Achieving ecological outcomes: aquatic ecological responses to catchment management
12-15 April 2010, FBA Windermere, Cumbria, UK
Convenor and Guest Editor: Prof. Graham Harris, Lancaster Environment Centre
Following the success of the inaugural conference in September 2008, the second in the series was held in 2010, at the FBA's Windermere site in the English Lake District. The conference tackled one of the most difficult questions in catchment science today: why is it so difficult to achieve good ecological outcomes from integrated catchment management programmes. Presentations from an international array of speakers (see below) were followed by discussion workshops, focusing on gaps in knowledge and uncertainties in present scientific and management approaches, and how to move forward on these issues.
We are grateful to Lancaster Environment Centre for sponsoring the Opening Reception for the conference.
Special Issues of Freshwater Biology
Contributions from the conference will be published online as a special issue of the leading journal Freshwater Biology. The special issue will guest-edited by Prof. Graham Harris and will be freely accessible to all. Our thanks to Freshwater Biology for supporting this initiative.
Miranda Kavanagh, Environment Agency, UK - Opening Address. Miranda Kavanagh is Director of Evidence for the Environment Agency. She joined the Agency from the healthcare regulator, the Healthcare Commission, where she was Director of Communications and Patient and Public Engagement. Prior to that, Miranda was the Executive Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance at London Business School. Miranda is a barrister by training
Prof. James Kirchner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, Switzerland - Catchments as simple dynamical systems. Jim Kirchner has done much innovative work on the transport of water and solutes in catchments with fractal properties. He has shown that it is possible to use high level theory to make robust predictions about catchment hydrology and effectively "do hydrology backwards".
Prof. Emily Stanley, University of Wisconsin, USA - The influence of management activities and restoration on carbon fluxes in aquatic ecosystems. Emily Stanley works on the dynamics of riverine ecosystems and on how management actions affect nutrient dynamics. We have asked her to speak about her latest work on land use and carbon cycling in streams.
Dr Stephen Hamilton, Michigan State University, USA - Nitrogen uptake and retention in fresh waters. Stephen Hamilton's research focuses on ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, with particular attention to aquatic environments and the movement of water through landscapes. Working on systems in the USA, South America and Australia, he is especially interested in running waters, wetlands and floodplains, and the interface they represent between aquatic and terrestrial ecosyetems. (Dr Hamilton replaces Patrick Mulholland, who unfortunately can no longer attend.)
Profs Louise Heathwaite and Phil Haygarth, Lancaster Environment Centre, UK - Phosphorus dynamics in catchments: sources, sinks and impacts across scales. Louise Heathwaite and Phil Haygarth have led or participated in much of the recent work on phosphorus dynamics in the UK; working particularly on sources, transports and sinks of P in agricultural catchments and the potential for control through management actions.
Prof. Peter Davies, University of Tasmania, Australia - Land use, catchments and the ecological condition of rivers. Peter Davies chairs the Sustainable Rivers Audit for the Murray Darling Basin Authority in Australia and leads a major retrospective study of the effects of land use on stream ecology in Tasmania.
Prof. Colin Reynolds, Freshwater Biological Association and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK - Complexity and emergence in aquatic ecosystems: predictability in aquatic ecosystem responses. Colin Reynolds has published a significant body of work on the responses of algal communities to environmental drivers and has begun to analyse how complex outcomes can arise from simple physiological underpinnings.
Prof. Graham Harris, Lancaster Environment Centre, UK - Uncertain catchment impacts on complex entities. Graham Harris has worked for many years on the properties of aquatic ecosystems and the problems of linking management impacts to outcomes in these complex entities. He has also worked on the links complex between socio-economic and ecological systems.
Dr Geoff Phillips, Environment Agency, UK - Europhication Control: how is status assessed and what can we learn about achieving ecological toucomes from long-term studies? Reflections on 30+ years of monitoring of the Norfolk Broads.
Prof. David Allan, University of Michigan, USA - Scenario modelling and Bayesian Decision Networks to evaluate relationships between stressors and stream health. Prof. Allan heads an active research programme into the effects of landscape and land use on stream health. He leads collaborative activities that are directed at the translation of aquatic science into useful products for management, conservation and restoration of running waters.
Prof. Kevin Rogers, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa - Thresholds of potential concern and the adaptive management of rivers in Kruger Park. Kevin Rogers is Director of the Centre for Water in the Environment (CWE) at the University of the Witwatersrand and leads a group working on the development of adaptive management systems that integrate science, stakeholder needs and management to meet South Africa's innovative water and environmental legislation.
Prof. Keith Beven, Lancaster Environment Centre, UK - Modelling everything everywhere: new approaches to Water Framework Directive compliance. Prof. Beven has an international reputation for his work on hydrological modelling and on uncertainty estimation. He has also written about the concept of "modelling everything everywhere"; the use of new kinds of distributed environmental models that learn from data and incorporate uncertainty into their predictions.