In a recent study published in Global Change Biology, scientists have developed new methods to assess the vulnerabilities of aquatic ecosystems to climate change.
Freshwater ecosystems are experiencing rapid drops in biodiversity and water quality due to a range of threats, including pollution, invasive species and climate change. Focusing on the role of these ecosystems in supporting biological diversity and rare and endemic species, the researchers highlight groundwater as an important habitat supporting organisms in dealing with increasingly arid conditions.
The study also found that permanent water bodies were critical in supporting evolutionary diversity, while water bodies that fill occasionally due to flooding and storms were important in supporting mobile species such as many fish and waterfowl.
Image: Yulong River Valley (Credit: HodgsonB, via Wikimedia Commons)