations.