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Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)

The Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) is a French public science and technology research institute under the joint authority of the French ministries in charge of research and overseas development. The IRD has three main missions: research, consultancy and training. It conducts scientific programs contributing to the sustainable development of the countries of the South, with an emphasis on the relationship between humans and the environment. The Freshwater Biodiversity and Macroecology Research Unit is part of the UMR “Biologie des Organismes et Écosystèmes Aquatiques”, BOREA.

Biodiversity and macro-ecology team at the UMR BOREA (IRD)

A growing number of ecologists embrace a balanced view of community ecology that integrates regional and historical processes, as well as species interactions within local habitats. This broadened perspective is largely based on non-experimental, comparative approaches that frequently use “natural experiments” for identifying factors shaping community structure. Strictly freshwater organisms are particularly well suited to this type of study since, rivers (or lakes), are separated from one another by insurmountable barriers (oceans, or land). Thus river basins (or lakes) are to some extent independent entities that could be used in comparative analysis to explore the factors that shape community organization between and within them.

In our team we use this natural experiment framework to analyze the relative role of local, regional and continental features in determining community structure. Community richness, composition and dynamics are approached using several research axes: large scale biodiversity gradients, community saturation, community convergence, density compensation and temporal dynamics. In a more applied context we use this framework to answer questions that are currently being asked by society including the spread of alien invasive species, and the effects of global climate changes and natural habitats fragmentation on the maintenance of aquatic biodiversity.

UMR Borea website

Thierry Oberdorff

Thierry Oberdorff (PhD) is Co-Director of the UMR “BOREA”. He has expertise in freshwater community ecology and bioindication.

Pablo Tedesco

Pablo Tedesco (PhD) has expertise in macroecology and statistics.

Bernard Hugueny

Bernard Hugueny (PhD) is Research Unit leader. He has expertise in community ecology and statistical modelling.

Jean-François Cornu

Jean-François Cornu is a GIS engineer and database manager working at regional and global scales on hydrological networks and habitat parameters.

April 2013 - News

The Issue 06 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

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Annual BioFresh meeting - News

The 4th annual BioFresh meeting is just around the corner! The focus of this year’s meeting will be on the interface between science and policy and making freshwater biodiversity science more politically influential.

The fourth annual meeting of the BioFresh project will be held next week from April 15-19 in the trendy Germany city of Leipzig. The slogan of this year’s meeting is “BioFresh goes political”, which captures the focus of linking BioFresh science with policy and conservation outcomes. The meeting is a chance for members from our 19 partner organisations of the BioFresh team to get together and assess the progress of the previous 3 years and discuss plans for the final phase of the BioFresh project.

July 2012 - News

The Issue 05 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

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December 2012 - News

New DAET maps available. The BioFresh contingency fund serves as additional support for non-partner organisations to adapt, complete and submit databases that are of interest for BioFresh.

NATURE paper - News

NATURE paper: Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change

Climate impacts on biodiversity are usually assessed at the morphospecies level with effects at the genetic level less well studied. Now research into the distribution and mitochondrial DNA variability of nine mountain-dwelling insect species shows that range contractions will be accompanied by severe loss of genetic diversity as the climate warms, implying that conventional assessments may underestimate losses.

Read more on the Nature website

Freshwater: the essence of life - News

Scientists and photographers joined their efforts to publish a large-format illustrated book in the CEMEX conservation book series on “Freshwater: The Essence of Life”.  The book was coordinated by Conservation International and involved scientists from all over the world, including many BioFresh partners.  They contributed to the different chapters drawing a picture of the amazing richness of freshwater ecosystems, and raising awareness on why Earth’s freshwater supplies and systems are in peril. These ecosystems have proved resilient throughout millennia, but in the last few decades, human activities have drastically modified and destroyed them to the point of alarm. The book was launched on December 6th in Cancun at the UNFCCC COP 16.

Freshwater: The essence of life. (2010).Russell A. Mittermeier, Tracy A. Farrell, Ian J. Harrison, Amy J. Upgren, Thomas M. Brooks.  Series editor: Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

For more information visit the Conservation International website.

A short animation: What is BioFresh? - News

We’re delighted to present a short animation produced by Paul Jepson and colleagues at Oxford University which outlines BioFresh’s work in helping improve the protection and management of global freshwater ecosystems.

View animation

Water lives - News

“Water Lives…” is a new science communication animation designed to draw attention to the important (yet largely invisible) biodiversity which underpins and sustains our freshwater ecosystems. Produced by Rob St.John and Paul Jepson at the School of Geography and the Environment for BioFresh the animation brings artists and scientists together to collaborate and communicate the concept the idea that freshwater is more than an inert resource: instead a living, dynamic system inhabited by beautiful, important organisms largely unseen by the naked eye. “Water Lives…” invites viewers to engage with their freshwater environments, perhaps value them in new ways and engage with how they should be managed [...]

Read more and watch the film on the BioFresh blog

Protect the “Amazon of Europe” - News

Danube’s most valuable and best preserved floodplain system along its entire 2,850 kilometers length is threatened with destruction: the "Kopački Rit" in Croatia. A major project to regulate this unique region is currently in the final stage of decision. If the project becomes reality, the natural Danube will be transformed into a monotonous canal, with fatal consequences for its wildlife: The white-tailed eagle, the black stork and the Danube sturgeon would be in severe danger of extinction.

For more ínformation go to www.amazon-of-europe.com

Interessting blog - News

National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative "Water Currents is part of the National Geographic Society’s freshwater initiative, a global effort to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain..." (from NG's website)

Read more on newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/blog/water-currents/