Report of the Joint Meeting of the SIL Working Group on Inlandwater Biodiversity and of the Working Group of STAR on Freshwater under the DIVERSITAS

The Joint Meeting of the SIL Working Group on Inlandwater Biodiversity and of the Working Group of Special Target Area of Freshwater under the DIVERSITAS, was held at Lake Biwa Museum, Japan from 21 to 22 June, 1997, during the International Conference on Ancient Lakes: Their Biological and Cultural Diversities (ICAL 97) (see page 8), to promote international cooperative research on inlandwater/freshwater biodiversity.

Thirty-eight persons from 15 countries or areas, including the following members of the working group, were gathered there: Francisco Barbosa, Peter Biro, Andrew Cohen, Ellen van Donk, Menachem Goren, Takayuki Hanazato, Toshio Iwakuma, Hiroya Kawanabe, Christian Léveque and Talal Younes. Christopher Gordon and Robert Wetzel sent their comments and opinions beforehand.

A major subject to be discussed in the meeting was to make up a proposal for research on freshwater biodiversity as a Special Target Area for Research (STAR) within DIVERSITAS (An International Programme of Biodiversity Science).

As a result of intensive discussion, we agreed to make the following three communities special research targets:

  1. Micro-organic community: the information on its biodiversity has been lacking although it plays an important role to support ecosystems.
  2. Macrophytes and their accompanying organic community: this community is established in the boundary area between land and water bodies, and has a high biodiversity.
  3. Fish community: this community has a close relationship with human life as food resources.

As special research components, the following topics were proposed:

  1. Relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
  2. Mechanisms maintaining high biodiversity.
  3. Inventory and monitoring of biodiversity.
  4. Human dimensions.

Among these subjects, special attention was given to the relationship between biodiversity and human life, because it deals with human impacts on biodiversity and relationships between biodiversity and diversity of human culture, which were the major subjects discussed in the main meeting of the International Conference on Ancient Lakes.

The results of the discussion will be reflected in the final version of the research proposal on freshwater biodiversity as the STAR in DIVERSITAS.

Future activities of the Working Groups were also discussed. It was agreed that we would have a special session on inlandwater biodiversity during the SIL Congress to be held in Dublin, Ireland in August 1998.

Takayuki Hanasato
Suwa Hydrobiological Station
392-0027, Japan

Hiroya Kawanabe
Lake Biwa Museum
525-0001, Japan