Introducing the River Wave Concept

CSU River and Floodplain Ecology students sample macroinvertebrates in the Broken River, northern Victoria. The author is wearing a hat to the right of the picture

Just out in the journal BioScience, is a paper co-authored by me, Paul Humphries, Hubert Keckeis, from the University of Vienna, and Brian Finlayson, from the University of Melbourne.

The genesis of the paper came mostly from lectures to third year undergraduate students in my River and Floodplain Ecology class at Charles Sturt University’s School of Environmental Sciences.  As anyone who has given lectures like this knows, the history of developments in river ecosystem understanding is a fascinating, complex and challenging one to teach. Attempting  to describe the various concepts and models that have been proposed over the years (e.g.,’fish zones’, River Continuum Concept (RCC), Flood Pulse Concept (FPC), Riverine Productivity Model (RPM), Hierarchical Framework for Stream Classification, Functional Process Zones, Process Domains, Riverscapes, Riverine Ecosystem Synthesis etc etc. Phew!) is not easy.  It’s a lot to get through and pretty hard for undergraduates, even at the third year level, to get their heads around in only a couple of hours. And students were also left with the question, how do we reconcile the main ecological concepts (RCC, FPC and RPM) in quite different rivers from around the world? The result was the ‘River wave concept: integrating river ecosystem models’, which is out in early view in BioScience and will be published in hard copy in October.

The worth of the idea will be, as it should, judged by the broader scientific, management and education community.  The number of citations of scientific papers and the uptake of the ideas are measures of utility. But with blogs such as this one, there is also the opportunity for an even broader audience to provide feedback. So, I encourage you to submit any comments on the concept and paper here, and let me know how useful it is or could be for your work or for teaching. There is also a link to the paper in my publications.

This entry was posted in River ecology, River ecosystems, River management, River research, Rivers, Study river ecology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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