Advances in River Bottom Ecology

Edited by G. Bretschko and J. Helesic.
Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, 1998. 334 pages.
ISBN 90-73348-87-0

This is a collection of 31 papers presented at the 1996 River Bottom IV congress in Brno, Czech Republic. Studies by key researchers are compiled, covering all aspects of river bottom ecology with examples from around the world. The book is divided into five sections covering the river bottom biotope, energy basis and primary production, the consumer community, the ecology of stream fish and river management. The first section introduces the river bottom habitat and the hyporheic zone, covering aspects such as river bed morphology, hydrology and environmental gradients. This is followed by a collection of papers on the energy sources of the river bottom food web. The composition of available organic matter, processing of allochthonous inputs and the effects of environmental changes on periphyton communities are discussed.

The largest section of the book is devoted to the ecology of consumer communities. A wide variety of aspects are discussed, including faunal distribution patterns, relationships with the physical habitat and effects of environmental change. There are two papers on stream fish describing interactions with the river bottom habitat and responses to anthropogenic intervention. The final section, entitled River Management, brings together papers on the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of river ecosystems through the application of ecological research.

‘Advances in River Bottom Ecology’ will be of great interest to anyone researching the ecology of river bottoms and wishing to keep abreast of recent developments. This publication would also be an invaluable introduction for students beginning research in this area, providing a comprehensive body of literature and introducing important researchers in the field.

Adam Burns, Lancaster University

The World’s Lakes in Crisis Guidelines of Lake Management, Volume 8

Edited by S.E. Jørgensen and S. Matsui
International Lake Environment Committee, Shiga, Japan, 1997. 184 pages.
ISBN 4-906356-23-0

This guideline book is the 8th in a series and, according to the Editors, differs from the previous ones by focusing on major issues of lakes and reservoirs from a global perspective. There are 8 chapters in the book covering such topics as the impact of global warming on lakes and reservoirs, acidification of Scandinavian lakes, problems in Chinese lakes and their restoration, environmental problems of Lake Nasser-Nubia, water quantity and quality issues of reservoirs used for human uses and the results of a survey of the state of the world’s lakes. As the editors note, these subjects do not cover other important issues such as contamination by hazardous micropollutants from agrochemical, industrial, medical and household uses nor the protection of biodiversity in lake and reservoir systems. According to the Editors, these topics were not covered in this book because it was their objective to draw attention to issues of global significance rather than issues which they felt were of a more local nature.

Chapter 8, the last chapter in the book, is interesting. It is a dialogue between the two editors in which they discuss their conclusions about the six major problems impacting lakes and reservoirs: siltation, declining water levels, toxic chemical contamination, eutrophication, acidification and global warming. An index locates information on specific systems and subjects such as carbon dioxide, flooding, mercury and zooplankton.