Why create an International Network on Limnology of Drylands (INLD)?
The INLD hypothesis is that the increase of knowledge on dryland freshwater ecosystems would allow us to help decision makers and managers to deal with climate changes and anthropogenic impacts. The approach is based on three issues: state of the knowledge of biodiversity, multiple stressors analysis and development of predictive models.
State of the knowledge of biodiversity
(1) Identify global patterns of aquatic species geographic distribution in Earth´s drylands, as well as the effects of climate change on species abundance and diversity patterns.
(2) Establish links between community traits and the environment, since these associations are consequences of the filtering effect of climate, disturbance, and biotic conditions.
Multiple stressor analysis
(1) Evaluate the effects of the multiple stressors (e.g. drought, morphology degradation, salinization, eutrophication), their bioindicators, and the services that they provide to the human population.
(2) Assess how the intensification of droughts in drylands, associated with human activities (e.g. irrigation, deforestation, and land use) and global warming, affect the functioning of intermittent and permanent freshwater systems at different scales (local, regional and global).
(3) Investigate the loss of ecosystem services associated with biotic, taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional homogenization of aquatic communities driven by multiple stressors.
Development of predictive models
(1) Develop predictive models capable of forecasting changes in freshwater community structure as a function of water level fluctuations, in response to floods and droughts, in intermittent and permanent freshwater ecosystems, especially under climate change scenarios to:
· understand the seasonal and short-term fluctuations in water levels and effects on productivity, biodiversity, and increase degradation.
· assess the effects of flooding period on distribution and diversity of freshwater species and evaluate physiological tolerances and persistence of species under severe habitat perturbations.
(2) Establish key aspects associated with the geographic expansion of undesirable species.
(3) Understand and anticipate future threats to vulnerable habitats and their biota, as well as to identify critical areas for conservation.