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ES3052: Freshwater Hydrobiology 2013

A Happy New Year and welcome to the Freshwater Hydrobiology module website. This freshwater course provides a basic introduction into the principles underlying hydrobiology and limnology. The course is run by Professor Nick Gray and is a mandatory course for Environmental Scientists but an elective course for other Natural Science students, including botanists and Zoologists. The course comprises 7 hours per week for five weeks (weeks 21-25) with upto 6 hours field and practical work per week, so a significant amount of time will be spent working with live material Sampling, 250K GIF imageor in the field. The practical sessions also incorporate mini-project.The course is worth 5 ECTS and is 100% continuous assessment. The course also acts as an introduction to the Senior Sophister course Water Technology (ES4020) (5 ECTS) held each Michaelmas Term.  These courses provide a complete overview for those interested in a career in the water or environmental protection industries.

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Brief outline of course

This is an introductory course in freshwater hydrobiology. It is based on the first nine chapters of the course text which you are expected to purchase before the course and read in conjunction with the lectures. The lectures provide an opportunity to explore the key areas in more depth and for you to have the opportunity to ask questions. Further reading is recommended to introduce you to the level you are expected to achieve at the end of the sophister cycle. The lectures are supported by practical lab and field sessions which are project based. The main topics covered by this course are:
•Basic concepts of hydrobiology: Hydrological cycle; freshwater resources and habitats; the catchment as the basis of study.
•Factors that determine the distribution of animals and plants: Natural dispersion; flow and substrate; dissolved solids; dissolved oxygen and temperature; suspended solids; river and lake  zonation; comparison of riverine and lake systems.
•Aquatic ecosystems: Community structure; identification of organisms; functional feeding groups; P:R, plants,  allochtonous and autochotonus inputs; habitat zonation; river and lake ecology.
Water pollution: Toxic substances; suspended solids (inert and oxidizable, deoxygenation, non-toxic salts (including salinization,  eutrohication and algal toxins); addition of heated water, effect on buffering system; diffuse pollution; afforestation and water quality.
•Micro-organisms and pollution control: Nutritional classification; Microbial oxygen demand (inc. self-purification, oxygen balance, re-aeration, the oxygen-sag curve; the BOD test.
•Water basin management: Basic management programmers; Water Framework Directive; water quality and regulation.
•Water quality assessment: Physico-chemical and biological surveillance; Sampling surface waters (inc. designing sampling programmers, mixing, safety in the field, hydrological measurements; chemical and biological sampling); Biological data (inc. pollution and diversity indices; limitations of indices; multivariate analysis); Chemical data  (inc. chemical indices; mass balance and modeling); RIVPAC and  the UK GQA scheme.

For further details about this course then contact Prof. Nick Gray who is located in the Centre for the Environment (email: nfgray@tcd.ie; Tel: 01-6081639).

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Breakdown of contact hours

Activity
Contact hours
Student Input (hours)
Lectures
12
12
Practicals
12
12
Field
12
6
Seminares and Assessment
6
42
Total
42
72

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Timetable

The course runs during weeks 21-25 of Hilary term on Wednesday mornings 10 -11 (GLT), Wednesday afternoons 2-5 (various venues), and Friday afternoons 2-5 (various venues). You will need wellingtons or waders, waterproof outdoor gear and a pair of household rubber gloves (the type you use for washing up).

Week

Day

Date

Time

Location

Activity

21

Wed

16/1/13

10-11

GLT

Lecture

 

 

2-5

Centre

Field (Field techniques)

Fri

18/1/13

2-5

LUESR

Lecture

22

Wed

23/1/13

10-11

GLT

Lecture

 

 

2-5

Centre

Field  (Lotic-sample collection)

Fri

25/1/13

2-5

LU lab1

Practical (Lotic-Identification)

23

Wed

30/1/13

10-11

GLT

Lecture

 

 

2-5

Centre

Field  (Lentic-sample collection)

Fri

01/2/13

2-5

LU lab1

Practical (Lentic-Identification)

24

Wed

06/2/13

10-11

GGSR-B

Lecture

 

 

2-5

BOTLT

Seminar I

Fri

08/2/13

2-5

LUESR

Seminar II

25

Wed

13/2/13

10-11

GLT

Lecture

2-5

Centre

Field (Mollusc collection)

Fri

15/2/13

2-5

LU lab1

Practical (Mollusc identification)

26

Reading Week

 

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Assessment

The course is worth 5 ECTS and is assessed 100% by continuous assessment. This comprises: 25% - Seminar Presentation (Pairs); 65% - River consultancy project (individual); and 10% - Hydrobiological calculations (individual).

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Course Text

There is a course text specifically for these three courses on which the lectures and practical work are largely based.  Gray, N. F. (2010) Water Technology: an introduction for environmental scientists and engineers. (3rd edition) Elsevier, Oxford.

Two other texts are highly recommended as support reading and for those who wish to expand their knowledge base in the area of freshwater biology to the next level: Bronmark, C. and Hansson, L.-A. (2005) The biology of lakes and ponds (2nd edition) Oxford University Press, and Giller, P.S. and B. Malmqvist, B. (1998) The biology of streams and rivers, Oxford University Press.

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Further Information

For regulatory bodies see: Ireland: Central Fisheries Board, National Parks and Wildlife;UK: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Biological Records Centre (CEH), English Nature, Environment Agency, Freshwater Biological Association, efishbuiness.

Biodiversity in freshwaters see: FreshwaterLife (database on freshwater plants and animals),Life in UK Rivers, FishBase (global information system on fishes).

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Course news 2013

Course updates and news will be posted here, so please check frequently.

January 7th, 2013

Welcome to the course! You will need a copy of the course textbook, a pair of household rubber gloves and a pair of wellington boots/waders.

January 9th 2013

I have five new copies of the course text for sale at 35 euro each on a first come basis...email me if you want one (nfgray@tcd.ie)

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Specific Lecture Links

Catchment interfaces: This website is supported by the Australian Government and focuses on how surface water features like rivers, lakes and wetlands interact with aquifers, and how this interaction can affect water quantity and quality. The website deals extensively with processes and looks at a number of trial catchments.

http://www.connectedwater.gov.au/processes/index.html

Water Framework Directive: The United Kingdom Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG) comprises the key UK and Irish environment and conservation agencies. It provides technical advice on the implementation of the European Community (EC) Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) including standards monitoring and implementation.
 
http://www.wfduk.org/

Climate change: A EU funded site managed by Euro-Limpacs, based at the University of Duisburg-Essen, that investigates the effects of Climate Change on rivers, lakes and wetlands. The site looks at the potential impacts, methods of assessment and case studies.

http://www.climate-and-freshwater.info/

Aquatic Invasions: Aquatic Invasions is an open access online journal published on behalf of the International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology (SIL) Working Group on Aquatic Invasive Species (WGAIS). It focuses on biological invasions in inland and coastal waters of Europe, North America and other regions.

http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/index.html

Real time water quality: This site provided by the US Geological Survey provides real time data on a wide range of water quality parameters including temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, turbidity and conductivity.  Discharge data is also given for over 1300 sites nationwide.  Access to related links on water quality including USGS technical reports

http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/wqwatch/#

Invasive Species Ireland: A joint venture between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service which implements an Ireland wide  strategy to control existing invasive species and to prevent further introductions of alien species.  This provides up to date details of invasive species and the control measures in place.  Also provides access to Best Practice Management Documents for a range of species.

http://www.invasivespeciesireland.com/

GB Non-native Species Secretariat: This Government supported sites provides details of all alien species in England, Wales and Scotland.  It provides detailed lists of all alien species found  in freshwaters as well as terrestrial and marine environments.  Detailed notes and distribution maps are given for all species including control and management options and strategies.

http://www.nonnativespecies.org/

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River Consultancy project

You are required to carry out a consultancy exercise looking at several problems relating to a river catchment. Data sets will be supplied and maps from which you are required to write a succinct but full report for a client. The text should not exceed 3,000 words (excluding tables, figures and references). Your report must be handed into the Botany Office before the end of Reading Week (Week 26).

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Seminar

Each group will present a 15 minute powerpoint presentation on one of the following topics during week 24. These should give a broad overview to the question or subject given as well as drawing from the recent research literature as well. Each group will be allocated a topic from the list below during the first week of the course:

1. Discuss the effects of non-native invertebrates on native populations in the UK and the possible threat to Ireland.

2. What is the potential of alien aquatic weeds to damage Irish freshwater ecosystems, give examples of actual and potential  invasive species.

3. What is the current situation of the  Zebra mussel invasion of Irish and UK surface waters, what are its effects (give examples) and what can be done to alleviate the problem.

4. Are feeding guilds (i.e. functional feeding groups) useful in river quality assessment?

5. Discuss the relationship between phyto and zooplankton in lakes.

6. Forestry, Acidification and surface waters: effects and mitigation.

7. Species under threat in Irish freshwaters, who and why.

8. Climate change and freshwater ecology - effects and consequences

9. The effect of estrogen mimicking compounds on biota in rivers and lakes

10. Explore the functional role of macrophytes in river communities

11. Using macrophytes for water quality assessment.

12. Why are ponds unique and important.

13. Can River Restoration improve biodiversity?

14. Why is periphyton important in aquatic systems and how does it respond to climate change.

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Last updated 7 January 2013 by nfgray@tcd.ie.