Kristine Lund Bjørnås recently started a licentiate position within the NRRV-research group at Karlstad University. Here she briefly presents her background and what she plans to do during her licentiate:

”Hello! My name is Kristine Lund Bjørnås and I recently started a licentiate degree (which is ½ a PhD) within the NRRV group at Karlstad University. Like Klarälven I started in Norway before I slowly found my way to Karlstad. I grew up in a town called Melhus in Mid-Norway, with one of the country’s best salmon rivers – Gaula – as a neighbour. My interest in anadromous salmonid conservation arose naturally. I have since lived and studied in Trondheim, Ås, Reykjavík, Steinkjer, and Lund before moving to Värmland.

Before Kristine Lund Bjørnås started her licentiate position she volunteered at a bird ringing station in Southern Norway. Here they have caught and ringed a young male sparrowhawk.

In my licentiate project, I am studying the spatial ecology of brown trout in local streams. My goal is to pinpoint the most cost-effective and informative method to predict living conditions for juveniles under different flow regimes and after river restoration measures. Thinking back to my hometown river system, the main focus is on the adults of the anadromous trout populations and on their conditions for spawning. The conditions for juveniles is often overlooked, but for efficient conservation of these threatened populations, we need to consider both. Which brings me back to my project. I will test if it is possible to predict the distribution, density, and growth of juveniles using habitat and fitness-based models of increasing complexity. The simplest models use physical habitat and hydrology to estimate usable area of a stream section; the most complex models – so-called drift-foraging or net energy intake models – also incorporate food (drifting insects) and foraging theory. By adding spatial and temporal variations in drift concentration given a flow, the models can be made more realistic – although a model will always be a simplification of the entire complexity of the natural world. I am sure to make mistakes, but to avoid repeating previous ones, I am doing a review of studies attempting to model drift- foraging in streams. I will start my main fieldwork in the late spring of 2018. There will be opportunities to join in on that, so stay tuned!

Autumn field survey in Örebro county. Kristine Lund Bjørnås sampling with visiting professor Kurt Fausch in the background. Photo: Carola Gutfreund.

I did my Master in Conservation Biology at Lund University. I am very interested in the broad societal and ethical discussions that arise in conservation biology. I wrote my thesis on spatial variations and potential drivers of population trends of birds breeding along the Swedish coast – in general, “warm-adapted” bird species (measured in species temperature index STI) have increased while “cold-adapted” species have declined over the last 27 years.”

Welcome to NRRV: Richard Durtsche

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | Nyheter

Richard Durtsche recently joined the NRRV-research group as a visiting professor from Northern Kentucky University, USA. Here he presents his background and some of his planned work at Karlstad University:

Richard Durtsche, visiting professor at Karlstad University.

My name is Richard Durtsche, and I am a visiting professor joining the Kau River Ecology and Management Research Group from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) where I am a Professor of Biological Sciences, the Director of the NKU Research and Education Field Station, and Curator of Vertebrate Collections. I am a physiological ecologist and herpetologist with research interests in the feeding ecology, nutrition, and physiology of amphibians, reptiles, and fish along with related impacts of invasive species; niche occupancy; and bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems. I am currently on a one-year sabbatical, and my goals include professional development and exploring new research focused on modeling of fish drift-feeding and the ecophysiology of stream fishes related to my previous work on the foraging ecology and metabolism in reptiles and amphibians. This program will also strengthen the collaboration of our recently established exchange program that now exists between NKU and Kau.

My research goals are to investigate new methodologies in foraging ecology and ecological modeling as a collaborator in studies of the eco-physiology of drift feeding and energetics in Salmonid fish (trout, salmon, etc.), and potential changes in their metabolism related to thermal changes (potential effects of climate change) during development. The first part of these investigations will focus on the increased accuracy in measurements of the mass for three different macroinvertebrate (mayfly, caddisfly, and stonefly) prey types of these fish determined from digital images. These image measurements will then be combined with caloric content measures of these prey to provide an energetic basis of these food sources. The results will then be used to 1) improve theoretical models of the energetics and drift feeding by these fish for the group’s on-going studies on stream fish ecology and management, and 2) provide a basis for using digital images, potentially from a smart device, for enhanced methods and more rapid measures to understanding how different foods can influence fish distributions, their growth and abundance. The second part of this investigation will focus on the effects elevated environmental temperature (i.e., climate change) has on the metabolism of developing fish. By evaluating fish raised at different temperatures from the same cohort of eggs, we will be able to determine the plasticity (epigenetic capacity) of these northern climate fish to altered thermal environments. Measuring metabolic capacities is one of the best ways to determine the fitness of these fish and if they have the capacity to deal with climate change.”

Tomorrow, 24 October, Richard Durtsche will give a seminar titled ”Amphibians, Wetland Aquatic Ecosystems, and the Impact of Invasive Plants”. The seminar will be given at 13:15 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University.

Kraftag ål är ett samarbete mellan Vattenkraftföretagen och Havs- och vattenmyndigheten, och utgörs av åtgärder men även forsknings- och utvecklingsinsatser för att öka ålens framgång i utbyggda vattendrag. Kraftag åls slutseminarium arrangeras den 21 November i Stockholm, och organisatörerna bjuder in till att ”ta del av ny kunskap från utvecklingsprojekt och hör om frivilliga åtgärder som gjorts för ålen i vattendrag och vid kusten”. Seminariets presentationer behandlar bland annat fysiska avledare för nedströmsvandrande fisk, för ålen skonsam kraftverksdrift, möjligheter att övervaka ålvandringen, transporter av blankål och utsättning av ålyngel. Läs seminariets hela program, och anmäl dig, här: www.energiforsk.se/konferenser/krafttag-al/#

Tomorrow, 26 September, Rachel Bowes, postdoctoral researcher at Karlstad University, will give a seminar on ”Temporally analyzing river food webs”. The seminar will be given at 13:15 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

I Klarälven samexisterar bland annat fisk, sportfiske, turism, vattenkraft och frilufsliv i ett område med skogsbruk, industri och jordbruk.

Beatrice Hedelin, forskare med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning inom NRRV, publicerade nyligen en artikel med titeln ”Participatory modelling for sustainable development: Key issues derived from five cases of natural resource and disaster risk management”. Artikeln presenterar en studie av Participatory Modelling. Det handlar om  ett modell-verktyg som kan användas som stöd för att driva en besluts/planeringsprocess som involverar de som är berörda. För att dels få kunskap om systemet, men även göra beslutsprocessen mer transparent, demokratisk och inkluderande. Det handlar alltså inte bara om att få kunskap om systemet utan om hur modeller kan användas för att bidra till  besluts-/planeringsprocesser. I ett rinnande vatten perspektiv kan till exempel geohydrologiska data (grundvattennivåer, nederbörd, flöden, uttag av vatten, avrinning), biologiska data (förekomst av nyckelarter, siktdjup, pH), ekonomiska data (kostnad för vattenuttag, kostnad för gödsel, inkomster från turismnäring) modelleras tillsammans med information om, och aktivt deltagande från, deltagare såsom allmänhet, kommuner, länsstyrelse, sportfiskeföreningar, lantbrukare/LRF, fastighetsägare, nationella myndigheter, turistförening.

Beatrice Hedelin beskriver själv artikeln: ”Artikeln presenterar en studie där jag och kollegor från Linköpings universitet (Anna Jonsson, numera SMHI), Lunds universitet (Johanna Alkan-Olsson) och Bonn universitet (Mariele Evers) studerar fem fall av s k participatory modelling (deltagande modellering). Participatory modelling (PM) är ett underfält till både participatory planning och environmnetal modelling, där man utvecklar och tillämpar verktyg för att stödja deltagande i planering och förvaltning av naturresurser. Modeller av socio-ekologiska system, som exempelvis ett älvsystem eller ett marint reservat, är centrala delar i verktygen. Modellverktygen är ofta datorbaserade och kan vara av olika sorter, från avancerade matematiska simuleringsmodeller av socio-ekologiska system som kräver mycket data, till verktyg som bygger på en mer förenklad modell av systemen och på olika gruppers förståelse av hur systemen fungerar, exempelvis vilka konsekvenser ett visst uttag av fisk skulle få.

De fem fall som analyseras i studien är alla relativt omfattande forskningsprojekt i Sverige, EU och Indien som rör PM inom naturresurs- och naturriskhantering. Genom att analysera de medverkande forskarnas kunskaper och erfarenheter från fallen bidrar studien till att identifiera kritiska frågor för fortsatt forskning inom PM. Studien indikerar att det finns en stor potential inom PM att stödja kunskapsintegrering och lärande hos de som är involverade i processerna, om de socio-ekologiska systemen som studeras och om förståelser av dem. Dessutom stödjer de studerade fallen transparens i beslutsprocesserna. De studerade fallen indikerar vidare att det finns ett stort behov av forskning och utveckling vad gäller PM:s förmåga att stödja helhetssyn m a p organisering, exempelvis genom att skapa strukturer för organisatoriskt lärande eller för att koppla samman PM-processen med dess politiska och organisatoriska sammanhang. Dessa frågor är tätt kopplade till möjligheten att implementera PM i praktiken.”

Läs abstrakt till artiklen här. Saknar du tillgång till tidskriftens innehåll, kontakt någon av författarna.

NRRV i media

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | Nyheter

Under sommarmånaderna har NRRV-forskares arbete eller expertis uppmärksammats i olika media. Hallandsposten skrev om passagestudier med ålyngelstudier i Laholm och intervjuade Jonas Elghagen, Lutz Eckstein intervjuades angående den invasiva lupinen i Värmlands Folkblad,och en av Anders Nilssons senaste artiklar – om hur mört-braxen-hybrider är känsligare för predation än braxen och mört –  uppmärksammades av The Economist.

On 28-29 August, 2017, a workshop on ”Research and Teaching for Sustainability and Stewardship will be organized at Karlstad University. The workshop’s goals are to ”introduce sustainability and stewardship topics to faculty and students at Kau and to develop research and teaching collaborations for future projects.”  The first day will be spent on presentations about international perspectives of sustainability and stewardship. On the second day Karlstad University’s Education for Sustainable Development and Service Research Center research groups will present some of their related research. See detailed schedule below:

Monday 28 August

13.15: Ricardo Rozzi, University of North Texas, USA & Universidad de Magallanes, Chile: Earth Stewardship and biocultural ethics”

13.45: Shan Gao, Soochow University, China: ”Environmental Ethics: A perspective from China”

14.15: Maria Teresa LaValle, UNTREF/SADAF, Argentina: ”A perspective from Argentina”

14.45: John Piccolo, KAU: ”A moral compass for planetary boundaries”

15.15: Coffee break

15.45 – 17.00 Discussions 

Tuesday 29 August

10.00: Niklas Gericke, KAU: ”The effect of education for sustainable development in the Swedish school system”

10.30: Teresa Berglund/Daniel Olsson, KAU: ”Case studies in Education for Sustainable Development”

11:00: Bo Enquist & Samuel Petros Sebhatu, KAU: “Stewardship and Hyper norms for Systemic Governance in Global Society”

11.30: Discussions

12.00: Lunch

13.15-15.00: Discussions

All talks will be given in Room 5F322, at Karlstad University. Everyone is welcome to attend the workshop. Register to john.piccolo@kau.se if you wish to attend.

Rachel Bowes has recently joined the NRRV-research group. Here she writes about her previous work and what she intends to do as a postdoc at Karlstad University:

rachel3

Rachel Bowes (right) with Brendan Martin, sampling algae.

”Hello! I’m Rachel Bowes and I am so excited to be joining NRRV! I just wanted to take a moment and tell you a little about me and my previous research. I have always had a deep appreciation and fascination for the natural world, and this has developed over the years into an insatiable desire to learn everything I possibly can about it. Not only do I want to discover, but I want to share these findings with everyone, and protect the Earth that I care about so much.

I completed my doctorate in May 2016 from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas (KU). My dissertation was entitled: Temporal Analysis of River Food Webs. Rivers and their tributaries are the arteries of the planet, pumping freshwater to wetlands and lakes and out to sea. Understanding energy flow up trophic levels, nutrient cycling pathways, and relative importance of terrestrial and aquatic carbon sources supporting aquatic consumers in large river food webs is essential in planning for wildlife conservation, environmental protection, and floodplain management. The principal goal of my dissertation was to understand better the factors controlling the complexity of river food webs through time.

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Rachel Bowes (right) with Holly Lafferty, seining for fish in the Kansas River.

At a shorter time scale, I first looked at how season and food availability affect fish in rivers. I employed bulk tissue stable isotope analysis to determine trophic position of fish in the field, over different seasons, and fish in the lab, under different amounts of nutrient stress.

In the remaining chapters of my dissertation, I utilized a new technique, applying nitrogen and carbon stable isotope analysis of amino acids to samples to determine trophic position and carbon food sources over time.  First, I demonstrated the utility these new methods in a controlled feeding experiment in the laboratory, determining fish trophic positions. I showed that the new methods seemed to offer more accuracy and precision in trophic position estimates when compared to more traditional methods of bulk tissue isotope analysis. With these new analytical methods, I proposed multidimensional metrics for use with compound specific analyses of food webs, as well as other multidimensional community measures (e.g., fatty acids, ordinal traits). Then, I evaluated long-term historical changes in trophic position and food sources of fish museum specimens using amino acid stable isotope analyses of both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

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Rachel Bowes (right) in the laboratory at University of Kansas.

Rivers are among the most extensively altered ecosystems on earth. Over 60% of the world’s large river basins are now affected by dams for irrigation, urban development, navigation, and energy production. Many countries are recognizing the negative implications of these impoundments and are now actively removing dams. For my post-doc research here at Karlstad, I will be using my expertise in stable isotopes to look at river connectivity and the implications of dam removal on river ecosystems. There are several potential facets that we will be looking at, including fish movement, population genetics, and transfer of nutrients from marine to freshwater to terrestrial ecosystems. Stay tuned for more developments coming soon!

If you want to follow my current research and its progress, learn more about specific projects I have been involved in previously, or read about my diverse teaching experiences, please visit my website: rebowesecology.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @EcologyRachel.”

A graduate student position (licentiate) in the field stream fish ecology and habitat use, is now open for applicants at Karlstad University. The position is a full time position for 2 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.