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Ecology of the common Meuse

Status: Active

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Joshua Climo

Radboud University


Gaining insight into the drivers of the current ecological state can help in improve it efficiently.

Motivation and Practical Challenge

The project focusses on restoring an adequate ecological situation in the Common Meuse. Personally, my motivation with this project consists of two main drivers; 1) I hope to meaningfully contribute to nature conservation in the Netherlands and 2) I love working outside, especially in aquatic systems (which for me are still full of wonder and inspire my efforts). Impact we aim for is to instigate a change and prioritization of ecological conservation. This change is intended to be communicated directly to water management agencies.

Research Challenge

What are the main drivers for the current ecological state of the Common Meuse and how can we improve the ecological situation?
This is performed in close collaboration whit Utrecht University; they focus on hydrology and morphology, we on ecology.

Innovative Components

We are planning to approach the system in three ways;

  1. Analyze existing data (e.g., annual macro-invertebrate sampling efforts),
  2. Model the system (e.g., hydrodynamical models) and
  3. Perform extensive fieldwork. Problems that arise in this system (e.g. sudden water level fluctuations and poor sediment conditions) occur in many systems worldwide. Gaining in depth insight into these problems potentially adds to mitigating these problems in the future, here and elsewhere.

Relevant for whom and where?

First users are the Dutch water agency (RWS), secondly it contributes to the scientific community.

Findings and practical application

As of today we still have very limited results:

  • Community composition is dominated by species that prefer stagnant water conditions.
  • Macro-invertebrate abundance is very low (four times lower than in the surrounding streams)
  • Macro-invertebrate communities are dominated by invasive species and lack characteristic riverine species.

Status for day to day practice

Use the data to improve ecological bottlenecks (e.g., the river needs more water in summer).

Next steps

We need (way) more extensive data about the system. Starting with abiotic data (e.g., continuous temperature and oxygen profiles), leading to biotic data (i.e., extensive community mapping over a diverse range of locations in the river).

Last modified: 21/03/2024

Project outputs

Investigating drivers of the ecological functioning of the Common Meuse

28/02/2024 by Joshua Climo

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Bevat: Abstract