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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Freshwater Biodiversity Unit, UK office, Cambridge

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organisation with a thematic programme dedicated to ensuring sustainable use of biodiversity (IUCN Global Species Programme), with particular expertise on freshwater biodiversity. One of the best-known products of the programme is the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM which is internationally recognised as the most authoritative measure of the threatened status of species.

The Red List Index has been adopted by CBD as one of the key indicators of change for biodiversity. The programme draws on the expertise of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) - the world’s most extensive network of biodiversity experts with over 7,000 members in 100 Specialist Groups and Task Forces. Major objectives of the Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Unit include assessing the status, distribution and economic/livelihood values of freshwater biodiversity globally, and the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas for species conservation - Key Biodiversity Areas are now specifically recognised within the CDB Aichi Target 11 and within the environmental safeguards guidelines for many international donors and corporations. The IUCN/SSC Species Information Service (SIS) includes a database on the status (IUCN Red List), ecology and distribution (GIS maps) of the world’s species. Comprehensive freshwater biodiversity assessments have been completed in many countries, particularly in Africa, Asia and Europe.

William Darwall

William Darwall (PhD) has over 25 years experience working on and leading collaborative research projects on the ecology and conservation of aquatic ecosystems in developing countries. He is currently Head of the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Unit (FBU). The main focus of his work includes implementation of large-scale biodiversity assessments of freshwater systems, including assessment of species threatened status for the IUCN Red List. Under Dr Darwall’s leadership since 2002 the FBU has now completed assessments for continental Africa, Europe and much of southern Asia. He has also led interdisciplinary projects bringing together the range of expertise and information sets required to help ensure the best decisions are made with respect to environmental management of wetland ecosystems.

 

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith (MSc) and David Allen (MSc) joined the IUCN FBU in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Both are aquatic ecologists with extensive experience in the collation, management and analysis (in particular using GIS) of large biodiversity datasets for freshwater ecosystems across the world. They are both highly experienced in the coordination and facilitation of expert workshops for freshwater biodiversity assessments.

Savrina Carrizo

Savrina Carrizo (PhD) joined the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit in 2012 having recently completed her PhD in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis focused on changes in the distribution and abundance of North American breeding birds. She has strong analytical skills as required to deal with the large species data sets compiled through the BioFresh project. Before joining IUCN she majored in computer science and ecology at the University of Sydney, Australia and has applied her programming/spatial analysis/statistics skills to a range of data-intensive biological and environmental problems in a research capacity as well as business-related issues in a management consultant capacity.

 

David Allen

Kevin Smith (MSc) and David Allen (MSc) joined the IUCN FBU in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Both are aquatic ecologists with extensive experience in the collation, management and analysis (in particular using GIS) of large biodiversity datasets for freshwater ecosystems across the world. They are both highly experienced in the coordination and facilitation of expert workshops for freshwater biodiversity assessments.

April 2013 - News

The Issue 06 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.


read more and download

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.

read more and download

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/