CBA Synthesis Group propels research on freshwater ecosystem management

15 December 2023

The Centre for Biodiversity Analysis ‘Freshwater Ecosystem Management’ Synthesis Group met this week at the University of Canberra to tackle the challenge of integrating ecosystem ecology into freshwater management. 

Led by Darren Gilling (UCanberra) and Paul McInerney (CSIRO), the group launched a Early-Mid Career Researcher (EMCR) network to bring together freshwater ecosystem ecologists and water managers from various institutions across Australia. By fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration, the network aims to address the fragmented approach currently hindering the effective incorporation of ecosystem ecology into freshwater management strategies. 

During the meeting, participants worked on the development, methodology and scope of a comprehensive review paper on the significance of ecosystem processes for effective management. The paper, targeted to both scientists and managers, will discuss the relationship between ecosystem processes and biodiversity outcomes, and the feasibility of integrating these processes into monitoring programs.

Plans were also made for future collaborations including the proposal of funding initiatives to assess ecosystem responses to key drivers such as land-use change.

One notable proposal discussed during the meeting was the implementation of distributed experiments across different regions of Australia. This innovative approach will aim to capture the spatial and temporal variability of key biogeochemical processes in freshwater ecosystems, providing valuable data for effective management practices.

The Freshwater Ecosystem Management Group's initiative holds promise for advancing scientific understanding and informing evidence-based management decisions regarding Australia's freshwater resources. By bridging the gap between research and practice, this collaborative effort seeks to contribute significantly to the conservation and sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems.