Amy Newsom on lake Alstern.

In August and September 2018, Amy Newsom from Germany visited Karlstad University and did an internship with NRRV. Here she writes about her months at Karlstad University.

“Having spent a year at Karlstad University as an exchange student in 2017 in the framework of my bachelor program “Environmental and Sustainability Studies” at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany, I had already been able to gain a first impression of the university’s biology department, which sparked my interest in freshwater ecology. Consequently, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Naturresurs rinnande vatten Team for a six-week internship in August and September of 2018.

During the weeks I spent at Karlstad University, I was able to work with different researchers, getting to know a variety of projects and greatly extending my previous knowledge on freshwater and riparian ecology, in particular river connectivity. My main aim in this internship was to gain more practical research experience, so I was glad to be able to spend a lot of time both in the lab and in the field. For example, my work included processing raw data on the ventilation rates of young trout to assess differences in metabolism efficiency, counting the eggs of spiders gathered in the field and preparing samples for stable isotope analysis to assess the impact of hydro dams on food web interactions of fish. This was a particularly interesting experience as stable isotope analysis was a new scientific procedure to me, and I was keen to learn more about it. I was also excited to join in some of the field work conducted during my time at NRRV, collecting fish, invertebrates and plankton samples from the lake Alstern and electrofishing in the rivers Mörrumsån and Emån to assess the overall community composition at different sites. I was furthermore able to gain valuable insights into the design of research experiments while accompanying the setting up of an experimental flume in Älvkarleby and the preparation of eel traps in the river Alsterälven. In the time I spent in the office, I was also able to gather more experience in data analysis and scientific writing, both helpful preparations for my upcoming bachelor thesis.

Amy Newsom dissecting a crayfish.

Returning to Karlstad also gave me the opportunity to improve my Swedish, reconnect with old friends and make new contacts, as well as further explore the forests, rivers and lakes in the area that I have come to love so much. My thanks go out to John Piccolo, on whose invitation I was able join NRRV as an intern, the International Offices both in Karlstad and at my home university for helping me with the administrative process, and the German foundation Meifort Stiftung, whose generous support made this internship possible for me. I am also incredibly grateful to all the researchers at the KAU biology department who warmly welcomed me into their team, took the time to introduce me to their work and helped me gain new knowledge and experience, in particular Olle Calles, Rachel Bowes, Larry Greenberg, Denis Lafage, Karl Filipsson, Andrew Harbicht, Lovisa Lind and Niclas Carlsson.”

Amy Newsom and Andrew Harbicht (NRRV-postdoc) electrofishing in river Mörrumsån.

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.

Andrew Harbicht 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:

“Hello, my name is Andrew Harbicht and I’m one of the new Post-Docs to have joined the NRRV. My research experience has primarily been focused on salmonids (rainbow trout, brook charr, and Atlantic salmon) and extends from fisheries modeling to population genetics and radio telemetry. I moved to Karlstad from Montreal, Canada, where I conducted my Ph.D. at Concordia University, working together with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Atlantic salmon restoration in Lake Champlain. During that time we investigated the impacts of hatchery rearing and release techniques on the lifetime survival and dispersal rates of landlocked salmon and investigated the impact of a thiamine deficiency on the migratory capabilities of returning spawners.

My work with this group will focus on the implications of migratory barriers for longitudinal connectivity among Atlantic salmon populations in the Baltic Sea. With the ever-increasing efficiency of new hydroelectric turbines and the costs associated with maintaining outdated installations, more and more energy producers are opting to remove older facilities to focus their efforts on newer structures. The removal of such aging dams and other barriers to migration within rivers is undoubtedly a positive step for river connectivity, though exactly what changes will occur as a result of such actions is simply unknown in many situations. In fact, over the short term, the removal of barriers can cause as many changes as initial installation. In other situations, maintaining instream infrastructure may be the best option available to energy producer. In which case, including structures that permit fish passage is important, but which type of structure is best suited to the job isn’t always clear. Where several options exist, managers need access to accurate information to assist in their decision-making process.

With my project, I’ll be looking at the impact of removing a partial barrier to migration on the movement patterns of Atlantic salmon, as well as the river ecosystem itself in the Mörrumsån river in southern Sweden. Our holistic approach will monitor all levels of the ecosystem, from the mechanisms that shape river terrain (sedimentation) to the smallest bacteria (decomposition) and the largest predators (fish), as well as all things in between (food-webs). I will also be investigating the genetic consequences of changes in movement patterns that result from the removal of a hydroelectric plant. In another river, the river Emån, we’ll be assessing the performance of a new type of fish lift, and Archimedes screw, which permits upstream and downstream passage, all the while producing its own energy. If found to be effective, such devices could greatly improve connectivity in fragmented river landscapes.”

Andrew Harbicht (left) and William Ardren (right) releasing tagged fish in the Boquet River, a  tributary to Lake Champlain.

Andrew Harbicht tracking radio tagged Atlantic salmon.

Forskargruppen Naturresurs rinnande vatten vid Karlstads Universitet söker en eller två projektassistenter för arbete inom två forskningsprojekt på effekterna av dammutrivning. Det första projektet finansieras av KK-stiftelsen och bedrivs i Mörrumsån i samarbete med Sveaskog, Uniper vattenkraft och Power house, medan det andra projektet finansieras direkt av Karlstads universitet och bedrivs i Nianån, Gnarpsån och Enångersån (Hälsingland) i samarbete med Hudiksvalls kommun.

Projektassistenten/assitenternas arbetsuppgifter består i att i samverkan med övriga projektdeltagare genomföra fältaktiviteter som t.ex. telemetristudier på vandrande fisk, elfiske, provtagning av bottenfauna, inventering av växtsamhällen och bidra till att sammanställa insamlad data.

Läs mer om tjänsterna, och ansök, på Karlstads Universitets rekryteringshemsida. Sista ansökningsdag är den 24 maj, och anställningarna är tidsbegränsade. Mer information om projekten finns i bloggartiklarna Dammutrivning och fiskvänliga turbiner (Mörrumsån) och Dammutrivning i Gnarpsån och Nianån.

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 eller på

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

Dam Removal Europe in León

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | International

Last week a Dam Removal Europe workshop was organized in León, Spain. Dan Removal Europe partners gathered managers, conservation organizations, and researchers to discuss experiences and future work on dam removal. From Karlstad University Olle Calles presented on dam removal projects in Örebro county, Mörrumsån, Nianån and Gnarpsån. Lissie de Groot, an Erasmus trainee at Karlstad University and World Fish Migration Foundation, presented her ongoing work on developing a GIS-tool for dam removals in Europe. Other presentation spanned from dam removal in the local Duero basin to large removal projects in the Penobscot River, USA, with interesting presentations also from England, Finland, France and other parts of Spain. PDF:s from most presentations can be downloaded here.


A small dam was actually being removed during the workshop’s field trip.

The Duero Basin Authority has produced a short film about fish migration, dam passage, and river restoration i Spain. It is available online (with subtitles) here.

Kraftverk ska rivas i Mörrumsån

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | Nyheter

SVT rapporterar om en planerad kraftverksutrivning i Mörrumsån. Det är Mariebergs kraftverk, vandringshindret närmast havet som ska rivas. Genom att den gamla laxtrappan ersätts med fri passage ökas vandringsmöjligheterna för fisk samtidigt som utrivningen återskapar gamla strömvattenhabitat i vattendraget. Åtgården förväntas gynna laxen och ha en positiv inverkan på lokalt fiske och friluftsliv. Se inslaget på SVT nedan och passa på att kolla in NRRV:s arbete i Mörrumsån.


En forskningsrapport med titeln “Granö fiskavledare” har nyligen färdigställts. Författarna Jonas Christiansson, Simon Karlsson och Olle Calles introducerar den så här: “Två år, fyra säsonger, ca 11000mil i bil, nästan 300 märkta ålar, ett spräckt ögonbryn och ett dött rådjur. Ja, det är mycket slit, strul och lösningar som ligger bakom denna rapport som handlar om utvärderingen av den nya fiskavledaren i Granö, Mörrumsån. Vi hoppas att rapporten ska nå ut till intresserade privatpersoner samt professionella och den belyser verkligen behovet av att faktiskt utvärdera fiskvägarna som man bygger. Att inte bara förlita sig på att fiskvägen finns, och därför fungerar den, vilket inte alltid är fallet. Situationen för utvandrande blankål från Åsnen och i Mörrumsån har avsevärt förbättras i och med installationen av denna fiskavledare, men arbete återstår innan man besitter tillräcklig kunskap om exakt hur en avledare ska utformas på olika platser och hur detta ska kommuniceras till beställare, ingenjörer och tillverkare. Trevlig Läsning!”

Läs abstract här eller klicka på bilden nedan för att komma till rapporten.


Huvudförhandling om åtgärder vid kraftverken i övre Mörrumsån pågår under tre dagar. Omlöp och låglutande galler för de vandrande fiskarterna, eller bara en “laxtrappa” enligt 1918 års vattenlag? Därom tvista bl.a. kraftbolag och Kammarkollegiet. Nrrv:s bidrag bestod i klargöranden om passageåtgärders utformning, placering och fördelning av vatten. Två dagar återstår och utfallet blir avgörande för Mörrumsån i framtiden? Glädjande att se att årets uppvandring av laxfisk är den största på mer än 20 år.

Kolla in fiskräknarna i Mörrumsån:

Avledaren startades upp den 3/4 av Carl-Gustav som nu har vittjat den två gånger och nu den senaste, imorse, gav tre stycken ålar! Kanske ett tydligare vårtecken än vädret!?