Wetlands -further comment / SILnews 24

Wetlands -further comment / SILnews 24

I have had several further letters concerning my question posed in SILNEWS 22 “Wetlands: Where are the limnologists? Mary J. Burgis

Dr Bill Harding of South Africa (wharding@global.co.za) clearly appreciated the followup from members that I summarised in SILNEWS 23 in that it highlighted exactly the experiences he has had with regard to “inadequate coverage in education at all levels, contractors for constructed wetlands who want “finished look” products within unreasonably short periods of time (engineers need to understand that semi-natural systems cannot be cast in bricks and mortar as are their more familiar products), and too few individuals working on wetlands”. I am glad to hear that this discussion has spurred him to include some work on wetlands in his lectures.

If others who teach do the same perhaps they will gradually overcome the criticisms of Dr Han Golterman (Arles, France; golthard@lac.gulliver.fr) who is of the opinion that biologists don’t like chemistry, find it difficult and do not like criticism of their chemical work while physical geographers are even worse. He says they base their models on too few measurements and then extrapolate without knowing what factors control the parameters they have measured. He is also very pessimistic about the future of wetlands.

On a more postive note, Dr Junk of Plön, Germany points out that for many years, the “Working Group Tropical Ecology” of the Max-Planck Institute (INPA), Manaus have been working together with a multi-disciplinary group of scientists in the Central Amazon Floodplain. Their results have been published recently in a book: Junk, W. J. (ed.) 1997: The Central Amazon Floodplain: Ecology of a pulsing system. Springer, Ecological Studies 126: 525pp. which covers limnological aspects as well as aspects of terrestrial ecology under a general concept, The Flood-Pulse Concept which may be an approach that people are looking for.

Dr Kennedy Roche, Centro de Cijncias Exatas e Tecnologia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Campus Universitaria, Caixa Postal 649, 79070-900 Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brasil kroche@nin.ufms.br is in a department which is about to commence a large project on artificial wetlands. His part (the only limnologist involved) will be to study the taxonomy and ecology of the microinvertebrates (particularly Protozoa and Rotifera) which should develop in these systems. He hopes that some of their findings can be extrapolated to natural wetlands, such as the nearby Pantanal. Dr Roche is interested in making contact with other limnologists (if there are any!) working in this research area and I am pleased that he has chosen SILNEWS as a means of reaching possible colleagues. I hope some members will get in touch with him because he feels rather isolated and such contacts are one major reason for belonging to an organisation such as SIL.

Dr P. Leentvaar wrote that when writing his chapter on Biocommunities in Dune Lakes for the Ecosystems of the World series (part 2c, edited by W.v.d.Maare, Elsevier, 1997) most of the information he received came from nature conservationists. As he says “A limnologist is also an aquatic ecologist.” Maybe we should recruit more “aquatic ecologists” to SIL.