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Freshwater Information Platform


University Paul Sabatier (UPS)

The Lab Evolution et Diversité Biologique (UMR 5174 EDB) is part of the University Paul Sabatier (UPS). The Aquatic ecology and global changes (AQUAECO ) research group of EDB is leaded by Sébastien Brosse and employs around 15 scientists (full professors, associate professors, post-docs, PhD students) with expertise in freshwater ecology and statistical modelling.

The general aim of the research group AQUAECO is to determine the processes that affect the structure of freshwater communities and the functioning of freshwater ecosystems in the general context of global changes.

These processes are known to act at different spatial and temporal scales. At a global scale, climatic conditions and historical contingences drive species assemblages. At a smaller scale, community structure and ecosystem functioning are driven by ecological interactions between co-existing species and their biotic and abiotic environment. Freshwater ecosystems provide a unique opportunity to determine and quantify these processes at different scales. Indeed, streams, rivers and lakes are highly isolated ecosystems that represented biogeographic islands within a landscape of oceans and lands. This high level of geographical isolation increases endemism rate and biological diversity. However, freshwater ecosystems are also facing many perturbations caused by human activities that can subsequently impact their biological diversity, their functioning and the ecological services they provide to humans. Therefore, understanding the processes driving community structure is crucial to provide i) applied perspectives to protect fresh waters and ii) theoretical insights into the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

In this context, the research conducted in the AQUAECO group is structured into three main axes:

- Determining the patterns and drivers of biodiversity. The aim is to quantify the factors affecting the spatial and temporal patterns of the multiple facets (i.e. taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic) of biological diversity (alpha- and beta-diversity). The approach used here includes several complementary approaches at different scales.
- Predicting the impacts of global change on biodiversity. Using predictive models, we establish scenario of future spatial distribution of aquatic species that include the effects of climate warming, habitat fragmentation and biological invasions. The aim here is to provide practical tools for species management and the conservation of freshwater ecosystems.
- Quantifying the interactions between organisms to understand ecosystem functioning in a context of global changes. The aim here is to quantify the effects of several perturbations induced by global changes on the interactions between individuals and species within freshwater communities. We then measure how changes in biotic interactions occurring at variable levels of biological organization affect food webs and ecological fluxes within and between ecosystems. Using both experimental and observational approaches, we aim at determining how human activities can affect the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Sébastien Brosse

Sébastien Brosse (PhD) is a full professor, he has expertise in freshwater community ecology (distribution, human impacts) and predictive modelling.

Gaël Grenouillet

Gaël Grenouillet (PhD) is an associate professor, he has expertise in macroecology (biological traits, human impacts, global change) and statistics.


Christine Lauzeral

Christine Lauzeral (PhD student) is working on invasive species distribution modelling.


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.

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/