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Caryn Vaughn (left) asking questions to Lea Schneider (right) during the PhD-defense.

Today Lea Schneider successfully defended her PhD-thesis ”Conservation ecology of the thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus – the importance of parasite-host interactions” at Karlstad UniversityCaryn Vaughn (University of Oklahoma, USA) was the opponent, and Leonard Sandin (Swedish University of Agriculture), Niklas Janz (Stockholm University, Sweden), and Annie Jonsson (University of Skövde, Sweden) constituted the grading committee (betygskommitté).

Lea Schneiders supervisors during her PhD were Martin Österling and Anders Nilsson from Karlstad University, and Johan Höjesjö from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her work constituted on part of the LIFE-project UCforLife – Målarmusslans återkomst.

The thesis is available here. Contact Lea Schneider for questions and additional information.

The study focused on the behavior of kelts at the Edsforsen dam – the first dam that the downstream migrating kelts encounter.

The scientific paper ”Intake Approach and Dam Passage by Downstream-migrating Atlantic Salmon Kelts” by Daniel Nyqvist, Eva Bergman, Olle Calles, and Larry Greenberg was recently published in River Research and Applications. The paper presents a study on the behavior of downstream migrating kelts in the River Klarälven, Sweden. In the abstract the authors write:

”Studying fish behaviour at hydropower dams is needed to facilitate the design and improvement of fish passage solutions, but few studies have focused on Atlantic salmon kelts. Here, we used radio telemetry (n = 40, size range = 50–81 cm) and acoustic sonar to study kelt movements in the forebay as well as their dam passage survival and subsequent migration success past multiple dams. We also compare radio telemetry and acoustic sonar observations of fish behaviour and used acoustic sonar to measure the depth distribution of fish approaching the turbine intake zone. Passage success at the dam was 41%, and mortality was largely associated with turbine passage (62%). The two fish that passed via the spill gates survived and continued their downstream migration. At the dam, all but one radio-tagged kelt approached the intake zone shortly after arrival to the forebay, and sonar data showed that approaching fish were predominantly surface oriented (72%, 88% and 96% of the observations were less than 1, 2 and 3 m deep, respectively). Turbine passage rate from the intake zone was higher at night than at day, indicating that the lack of visual cues may reduce the barrier effect of the 70-mm conventional trash rack. Turbine passage rate also increased with increasing hydropower generation. The percentage of observed upstream movements away from the intake zone compared with the total number of observations was considerably greater in the radio telemetry data (41%) than in the sonar data (4%). Only one fish survived passage of all eight hydropower dams to reach the lake. This low-passage survival underscores the need for remedial measures to increase the survival of migrating kelts, and the fish’s surface orientation as well as their rapid approach to the intake rack should be taken into account when designing such measures.”

Read the paper here. If you don’t have access to the journal’s content, email any of the authors.

Fish Passage 2017 – International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage will be held in Corvallis, Oregon, USA on June 19-21 2017. The confererence ”…promises to be an important international forum for researchers and practitioners to exchange findings and experiences on fish passage issues.

Fish Passage 2017 will be of interest to researchers, educators, practitioners, funders, and regulators who have an interest in advancements in technical fishways, nature-like fishways, stream restoration and stabilization, dam removal, and the myriad of funding, safety, climate change, and other socio-economic related issues surrounding connectivity projects.

This is a three-day conference with concurrent sessions in engineering, biology, management and monitoring techniques. The conference will also feature plenary talks, professional networking opportunities, and a poster session. Independently offered short courses, workshops and tours will be available immediately before and/or after the conference.”

Plenary speakers will be say’ay’ – John Eli Sirois, Futoshi Nakamura, Tony Farrell, Paul T. Jacobson, and Kurt D. Fausch. Read more about the plenary speakers here. Also, pre-conference short courses and post-conference tours are available. Read more about the conference at www.fishpassageconference.com.

 

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John Piccolo recommends the short film ”Lahontan Cutthroat Trout: A prehistoric legend returns”. The film briefly discusses the restoration of cutthroat trout to Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River in Nevada, USA. This strain of cutthroat trout was assumed extinct until remnants of the population were found in streams in neighboring Pilot Peaks. This started great efforts to re-introduce the socially and culturally important fish population to the lake. Watch the film here:

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According to tradition, Lea Schneider (center) last week nailed her thesis to the wall, at the entrance to Karlstad University. On the photo are also Martin Österling (supervisor) and Reine Lundin (dean).

On February 24, Lea Schneider, will defend her PhD-thesis ”Conservation ecology of the thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus – the importance of parasite-host interactions”. In the abstract Lea Schneider writes: ”Unionoid mussels are globally threatened and their conservation requires species-specific knowledge on their ecology and parasite-host interaction. Unio crassus is one of Europe’s most threatened unionoid species and has a temporary obligate parasitic life stage (glochidia) on fish. A lack of suitable hosts is probably a major limitation for mussel recruitment, but host species composition, suitability and availability in time and space have yet to be fully explored. This thesis examines different aspects of the host fish species, including their composition, suitability and ecological importance, in relation to U. crassus, using both field and laboratory studies. The effects of mussel and host density on mussel reproductive potential were considered, as were aspects of evolutionary adaptations between mussels and fish and how climate change may affect their interaction.

The results show that U. crassus is a host generalist, parasitizing a variety of fish species. Host suitability and density, which varied among fish species and rivers, affected the level of glochidia encapsulation, hence mussel reproductive potential, more so than the density of mussels taking part in reproduction. Ecologically important hosts included both highly suitable primary hosts, and less suitable hosts that were highly abundant. Whether or not U. crassus has specific adaptations to its hosts to enhance juvenile transformation remains unclear. No distinct pattern of local adaptation was found, nor was there an effect of host fish presence on the timing of glochidia release by adult mussels. Instead, temperature played a major role, with results suggesting that changes in spring water temperature regimes can cause temporal and spatial mismatches in the mussel-host interaction. This thesis indicates that investigations of local mussel-host interactions help in identifying mechanisms important for unionoid conservation management and prioritization.”

The defense will take place on February 24 at 10:15 in room 1B309 (Sjöströmsalen) at Karlstad University. The frame of the thesis is available online here.

For the defense, Caryn Vaughn (University of Oklahoma, USA) is the opponent, and Leonard Sandin (Swedish University of Agriculture), Niklas Janz (Stockholm University, Sweden), and Annie Jonsson (University of Skövde, Sweden) constitute the grading committee (betygskommitté).

In the afternoon (from 13:30 onwards) the day before the defense (Feb 23), seminars related to the thesis will be given in Room 5F416 at Karlstad University. Here Caryn Vaughn will present on ”Consumer aggregations act as hotspots of ecosystem function and services in rivers”, Niklas Janz on “What is host range?”, and Leonard Sandin on “Evaluation of ecological restoration in Swedish streams – some results from the EKOLIV project”. 

Everyone is welcome to attend both the PhD-defense and the seminars.

Johan Watz, postdoc vid Karlstads Universitet, forskar om öringens vinterekologi. Just nu pågår fältarbete i Rottnan, Värmland. Johan berättar: ”Vinterförhållanden i rinnande vatten kan påverka hur mycket fisk som kan leva i älven och hur många smolt som produceras. I ett projekt tillsammans med Fortum och Bergvik Skog undersöker vi hur öringungar klarar vintern i sidofåror till Rottnan. Platser som har berikats med struktur, i form av träd som fällts i vattnet, jämförs med platser utan trädberikning. Ettåriga PIT-märkta öringar spåras genom isen, och med stationära loggerstationer. Öringarnas förflyttningar, överlevnad och tillväxt studeras. Projektet kommer fortgå fram till islossningen.”

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Johan Watz, mitt i Rottnan. ”Fältarbete i -20C kan vara så här roligt.”

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Lisse de Groot, Erasmuspraktikant från Nederländerna, vid en damm av bottenis.

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En loggerstation (vid den svarta plastpåsen) detekterar fiskar som simmar förbi.

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Teemu Collin och Niclas Carlsson (studenter vid Karlstads Universitet) pejlar öring.

Verkar detta intressant? Just nu söker Karlstads Universitet en doktorand i just fiskars vinterekologi: PhD position in Global climate change and winter ecology

Forskare inom NRRV vid Karlstads Universitet ska under de kommande tre åren undersöka ekologiska effekter av utrivningen av en kraftverksdamm, samt hur fisk påverkas av så kallade ”fiskvänliga” turbiner. Forskningen kommer att ske i Mörrumsån (dammutrivning) och i Emån (fiskvänlig turbin). De involverade forskarna är (än så länge) Lutz Eckstein, Anders Nilsson, Olle Calles och Martin Österling och gruppen förväntas undesöka allt från växtsamhällen till fiskars beteende. Projektet finansieras av KK-stiftelsen och är ett samarbete mellan Karlstads Universitet, Uniper, Sveaskog och Power house. Läs mer om projektet på fiskejournalen.se eller på kau.se.

Är du en disputerad biolog som tycker att det här låter intressant? Projektet har utlyst en postdoc tjänst. Läs mer här.

Dokumentären ”Tana älv – mellan tre länder” (”Tanaelv – den beste elva” på norska) ligger just nu uppe på SVT-play. FIlmen handlar om laxen i älven och människorna runt den. Forskare, förvaltare, husbehovsfiskare och repressentanter för turistfisket kommer till tals. Älven – och dess biflöden – är hem för en mängd lokalt anpassade laxpopulationer och fisketrycket måste minskas för att skydda hotade laxpopulationer. Detta skapar både lokala och internationella konflikter.

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Se filmen på SVT-Play eller på NRK:s hemsida.

A postdoc position in the ecology of river restoration is open for applications at Karlstad University: ”The main duty of the position is to conduct research on the effects of dam removal and the installation of fish-friendly turbines on river connectivity and ecology. Intact river connectivity is essential for many organisms in running water, and especially so for organisms that move between different habitats to complete their life cycle, such as many migratory fish species. Many rivers are modified by dams such as hydroelectric power plants. Dams disconnect river stretches and habitats, thereby reducing dispersal and migration possibilities for fish, benthos, and plants, with negative effects on individuals, populations, and communities. The post-doctoral candidate will be expected to evaluate the effects of complete dam removal and installation of fish-friendly turbines as measures to improve connectivity in rivers.”. The deadline for applying is February 28. Read the full announcement here:

Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Ecology of River Restoration: Dam Removal and fish-friendly Turbine

As advertised previously, NRRV at Karlstad University, also has two additional openings for full-time post-doctoral research fellows and one opening for a PhD-student (deadline February 10). Read full announcements for these positions here:

Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Aquatic-Terrestrial Linkages

Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Ecology of River Connectivity.

PhD position in Global climate change and winter ecology

A PhD-position in the field of global climate change, as it relates to the ecology of stream fishes in winter, is now open for applicants at Karlstad University. The position is a full time position for 4 years within the River Ecology and Management (NRRV) group at the Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. Read more about the position on kau.se.

As advertised previously, NRRV also has two openings for full-time post-doctoral research fellows. One position is in the field of stream-riparian ecology with focus on the reciprocal interactions and linkages between aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The other position is on river connectivity with focus on rehabilitation, management and development strategies. Read full post-doc position announcements here: Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Aquatic-Terrestrial Linkages and Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Ecology of River Connectivity.