Special Sessions

Special Sessions

Oral and poster communications will be available for viewing on demand prior to the start of the congress. The discussion with authors will take place during the congress in Discussion Sessions, specific to each regular session (see calendar). In these sessions authors of oral presentations and posters will be present, together with a moderator. You can also interact with the authors through enabled fórum.

SS1. New challenges in management water and aquatic ecosystems in a changing world

Inland waters are systems of high diversity and where ecological services take place from which our society benefits. Inland waters are under strong pressure from our activities (irrigation, pollution, hydromorphological alterations and others) that put biodiversity and ecosystem services at risk. This special session is aimed at industry professionals, environmental managers and academics with work and interest in biomonitoring and environmental restoration. The objective is to provide a space for professionals to share their experience in order to allow more efficient use of water resources while minimizing environmental impacts. The session will allow the academy to know what are the challenges and problems that environmental managers face. Likewise, industrial agents and environmental managers can find the most suitable scientific support for their decisions.

Session organizers:

Romina Álvarez-Troncoso (Universidade de Vigo, ralvareztroncoso@gmail.com)

Manuel Graça (Universidade de Coimbra, mgraca@ci.uc.pt)

SS2. The nitrogen cycle in inland waters: natural and human-driven processes

Nitrogen is one of the primary nutrients in nature, playing a critical role for the survival of all living organisms. In inland waters, nitrogen is processed from the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems through different microbial transformations as nitrogen fixation, nitrification, denitrification, anammox, and ammonification. Since the mid-1900s, these environments have been severely impacted by the increase of nitrogen loading as a result of human activity. Although the human intervention in the nitrogen cycle exceeds all other human interventions in the cycles of nature, it has received less attention than other global biogeochemical cycles (e.g. carbon). The role of inland waters in the nitrogen cycle is still not well known. Several questions about their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. N2O budget) or how human activities alter their natural nitrogen functioning still remain to be answered. In this special session, we encourage contributions focused on the major processes as well as main factors controlling the nitrogen fate in natural and artificial inland aquatic ecosystems. Contributions on attenuation of pollutants and anthropogenic activities affecting the nitrogen cycle in wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, running waters and groundwater are welcome; especially those related to microbial metabolisms, isotope labelling studies, aquatic-terrestrial interfaces, and N2O fluxes.

Session organizers:

Elizabeth León Palmero (Instituto del Agua & Departamento de Ecología, Universidad de Granada, eleonpalmero@ugr.es)

Nicolas Valiente Parra (Centre for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, n.v.parra@ibv.uio.no)

Elena Villar Navarro (Instituto Universitario de Investigación Marina (INMAR) & Departamento de Tecnologías del Medio Ambiente, Universidad de Cádiz. elena.villar@uca.es)

SS3. Water quality of reservoirs: monitoring tools and challenges for the future

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the key European legislation in terms of water policy and protection, which has been in place since 2000. While the WFD assessment scheme is conceptually and technically well developed for rivers, water quality evaluation in reservoirs lacks depth and an adequate toolbox for predictive or retrospective analyses. In part, this is due to their artificial nature, which led to the creation of the concept of “ecological potential” instead of the WFD paradigm of “ecological status”. Notwithstanding, reservoirs are among the most important freshwater ecosystems for human needs, and are therefore under enormous pressure (water abstraction, fisheries, pollution). Particularly in the last decades, this pressure has been heightened by climate change, including extreme events such as droughts and floods, and its direct or indirect influence on the spread of emergent chemical pollutants or biotic agents (invasive species, pathogens or their vectors). This has led or may lead in the future to water availability crises (scarcity in quantity or quality) and conflicts over the use of water. For this reason, novel tools for the assessment of water quality or ecological potential are much needed, and this session is opened to contributions on predictive models, conceptual assessment frameworks, or indicator metrics (functional, structural, ecotoxicological) to complement or replace the existent WFD assessment scheme for reservoirs.

Session organizers:

Sara C. Antunes CIIMAR (Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental Universidade do Porto, scantunes@fc.up.pt)

Eduardo Vicente (Universidad de Valencia, eduardo.vicente@uv.es)

Javier Armengol (Universidad de Valencia, Javier.Armengol@uv.es)

Bruno Castro (Universidade do Minho, brunocastro@bio.uminho.pt)

Pedro Anastácio (Universidade de Évora, anast@uevora.pt)

Marcelo Pompêo (Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brasil, mpompeo@ib.usp.br)

SS4. Effects of contaminants on aquatic systems: from cells to ecosystems

Good water quality is essential to support freshwater ecosystems and their associated services. Population growth and climate change are increasing the pressure upon freshwater ecosystems and decreasing water quality through point (e.g. wastewaters, industry, mining, etc) and diffuse (e.g. atmospheric depositions to surface waters) pollution sources. Understanding how contaminants interact with the different elements of aquatic systems, from single cells to individuals and ecosystem processes, is crucial for the development and implementation of management practices. Moreover, the effect of pollution under a multiple-stress scenario (e.g. water scarcity vs. base flow) is rarely taken into account in terms of regulatory policies, although the scientific community is starting to address this question in a systematic manner. With the aim of revealing the effects of direct and indirect pollution sources under a myriad of different environmental settings, we seek for contributions across all scales; ranging from molecular ecotoxicology, to studies at the population and the ecosystem level. Studies dealing with pollutants transformation, attenuation and transport are also welcome.

Session organizers:

Míriam Colls (Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) and University of Girona (UdG), mcolls@icra.cat)

Ferran Romero (Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) and University of Girona (UdG), ferran.romero@gmail.com)

Andrea G. Bravo (Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), andrea.bravo@icm.csic.es)

SS5. DNA barcoding, (e)DNA metabarcoding and metagenomics to address ecological and evolutionary questions in aquatic ecosystems

The conservation and sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems is a priority in environmental programs worldwide. These aims are, however, highly dependent on the efficiency, accuracy and cost of existent methods for the detection of species and monitoring of biological communities. The ongoing fast advances in DNA barcoding and (e)DNA metabarcoding promoted by high-throughput sequencing technologies are starting to revolutionize the field of bioassessment. Presently, new indices based on molecular methods are being proposed, as well as tools to detect rare species, either threatened or introduced. Moreover, DNA metagenomics begins to unveil eco-evolutionary patterns at multiple scales. The aim of this session is to provide an updated and broad perspective of the current developments in this fast-developing field, across the Iberian Peninsula, South America and elsewhere, and promote the knowledge interchange and discussion about future research directions.

Session organizers:

Maria João Feio (MARE – Ucoimbra, mjf@ci.uc.pt)

Sofia Duarte (Universidade do Minho, sduarte@bio.uminho.pt)

Ana Filipa Filipe (CIBIO-InBIO, affilipe@gmail.com)

SS6. Biogeochemistry of the carbon cycle

Lotic and lenitic systems are highly active ecosystems in the exchange and transport of carbon with surrounding habitats, or other compartments such as the atmosphere. Biogeochemical studies of carbon allow to know the functioning of these systems and are highly relevant to understand their role in the carbon cycle. The biogeochemistry of rivers, lakes, wetlands or reservoirs can be approached from multiple perspectives, and at different scales, from local or regional, to global. The variability of aquatic ecosystems and their characteristics also widens the complexity when addressing the C-cycle, with different processes depending on multiple factors. Currently, in a climate change framework, there is a growing need to improve the understanding of all these carbon related processes, the quantification of both organic and inorganic flows, their budgets in different compartments, and their stocks. This information, in addition, can be used as a basis to improve the ecosystems’ conservation and strengthen its adaptive capacity and climatic regulatory role. In this session, we intend to share works that address the biogeochemistry of carbon in aquatic ecosystems, linked to the carbon dynamics from multiple perspectives, such as, e.g. metabolic and microbial processes, gas exchange flows with the atmosphere, inorganic processes within the water, or quantification of the carbon stock stored, among others. Contributions that expose the response of these processes or flows to hydrological effects, to changes in the environment or the system, as well as to environmental changes e.g. the effects of climate change, are also expected.

Session organizers:

Daniel Morant (Universitat de València, daniel.morant@uv.es)

Daniel von Schiller (Universitat de Barcelona, d.vonschiller@ub.edu)

Marisa Arce (CEBAS-CSIC marisarce@cebas.csic.es)

Maria Belenguer (Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, maria.belenguer@irta.cat)

Antonio Camacho (Universitat de València, antonio.camacho@uv.es)

SS7. Beyond the natural sciences tool-box: what social sciences and humanities can teach us about freshwater ecosystems

The conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems cannot be achieved without considering human perceptions, actions, and interests around these systems. It is necessary to generate a new science that is capable of responding urgently to the sustainability challenge: researchers must interact with social actors to produce knowledge that is truly credible and applicable to ecosystem management, based on their recognition as socio-ecological systems. This session aims putting together current research that incorporates methodologies from the social sciences and humanities in the study of freshwater ecosystems. The session aims to include, but is not limited to: monetary and non-monetary valuations, social perception studies, stakeholders’ views, environmental history approaches, social media analysis, multiple values studies, aesthetics studies, and citizen science. We welcome all innovative, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary studies, those that combine natural and social sciences, especially research that blurs the boundaries between disciplines. The session will promote mutual learning among participants, hoping to lead into future collaborations. A bigger and more inclusive picture of freshwater ecosystems will provide a better understanding of these complex ecosystems, which should be the base for actionable management outcomes.

Session organizer:

Pablo Rodríguez-Lozano (University of the Balearic Islands, pablo.rodriguez@uib.es)

SS8. Metacommunity ecology in aquatic ecosystems: applications, innovations and challenges

Metacommunity theory is a very useful conceptual and methodological framework for understanding how regional biodiversity is influenced by the dispersal of organisms. The theory combines environmental and landscape processes to understand the assemblages of local communities within a wider spatial context. The metacommunity framework is still evolving, with new interesting avenues being explored, for example: the application of metacommunity theory in biodiversity conservation and reserve design; the incorporation of metacommunities into biomonitoring; the inclusion of species interactions into metacommunity models. This special session will welcome talks on metacommunity dynamics in aquatic ecosystems and we especially encourage talks on applied perspectives of the metacommunity theory and/or methodological challenges and innovations within metacommunity ecology.

Session organizers:

Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles (FHEM-Lab, UB, mcanedo.fem@gmail.com).

José María Fernández Calero (FHEM-Lab, UB, josefernandezcalero@ub.edu)

Nuria Cid (IRSTEA, France ; FEHM-Lab, UB, nuria.cid-puey@irstea.fr)

SS9. The tech revolution: Improving aquatic biogeochemical knowledge through new approaches and methodologies

The cycling of carbon and nutrients in streams and lakes is essential for understanding the role of aquatic ecosystems on global biogeochemical cycles. In the last years, our knowledge of aquatic biogeochemical cycles has largely benefited from new technological advances and the observation of previously understudied systems The advent of high frequency monitoring of aquatic physical and chemical constituents have shed light on the controls of in-stream metabolism and solute dynamics, while high throughput analytical methods in chemistry and molecular biology have allowed the connections between metabolic pathways and microorganisms. Moreover, advances in satellite-borne sensors, drones and robots have led the improvement of estimates of water bodies surface, in situ aquatic biogeochemical processes, and aquatic systems contribution on global biogeochemical cycles. Finally, low-cost technical applications using a do-it yourself philosophy have enabled large-scale citizen science and coordinated collaborative projects at relative low cost. In this session, we aim to discuss how new approaches and methodologies are used to provide breakthroughs on the aquatic biogeochemical field. Specifically, we seek to learn and synthesize the value of these methodologies for understanding aquatic carbon and nutrient dynamics across different scales and systems, as well as their opportunities, challenges and weaknesses. We welcome contributions in all type of aquatic ecosystems that use new technological developments or approaches (e.g., high-frequency sensors, mass spectrometry, gene sequencing, satellite images, citizen science) to face critical up-to-date ecological questions in aquatic sciences. Collaboration among researchers using an array of approaches to measure solute cycling at different scales will broaden our understanding of ecosystem fluxes under current and future global change.

Session organizers:

Anna Lupon (Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), Spain,  anna.lupon@gmail.com)

Núria Catalán (Institut Català de Recerca de l’Aigua (ICRA), Girona, Spain; ncatalangarcia@gmail.com)

Sílvia Poblador (University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; spoblador@gmail.com)

Ada Pastor (Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, Denmark; adapastor@bios.au.dk)

SS10. Tropical limnology in the Americas: current status and future perspectives

Tropical aquatic ecosystems provide several environmental services and important ecological functions at local and global scales. However, many of the ecological processes that occur in them are not well known yet and represent lost links in global ecological and biogeochemical models. American tropical aquatic ecosystems contribute significantly to both climate modulation and global biogeochemical cycles but there is still much uncertainty about its extent, ecosystem types and ecological functioning. The conversion and disappearance of tropical water bodies in the American tropical region is very high, but their rates and impacts are unknown. This special session focuses on collecting those differential ecological processes observed in tropical aquatic environments so that they contribute to improve theoretical limnology, determining the ecological status and the main environmental impacts that threaten its vulnerability and detecting what issues need to be enhanced to improve our knowledge about these ecosystems in the changing world of the 21st century. Researchers from all fields of tropical limnology are invited to participate, with special emphasis on those dedicated to the study of ecosystem processes. This special session is intended to generate a critical discussion about the validity of our current knowledge in tropical aquatic ecology, assessing in what position we are facing the great paradigms of contemporary limnology.

Session Organizers:

Salvador Sánchez-Carrillo (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC, España, sanchez.carrillo@mncn.csic.es)

Martín Merino-Ibarra (Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología-UNAM, México, mmerino@cmarl.unam.mx)

Javier Alcocer (FES-Iztacala-UNAM, México, jalcocer@unam.mx)

SS11. EU Projects Workshop: exchanging experience in IAS management and awareness

Abstract: Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are considered to be a leading cause of species decline and extinction in freshwater systems. International trade is intimately linked with the increasingly numbers of detrimental IAS that can cause irreversible economic losses and high environmental impacts. Currently, the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on IAS obliges all EU member states to take steps towards managing and preventing the spread of invasive alien species. In fact, several EU projects have been working in these topics for years. LIFE INVASAQUA Project (LIFE LIFE17 GIE/ES/000515) looks for tackle aquatic invasive alien species in Spain and Portugal by increasing public and stakeholder awareness. It will contribute to improve IAS management and reduce their impacts through information campaigns and the exchange of successful management solutions and practices. INVASAQUA, SIBIC and AIL will be co-organising a networking event in the Congress to facilitate the exchange of information on IAS prevention and management between different EU projects. The objectives of the workshops will be: i) to showcase some of the many different EU-Funded projects that are currently working, or have worked, on IAS management and prevention in the Iberian Peninsula and to explore some of the problems and solutions encountered in their implementation, as a networking space; and ii) to bring together EU Projects working on IAS in the Iberian Peninsula, and other stakeholders working on IAS management and prevention in order to facilitate information exchange and encourage collaboration.

Session Organizers:

Francisco J. Oliva Paterna (Universidad de Murcia, fjoliva@um.es)

Rosa Olivo del Amo (Universidad de Murcia, rosa.olivo@um.es)