On Tuesday 22 May 2018, Alessia Uboni from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and University of Oslo will give a seminar titled “Interannual variability in habitat selection and link to reproductive success: an example from Yellowstone wolves”.

The seminar begins at 13:15 in room 5F322 at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

Seminars Tuesday 15 May

Posted by Karl Filipsson | Events

On Tuesday 15 May 2018, Jörgen Rudolphi from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå and Sebastian Sobek from Uppsala University will give two seminars at Karlstad University:

Forest biodiversity conservation – old challenges and new solutions – Jörgen Rudolphi

The carbon footprints of hydropower – Sebastian Sobek

The seminars will start at 13:15 in room 21A342 at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminars.

On Tuesday May 8th Bengt Gunnar Jonsson, professor at Mid Sweden University, will give a seminar titled: “The future of the Swedish forest landscape – environmental objectives and their implementation”. The seminar will start 13.15 in the Risklab (room 21A259) at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

Anissa Bengattat (middle), together with Rachel Prokopius (left), exchange student from Northern Kentucky University, and Elio Bottagisio (right), master student from France, doing fieldwork in the stream Rannån.

In April 2018, Anissa Bengattat from France visited Karlstad University and did an internship with NRRV. Here she writes about her weeks in Sweden.

Hej där!

I’m Anissa Bengattat, a French student in HND ‘Management and Protection of Nature’ in a town located in France, named Vic-en-Bigorre. As a practical training, I have been doing my three-weeks internship at Karlstad University with the Ecology and Conservation Biology program.           

During these weeks, I have learned vastly about different aspects of  freshwater ecology.  My main mission has been to collect, sort, identify and archive macro-invertebrates, collected in the field, in the freshwater stream Rannån. With the help of Richard Durtsche, guest-professor from the USA, and his student Rachel Prokopius, I managed to follow a project from the start to the end.

I have tested digital imaging of the identified invertebrates, and I have seen the calorimetry process, used in order to make links with the fishes‘ energetics consumption.

 I have also been in the stream aquarium laboratory to participate in some interesting experiments. First, I have learned about the whole fishes respirometry system, made up by R. Durtsche, where we studied oxygen consumption for brown trout. Then, I’ve learned about Karl Filipsson’s experiments about climate change effects on predation on brown trout. Their behaviour, linked to the temperature and the presence or not of burbot, and how to identify it scientifically by extracting trouts‘ RNA.

 Finally, I have attended master classes for these three last weeks, which consolidated my idea to do a bachelor after my HND, and then a master, if possible, abroad.

This internship wasn’t only about studies to me, it was also about meeting new people in another country with a different way of living, and a different way of teaching. It was about making concrete links in my mind between how much I still have to learn, and how to develop into an accomplished scientist.

Thanks to John Piccolo who set up my internship, thanks to the international office of Karlstad university which helped, and thanks to Elio Bottagisio, the French master student who told me about this program. And finally, thanks to all the people who taught me things during this internship,  Richard Durtsche, Rachel Prokopius, Olle Calles, and Karl Filipsson. I hope to come back.

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.

Although most fieldwork is carried out in warmer seasons, members of the NRRV research group also go out in winter to collect information and samples for their research. Here, Richard Durtsche, visiting professor from Northern Kentucky University, writes about a field excursion that took place last week:

Andrew Harbicht, Post-Doc at Karlstad University (front) and Richard Durtsche, visiting professor from Northern Kentucky University, (back) at the field site.

“As part of a study on the energetics in natural food sources available to Salmonid fishes (trout, salmon, grayling, etc.), we have been sampling the macroinvertebrates in streams that connect to the Klarälven (Clear River) this past fall and now this winter. These investigations will focus on an increase in the accuracy of macroinvertebrate body size measurements taken with digital imaging and an increase in the accuracy of dry mass measures using an ultramicrobalance, newly acquired by Kau Biology. Energetic (caloric) content will also be determined for the different macroinvertebrate taxa. The three target macroinvertebrates groups for this study include mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera), and stoneflies (Plecoptera). These are major prey items for all life history stages of Salmonid fishes, and are often used as indicators of stream health in aquatic environmental assessment due to their sensitivity to pollutants and anthropogenic impacts. Results of this study will be useful in developing energetic models of fish foraging for management of fish population and river/stream conditions.

The team that braved the cold winter conditions and moderate snow levels on January 29th included: Richard Durtsche (NRRV visiting professor from Northern Kentucky University), Rachel Bowes (NRRV Post-Doc), Andrew Harbicht (NRRV Post-Doc), and Rachel Prokopius (exchange student from Northern Kentucky University). The stream that we were investigating was located just south of Ransäter. The water was flowing rapidly, and we initially decided to check out the stream conditions on the downhill (east) side of highway 62 to look for sampling sites. There was knee deep (or more) snow to ford before coming to forest cover where moving was easier despite many treefalls. As the streamflow was fast and the water level high, there were no safe locations to sample. So we headed west of highway 62, just off the access road. There we found good sampling habitat just downstream of a large pool that ran under a bridge on that road.

Rachel Prokopius, exchange student from Northern Kentucky University, and Richard Durtsche, measuring the stream width and flow rates.

One of the first things we did at waterside, was to collect physicochemical measures of the water conditions. These included: temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. We also measured the flow volume of water by measuring the width of the stream, and then taking the depth and flow rates every 50 cm across the stream. Water temps of 1.4°C and the tingle of cold penetrating our waders told us that today was not a good day to fall in the water. After we crossed the fast-flowing stream, we found several relatively shallow areas where we could sample invertebrates. We made a series of kick seine samples from different parts of the stream shallows to dislodge and collect invertebrates from the stones and substrate. 

It was definitely a group effort to kick stones and stream bottom, brush rocks to knock off invertebrates to be carried with stream flow into the seine, and then wash the samples into a collecting bucket. While we thought we might have limited luck, we in fact did extremely well with collecting a range of macroinvertebrates and large quantities of many of those taxa. There will be a good share of macroinvertebrate sorting and measuring upon return to the laboratory.”

Rachel Prokopius, Rachel Bowes, Post-Doc at Karlstad University, and Andrew Harbicht sampling invertebrates using a kick seine.


The team at work in the stream.


Richard Durtsche at the field site.


Close-up photo of a stonefly (Plecoptera) larva.


For the first Tuesday seminar of the year, Kristine Lund Bjørnås, PhD-student at Karlstad University, will talk about evidence synthesis in environmental science. The seminar will be held Tuesday 23 January at 13:15 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

In preparation for the seminar, Kristine writes:

”In these times of alternative facts and post truth, the role and authority of scientists in society is challenged. It is therefore important that we as scientists continue to improve our methods and communication – and one way of doing that is to increase interaction with the end-users of scientific findings. In environmental- and natural resource management, many important policy and practice decisions are not being taken based on the best available scientific evidence, even when that is an explicit management objective. For instance, in a questionnaire among conservation practitioners in England, the majority (77%) reported that they used “commonsense”, “personal experience” or “speaking to other managers” as their primary source of information prior to management actions (Sutherland et al. 2004). This might be because there is no clear understanding of what the best available scientific evidence (i.e. “what works”) is. As a response to this need for more evidence-based environmental management, systematic reviews have found their way also into environmental science.

Brown trout (Salmo trutta), the model species of Kristine’s dissertation project, in an aquarium at Karlstad University.

In this seminar I will go through the principles of systematic reviewing literature, the strengths and weaknesses of the method, and I will talk about my current review project.”


Sutherland, W.J.; Pullin, A.; Dolman, P.M. & Knight, T.M. 2004. The need for evidence-based conservation. TRENDS Ecol Evol. 19.6.

See also:

Mistra Council for Evidence-based Environmental management

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence

Dennis Lafage relatively recently started a postdoc within the NRRV-research group at Karlstad University. Here he briefly presents his background and what he plans to do during his postdoc:

My name is Denis Lafage. I recently started a post-doc in the NRRV group to work on aquatic/terrestrial exchanges. I started research after working 10 years in Nature Reserves and Conservation Agencies where I was specialized in terrestrial fauna monitoring and conservation (mainly birds, invertebrates, and bats), statistics, GIS and database management.

I completed my doctorate in 2014 from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (France). My PhD thesis was dealing with the impact of management practices and natural perturbations (mainly flooding) on arthropods (spiders and carabid beetles) and plants in meadows. It also included a study using remote sensing technics to map vegetation associations using satellite imagery.

I consider myself as a community ecologist with a particular focus on arthropods. In the NRRV group, I will particularly work on a meta-analysis on the landscape drivers of aquatic/terrestrial fluxes. I will mainly focus on studies using stable isotopes for diet partitioning. As I have a particular interest in what we could call ‘perturbation ecology’ I will also work on food webs after spring floods. I have also the chance to be the co-advisor of a PhD based in Norway aiming at forecasting the impact of climate change on fishing spiders repartition in Scandinavia. Finally, I will also be involved in various projects where my skills in terrestrial arthropod ecology are required.”

Read more about Denis Lafage on his blog denislafage.wordpress.com.

Denis Lafage, sampling spiders in Sweden.

Denis Lafage, in back, and a collegue, sampling vegetation in Nantes, France.

In Denis Lafage precious work, he has been counting birds (Flamingo) in Caramargue, France.

And capturing and counting bats in roosts (France).

The book, ”Brown Trout: Biology, Ecology and Management”, edit by Javier Lobón-Cerviá and Nuria Sanz was recently published. The book is described as ”a comprehensive guide to the most current research, history, genetics and ecology of the brown trout including challenging environmental problems”. John Piccolo and Johan Watz, both researchers at Karlstad University, have written the chapter Foraging Behaviour of Brown Trout: A Model Species For Linking Individual Ecology to Population Dynamics? They summarize their chapter as follows:

”Within the discipline of stream fish ecology, population-, community-, and even ecosystem-level patterns and processes have assumed an increasingly larger role in recent decades. It might be argued, however, that research on the behaviour of individual organisms ought still to play a major role in ecology; it is upon the individual, after all, that natural selection acts. Thus, one might reasonably expect that observing an individual fish’s behaviour should lead to robust conclusions about the fitness costs and benefits that animals must trade-off in order to achieve reproductive success. And ultimately, it is those individuals that achieve the greatest direct fitness that ought to, on average, drive the population-level processes that have attracted so much of stream fish ecologists’ attention in recent years. In linking behavioral- to population-level ecology, we are in luck when it comes to the brown trout – there is no stream fish species whose population ecology is better quantified, nor are there many species that have received more attention from behavioural ecologists. Thus we might consider the brown trout as a model species for developing the ecological understanding of how natural selection (e.g. individual, fitness-based decisions) acts to regulate stream fish populations. To forward this concept, a further development of a quantitative approach to foraging behaviour is warranted. In this chapter we review and synthesize the literature on brown trout foraging experiments with an eye towards identifying the knowledge gaps that remain to be filled in order for ecologists to quantify the fitness costs and benefits of foraging behaviour.”

The book is available (but expensive) here. For access to the specific book chapter, email John Piccolo or Johan Watz.