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Rivers in warm ecoregions - affected species

Climate change will have impacts on freshwaters through changes in hydrology e.g. through more frequent floods, but mainly through increased temperatures. Water temperature is a main determinant of water quality (such as oxygen concentration) and an increase will lead to chain of events that may affect community composition. In cold ecoregions, for example, extension of the ice-free period and increased water temperature will lead to enhance primary production and eutrophication, desynchronise life cycles and cause physiological problems for cold-adapted species. Cold-water stenothermic species which inhabit alpine stream environments for example are especially vulnerable to warming and snow loss (Brown et al. 2007). In, warmer regions, such as the Mediterranean, normal interannual variations are expected to be more extreme and this together with elevated temperatures and salinities would result in more frequent harsh conditions to the local biota. In central European regions temperature raise is predicted to lead to the extinction of sensitive species, such as several aquatic insects (Stoneflies) and fishes such as the European bullhead (Cottus gobio) (Logez et al., 2012). The spreading of invasive or alien species is also expected to occur in a more rapid way as habitats will become more suitable for invasion and establishment.

This section presents examples of species that according to current scientific literature may be positivly or negativaly affected by climate change (winners or losers). For each ecosystem type (rivers, lakes and wetlands) and ecoregion (cold, temperate and warm) and different organism groups (phytoplankton/macrophytes, macroinvertebrates and fish) are presented.

Plants

Floating Water-plantain | Luronium natans

[id: 200]
[ID-fwe: 225]

Common name:

Floating Water-plantain

Scientific name:

Luronium natans

Climate change impact:

Found over a wide bioclimatic range including the Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean regions, L. natans is probably quite tolerant of some climatic shift, but where altered climate leads to changes in the water regime of rivers (flow, depth, volume, flooding and seasonality), some damage to its populations is likely.

Response description:

This European endemic (west and central) is widespread but has locally suffered declines and faces a range of threats such as the modification of its aquatic habitats or water pollution. However, as the populations do not appear likely to become extinct imminently, Luronium is classed by IUCN as of Least Concern. Data quality and coverage for distribution/abundance vary over its range. The confirmed range of Luronium includes: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain (mainland), Sweden and the UK. Luronium is very rare in Scandinavia, Ireland, Spain and the Czech Republic as well as much reduced in Poland. The plant is much commoner in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK (where it ascends to 450 m altitude). Population levels often fluctuate and Luronium can be found in and along a wide range of water bodies e.g. in Sweden in small bodies that are shallow clear and non-eutrophic (often on sand) whilst in Spain, if occurs at the edges of pools and lakes as well as in stream/river backwaters. In terms of the Habitats Directive, L. natans is noted for 19 designated habitats (those underlined being riverine or riparian): 3110 Oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals of sandy plains, 3120 Oligotrophic waters containing very few minerals generally on sandy soils of the West Mediterranean with Isoetes spp., 3130 Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoeto-Nanojuncetea, 3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp., 3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition type vegetation, 3160 Natural dystrophic lakes and ponds, 3170 Mediterranean temporary ponds, 3220 Alpine rivers and the herbaceous vegetation along their banks, 3260 Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation, 3270 Rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention p.p. vegetation, 3280 Constantly flowing Mediterranean rivers with Paspalo-Agrostidion species and hanging curtains of Salix and Populus alba, 4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix, 4020 Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and E. tetralix, 4090 Endemic oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse, 7120 Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration, 7130 Blanket bogs, 7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs, 91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior, and 91F0 Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and U. minor, Fraxinus excelsior or F. angustifolia, along the great rivers. The main threats to Luronium are habitat destruction/degradation through water and soil pollution (pesticides, fertilisers) and eutrophication. Modification of hydrological regimes is a major threat e.g. canalisation (or other modification of watercourses), water-level management, drainage and management of bank vegetation. Filling of water bodies or sediment removal can affect populations, as can altered agricultural practice, abandonment of pastoral systems and unfavourable forest management. Aquaculture and recreational activities (fishing, nautical sports, walking, horse-riding and non-motorised vehicles) are also reported as having negative impacts.

More about the species:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/162134/0

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Jonc Faux (France) | Juncus valvatus

[id: 195]

Common name:

Jonc Faux (France)

Scientific name:

Juncus valvatus

Where to find:

Wet meadows

Climate change impact:

Probably not within scope of REFRESH as the riparian habitats are mainly within the North African part of its range.

Response description:

J. valvatus is endemic to Portugal, Tunisia and Algeria, with J. valvatus var. echinuloides limited to central and south Portugal (in North Africa var. caricinus). In Portugal, the estimated geographic range for this species is 5402 km2, though its probable total area of occupancy is <500 km2. J. valvatus is found in moist meadows, flooded depressions, banks of freshwaters of limestone and siliceous mountains (up to altitude of ca 2000 m in N. Africa). In Portugal, cultivation, forest planting, urbanisation, discharges and drainage are the main threats to this species.

More about the species:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/161963/0

Macroinvertebrates

European physa | Physella acuta

[id: 71]
[ID-fwe: 6396]

Common name:

European physa

Scientific name:

Physella acuta

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Winner

Climate change impact:

Increased water temperature, reduced flow velocity

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Globular pea mussel | Pisidium hibernicum

[id: 16]
[ID-fwe: 7804]

Common name:

Globular pea mussel

Scientific name:

Pisidium hibernicum

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased temperature

Response description:

Restricted to high-mountain areas in the Mediterranean, mainly small streams and glacial lakes, that will disappear or be altered with temperature increase.

More about the species:

http://www.animalbase.uni-goettingen.de/zooweb/servlet/AnimalBase/home/species?id=2755

Reference:

Araujo, R. (2006): Pisidium hibernicum Westerlund, 1894. In: Verdo and Galante (eds.): Libro Rojo de los Invertebrados de Espana. Direccion General para la Biodiversidad, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid.

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Greater European peaclam | Pisidium amnicum

[id: 102]
[ID-fwe: 6409]

Common name:

Greater European peaclam

Scientific name:

Pisidium amnicum

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased water temperature, low summer flow

Response description:

The sphaeriid Pisidium amnicum is a common freshwater clam in Europe, occurring mainly in the northern and central European countries. High temperatures, low summer flow and competition with invasive species (such as Corbicula fluminea) could result in a significant reduction of its population, particularly in warmer regions where events of water scarcity and high temperatures are expected to become more frequent.

More about the species:

http://www.animalbase.uni-goettingen.de/zooweb/servlet/AnimalBase/home/species?id=1659

Reference:

Domisch S., Jaehnig S.C. and Haase P. (2011) Climate-change winners and losers: stream macroinvertebrates of a submontane region in Central Europe. Freshwater Biology 56, 2009-2020.
Sousa, R., M. Ilarri, A. T. Souza, C. Antunes, and L. Guilhermino, 20

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Stonefly | Leuctra gallaeca

[id: 34]
[ID-fwe: 20252]

Common name:

Stonefly

Scientific name:

Leuctra gallaeca

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased water temperature

Response description:

Leuctra gallaeca is a stonefly species, endemic to the mountainous region of Galicia (northeast Spain). It is adapted to cool water temperatures and requires high oxygen contents. Increase in water temperatures due to climate change will put the species in risk of extinction.

Reference:

Domisch S., Jaehnig S.C. and Haase P. (2011) Climate-change winners and losers: stream macroinvertebrates of a submontane region in Central Europe. Freshwater Biology 56, 2009-2020.

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Thick shelled river mussel | Unio crassus ssp.

[id: 17]
[ID-fwe: 19440]

Click to enlarge

Common name:

Thick shelled river mussel

Scientific name:

Unio crassus ssp.

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Eutrophication

Response description:

This species is very sensitive to eutrophication, which may be enhanced by Climate Change, mainly because the juvenile stages are sensitive to ammonium and nitrogen.

Reference:

Araujo, R. (2006): Unio crassus Retzius, 1788. In: Verdo and Galante (eds.): Libro Rojo de los Invertebrados de Espana. Direccion General para la Biodiversidad, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid.

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White-clawed crayfish | Austropotamobius pallipes

[id: 3]
[ID-fwe: 7791]

Click to enlarge

Common name:

White-clawed crayfish

Scientific name:

Austropotamobius pallipes

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased temperature

Response description:

Widely distributed european crayfish that inhabits in small or medium rivers, usually with low temperatures. Vulnerable to the fungi Aphanomyces astaci, which is carried by the crayfishes Pacifastacus leniusculus and Procambarus clarkii. These latter species do not reach the upper reaches (where the autochtonous crab lives) due to a temperature limitation, but this barrier may be broken by Climate Change. Alteration of food web with possible consequences on most species.

Reference:

Gil-Sanchez, J.M and J. Alba-Tercedor (2006): Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet, 1858). In: Verdo and Galante (eds.). Libro Rojo de los Invertebrados de Espana. Direccion General para la Biodiversidad, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid.

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Fish

Bermejuela | Chondrostoma arcasii

[id: 6]

Common name:

Bermejuela

Scientific name:

Chondrostoma arcasii

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased temperature

Response description:

Its populations are affected by an increased temperatures due to its ecological requirements. Due to its role as predator and its typical association with the brown trout its disappearance would affect the food web.

More about the species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Achondrostoma-arcasii.html

Reference:

Doadrio, I. (ed.) (2001): Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Peces Continentales de Espana. Direccion General de Conservacion de la Naturaleza. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientaficas. Madrid: 167-169.

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Brown trout | Salmo trutta fario

[id: 31]
[ID-fwe: 284]

Common name:

Brown trout

Scientific name:

Salmo trutta fario

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Increased water temperature

Response description:

In Southern European rivers, stream-dwelling salmonids are restricted to headwaters, where local environmental conditions mitigate the adverse effects of regional warm climate. Current climate change is projected to worsen freshwater conditions (higher temperatures and longer droughts) in the Mediterranean region, an area already vulnerable to climate variations and decreased water availability. Wild brown trout occurs within a limited range of environmental temperatures, with lower tolerance to high temperatures than other salmonid species. Reduction in population size and loss of interpopulation connectivity as a consequence of potential climate change are expected to increase the risk of local extinction, due to increasing vulnerability to demographic and environmental stochastic events. Therefore, the observed and projected reduction in suitable thermal habitat in Mediterranean-type streams may have relevant consequences for the ecological and evolutionary species success.

More about the species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Salmo-trutta+trutta.html

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Mediterranean barbel | Barbus meridionalis

[id: 4]
[ID-fwe: 228]

Common name:

Mediterranean barbel

Scientific name:

Barbus meridionalis

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Toxic substances

Response description:

It is very sensitive to the pollution of its habitat (urban, agricultural and industrial sewages), particularly in conjunction with temperature increase. Because it is an important predator of macroinvertebrates its disappearance would affect the whole aquatic food web.

More about the species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Barbus-meridionalis.html

Reference:

Doadrio, I. (ed.) 2001. Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Peces Continentales de Espana. Direccion General de Conservacion de la Naturaleza. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientaficas. Madrid. Pp: 158-159.

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Mosquitofish, Gambusia | Gambusia holbrooki

[id: 11]
[ID-fwe: 873]

Common name:

Mosquitofish, Gambusia

Scientific name:

Gambusia holbrooki

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Winner

Climate change impact:

Increased water temperaure

Response description:

Gambusia holbrooki reproductive rate will be favored by higher water temperatures, expanding its distribution. Mosquitofish compete with native fish (e.g. Aphanius iberus, Valencia hispanica) and predate on native larval anurans so that reduced predation pressure on mosquitofish due to warmer temperatures can have negative implications for these aquatic communities.

More about the species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Gambusia-holbrooki.html

Reference:

Doadrio, I. (ed.) (2001): Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Peces Continentales de Espana. Direccion General de Conservacion de la Naturaleza. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientaficas. Madrid: 240-241.

Search for more information about this species or other fish on freshwaterecology.info:

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Spanish toothcarp | Aphanius iberus

[id: 50]
[ID-fwe: 301]

Common name:

Spanish toothcarp

Scientific name:

Aphanius iberus

Will it be a winner or a loser:

Loser

Climate change impact:

Competition by exotic species, increased water temperaure

Response description:

A. iberus is threatened due to their limited and isolated distribution. During the last three decades there has been a progressive loss and alteration of its habitat especially as a result of an intensive agriculture and tourism development. Current threats to its habitats and its populations include the destruction of habitats, water pollution and the introduction of exotic species, mainly Gambusia holbrooki which appear to have displaced A. iberus from its habitat as they are competitors for habitat and food. Inland populations are restricted to small creeks and are threatened by the depletion of water levels in local aquifers; its survival depends on strict control over the use of groundwater resources.

More about the species:

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Aphanius-iberus.html.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_toothcarp

Reference:

Oliva-Paterna, F. J., Torralva, M., and Fernandez-Delgado, C. (2006). Threatened Fishes of the World: Aphanius iberus (Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1846) (Cyprinodontidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 75(3), 307-309. doi:10.1007/s10641-006-0016-2

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Mammals

Cabrera's Vole | Microtus cabrerae

[id: 207]

Common name:

Cabrera's Vole

Scientific name:

Microtus cabrerae

Where to find:

Meadows

Climate change impact:

Climate change has not been cited as a threat by the IUCN, but any resultant changes to the extent of streams and wet meadows used by the vole could affect its abundance.

Response description:

M. cabrerae is endemic to the Iberian peninsula, where it has a fragmented range. It occurs from 0 to 1,500 m, although it is most common below 1200 m. In Spain, populations in the south have recently disappeared. It occurs in pastures, fields and open clearings in woodland, tending to prefer damper areas than the common vole. It is often found in proximity to water and on road verges. Meadows and perennial grassland communities are the most favourable microhabitats for this species. Agricultural intensification, including overgrazing, has presumably contributed to range contractions and fragmentation over the last few decades. There is increased pressure on streams and other wetland areas the species occurs in. Inter-specific competition with Arvicola sapidus may be a problem.

More about the species:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13418/0



Climate Change and Freshwater
Online: http://www.climate-and-freshwater.info/climate_change/rivers/warm/affected_species/
Date: 2017/09/22
© 2017 University of Duisburg-Essen | Faculty of Biology, Aquatic Ecology, All rights reserved.