On Thursday 23 August Steve Railsback from Humboldt State University, California USA, will give a seminar at Karlstad University titled: “Can Big Complex Models be Useful? Lessons from 20 Years of Salmonid Modeling for River Management”.

The seminar will start at 10:00 in room 5F416, everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.

Steve will give a brief overview and history of individual-based trout and salmon models, and provide examples of how the modeling experience produced general knowledge about ecology and fish.

Read more about Steve’s work on individual-based modeling and ecology here.

 

 

During the spring semester the master’s course Scientific methods in freshwater ecology is given at Karlstad University. The course is held by researchers from the NRRV research group, and is included in the master program in ecology and conservation biology at Karlstad University. The course is available for distance students, and most students on the course live in other places in Sweden than Karlstad. We also have international students on the course, this year from both Europe, North America and Africa. In 2018, some parts of the course were carried out together with a visiting student group from Northern Kentucky University.

Here follows a report of the field and laboratory work carried out by the students on the course in 2018.

The first practical session started Monday 24 April, and focused on fish tagging and laboratory studies. The week started with Professor Erik Petersson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) having a lecture on ethics and legislation concerning animal experimentation. Thereafter the students had practical training in fish handling and sedation. The following days were spent at the laboratory facilities at Karlstad University, where students practiced different methods for tagging fish. The students also conducted experiments in the stream aquarium laboratory, where they examined how the drift-feeding behavior of juvenile brown trout changed in the presence of a predatory fish. This gave the students an opportunity to plan and conduct a laboratory study from the beginning to the end.

After the laboratory session in Karlstad, the week continued in Mörrum in southeastern Sweden. The course was given a tour of the area and shown remedial measures to facilitate fish migration in the regulated river Mörrumsån. In addition, the students conducted a field study where they looked at downstream migration of Atlantic salmon.

Laboratory experiments in the stream aquarium lab at Karlstad University.

 

Field studies at river Mörrumsån.

 

A month later, a second course gathering was held in Karlstad, this time focusing on benthic invertebrate sampling and electrofishing. This course module was carried out together with a visiting student group from Northern Kentucky University. The first day was spent at river Rannån, where students learned different methods to measure abiotic conditions in running waters and how to sample benthic fauna. The second day was spent at river Djupedalsbäcken where the students practiced electrofishing, which resulted in that all students on the course became certified electrofishers. Electrofishing is the most common method used for monitoring fish populations in streams. Therefore, it is a valuable skill for people interested in pursuing a career in stream fish ecology.

Fieldwork in river Rannån, where the students measured abiotic conditions and sampled benthic fauna.

 

Electrofishing in Djupedalsbäcken.

 

A brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) captured during the electrofishing.

 

Teachers and students from Karlstad University and Northern Kentucky University at the electrofishing site.


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.”

References:

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