In the beginning of March, John Piccolo from Karlstad University, and Haydn Washington (University of New South Wales), Helen Kopnina (Hague University of Applied Sciences) and Bron Taylor (University of Florida) published the paper Why conservation scientists should reembrace their ecocentric roots” in the scientific journal Conservation Biology. In the article impact statement the authors say that “ecocentrism, the recognition of intrinsic natural vaule, is and should continue to be a vital element of biodiversity conservation”.

You can access the paper here.

Conservation biology is concerned with maintaining the rich biodiversity of Planet Earth. Over the past 50 years scientists have come to recognize that humans are the driving force behind an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Conservation scientists work for social and ecological justice for a sustainable future of human and non-human life on Earth. The ecosystem services that nature provides for humans is what sustains us – food, clean water, recreation and cultural values. Ecosystem services provide a powerful justification for nature protection, but many people believe that we need to also look more deeply to recognize nature’s intrinsic values. A new peer-review journal, The Ecological Citizen, is dedicated to publishing research on ecocentrism, “Striving for harmony with the rest of nature”.

http://www.ecologicalcitizen.net/

 

John Piccolo from Karlstad University has been contributing to a research network in publishing articles related to ecocentrism and conservation ethics. You can read more about this work here:

http://www.ecologicalcitizen.net/article.php?t=why-ecocentrism-key-pathway-sustainability

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10806-018-9711-1

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138117300742

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/oryx/article/if-we-want-a-whole-earth-nature-needs-half-a-response-to-buscher-et-al/27ACE7EBAA074C875C4F16B1BD05F12B

 

The online “statement of commitment to ecocentrism” has been signed by a number of well-known ecologists and conservationists including Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, Ann and Paul Erhlich, Herman Daly, David Ehrenfeld, Michael Soulé, Holmes Rolston, Sarah Darwin, Reed Noss, and J. Baird Callicott.

You can read more about and sign the statement of commitment to ecocentrism here.

 

World Fish Migration Day

Posted by Karl Filipsson | Events

In approximately three weeks, on April 21, World Fish Migration Day will be celebrated around the world. World Fish Migration Day is a global event with the aim to create awareness of the importance of open river systems for migratory fish. The event is coordinated by the World Fish Migration Foundation. At the time of writing, over 300 events are registered all around the globe for World Fish Migration Day, all with the goal to improve people’s understanding of the importance of healthy river ecosystems and migratory fish populations.

In Forshaga outside of Karlstad, the Swedish anglers association (Sportfiskarna Värmland) will have an open house in their regional office between 10.00-14.00 on April 21. The event is coordinated by the anglers association, researchers from Karlstad University and the sport fishing upper secondary school in Forshaga (ForshagaAkademin). Representatives from the county board in Värmland and the organization Älvräddarna will also participate in the event. Visitors can learn about fish conservation and how to study fish migration. The anglers association will also show their latest movie about river restoration, “Många bäckar små”.

Read more about the event at the anglers association here, and about World Fish Migration Day and World Fish Migration Foundation on their official websites.

We also want to encourage the registration of more events for World Fish Migration Day. In that way we can reach more people, which hopefully will create more interest and awareness of the importance of healthy river ecosystems and migratory fish populations.

Detailed program over the event in Forshaga on World Fish Migration Day (Swedish)

Burbot, Lota lota

On Tuesday 3 April 2018, Karl Filipsson, PhD student at Karlstad University, will give a talk titled “The effects of temperature and light conditions during winter on antipredator responses of juvenile brown trout against burbot”. The seminar will start at 13:15 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

A thick-shelled river mussel, Unio crassus

Between 2012 and 2016, researchers at Karlstad University have worked together with several county boards in southern Sweden in the EU-funded life project “Unio crassus for life” (målarmusslans återkomst). The thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus) is one of the most threatened bivalve species in Europe. In Sweden, the distribution of the species has decreased with 50% over the last 100 years.

In twelve streams in southern Sweden, a total of 300 km has been restored as part of the project to improve the habitat for the mussel. The project has also examined what fish species that are suitable hosts for the obligate parasitic larvae of the thick-shelled river mussel. Species like minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), bleak (Alburnus alburnus) and bullhead (Cottus gobio) seem to be important hosts for the mussel. In addition, juvenile mussels have been reared in captivity with the aim to successfully reintroduce them into the wild.

The project has been very successful, and has now been nominated as one of the best EU life projects. The ceremony where the best project will be awarded is held in Brussels 23 May. Martin Österling, associate professor at Karlstad University, will attend the ceremony. We wish Martin and all other people that have worked on the Unio crassus for life project the best of luck, and we keep our fingers crossed that Unio crassus for life will be awarded the best EU life project.

Read more about the project at the Unio crassus for life official web page, or on the Skåne and Södermanland county board web pages.

The project has also gotten publicity in media, and you can read more about the project on svt or Smålands-tidningen.

Watch a short film about the project here.

Nedre Dalälven.

Projekt LIV – laxfisk i nedre Dalälven, som doktorand Anna Hagelin vid Karlstads universitet har varit projektledare för, uppmärksammades nyligen av svt nyheter i och med publiceringen av projektets slutrapport. Målet med projektet har varit att undersöka nedre Dalälvens potential att återfå livskraftiga och självreproducerande bestånd av havsvandrande lax och öring. Projektet är ett samarbete mellan länsstyrelserna i Gävleborg och Uppsala samt kraftverksägarna Fortum och Vattenfall, och finansierades till störst del genom Fortums och Vattenfalls miljöfond samt naturskyddsföreningens miljömärkning Bra Miljöval.

Restaurering av lekplatser för lax och öring i nedre Dalälven.

Det finns många vandringshinder för lax och öring i nedre Dalälven. Trots detta kan det finnas goda förutsättningar att få tillbaka självreproducerande bestånd av båda arterna. För att fiskens lekvandring ska fungera krävs det stora investeringar i form av alternativa vandringsvägar (så kallade omlöp) förbi vandringshinder som till exempel kraftverk. För tillfället kommer fisken till Älvkarleby, men länsstyrelsen Gävleborg vill göra det möjligt för fisken att själva vandra upp till sina lekområden.

Läs nyhetsartikeln på svt här, eller mer om LIV-projektet på länsstyrelsen Gävleborgs hemsida.

River Klarälven, Värmland, Sweden

A position as “Associate senior lecturer in biology with research focus on stream habitat modelling and environmental flows” at Karlstad University is now open for application. The position is a fixed-term full-time employment for four years.

”For the first three years the position will be approximately 80% research and 20% teaching. Teaching will include courses in the undergraduate and master programs in Biology. The main duty of the position is to conduct research on the effects of habitat degradation, restoration, and streamflow on stream fish populations with a focus on regulated rivers. The successful candidate will be expected to evaluate the effects of habitat and stream flow on fish distribution, growth and abundance employing advanced ecological modelling. The candidate will be the main researcher in the new project: “Advanced ecological modelling for prioritizing environmental flows and habitat restoration in regulated rivers”. The project is a collaboration between Karlstad University and key actors in river restoration including world-leading modeling consultants DHI Sweden AB, and hydropower companies Vattenfall AB Fortum AB, and Sydkraft AB.”

Read more and apply for the position here. Last application date is 2018-03-31.

The experimental flume ”Kungsrännan” under construction in Älvkarleby.

Hydropower dams block migration routes and disrupt longitudinal connectivity in rivers, thereby posing a threat to migratory fish species. Various fish passage solutions have been implemented to improve connectivity with varying success. For downstream migrating fish, low sloping turbine intake racks are used to guide fish to bypasses. Current knowledge, however, is based on hydropower plants with intake capacities <72 cm. There is also a trade-off between electricity generation and fish guidance (smaller bar spacing – better for fish, larger bar spacing – better for hydropower). Currently, gap widths/bar spacings of 10-20 mm are recommended but behavioral guidance effects open up the possibility of larger bar spacings.

During spring, Karlstad University in collaboration with Vattenfall and NINA, will experimentally study the behavior and passage performance of downstream migrating salmon smolts approaching a variety of low sloping intake racks. The experiments will be conducted in a new large experimental flume – Kungsrännan – at the Vattenfall hydraulic laboratory in Älvkarleby, Sweden. We will study the passage behavior and performance of smolts for alpha racks – inclined from the bottom up – and beta racks – angled from one side of the channel to the other – with different gap-widths (15-30 mm).

For this, we are looking for one interested and ambitious assistant to join us in Älvkarleby. The assistant will be salaried and is needed from mid-April to mid-June. Housing in the area can be provided. Are you interested in joining us? Contact Olle Calles for more information.

The principle behind downstream fish passage solutions using low sloping intake racks. The fish is swept and guided along a beta rack to a bypass at the rack’s downstream end.

A spawning male sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

During the 50th anniversary meeting of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles at the University of Exeter in July 2017, the participants held a workshop to develop a publication titled “Valuing and understanding fish populations in the Anthropocene: key questions to address”, for the special issue of the Journal of Fish Biology.

John Piccolo from Karlstad University contributed to this paper, focusing on a current research theme on conservation ethics. The paper is now published. Access the paper here, or contact any of the authors. John has also promised a coming NRRV post highlighting some recent work in this area.

In the abstract of the paper, the authors write:

“Research on the values of fish populations and fisheries has primarily focused on bio-economic aspects; a more nuanced and multidimensional perspective is mostly neglected. Although a range of social aspects is increasingly being considered in fisheries research, there is still no clear understanding as to how to include these additional values within management policies nor is there a cogent appreciation of the major knowledge gaps that should be tackled by future research.
This paper results from a workshop held during the 50th anniversary symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles at the University of Exeter, UK, in July 2017. Here, we aim to highlight the current knowledge gaps on the values of fish populations and fisheries thus directing future research. To this end, we present eight questions that are deeply relevant to understanding the values of fish populations and fisheries. These can be applied to all habitats and fisheries, including freshwater, estuarine and marine.”

Job: Project assistant

Posted by Karl Filipsson | Jobs

A thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus).

NRRV is looking for a part-time project assistant to work with the endangered thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus). The project concerns rearing of juvenile mussels in the mussel lab in Veberöd, Skåne, and reintroduction of mussels in streams in southern Sweden. Read more and apply for the position here (Swedish). The last day to apply is 2 March 2018.