Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystems


£120.00 Excluding VAT

9 hours
7 modules

Did you know that freshwater consists of only 3% of the water on planet Earth and only 1% of that water is readily available for use for agriculture, drinking, industry, transport and energy, the rest is in glaciers, ground water and the atmosphere. This tiny amount of water is in rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and wetlands and contains 10 times the biodiversity of land and ocean.

This interesting course covers how freshwater systems work, the ecology of the organisms that live in freshwater and the threats to freshwater and what can be done to improve it for people and biodiversity.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the diversity and importance of freshwater habitats
  • Describe the various geomorphological, hydrological, biological and chemical characteristics of these habitats;
  • Display an understanding of freshwater primary productivity and food webs
  • Recognise some of the key organisms in freshwater habitats, their adaptations for survival and their inter relationships;
  • Understand the environmental threats facing freshwaters and the consequences that these have on the global environment;
  • Describe freshwater resource management strategies

 Module 1. Key concepts

  • The importance of freshwater ecosystems
  • Geomorphology, hydrology & structure of freshwater ecosystems
  • Physical and chemical characteristics of freshwater

 Module 2. Life in Freshwater

  • Diversity of life in freshwater
  • Aquatic food webs and trophic cascades
  • Factors affecting primary productivity in different freshwater habitats

Module 3. Rivers and streams

  • Physical factors shaping the land and biology
  • Examples of adaptations in physiology and anatomy
  • Habitat differentiation and ecological niches

Module 4. Lakes and ponds

  • Description of lakes and ponds
  • Temperature Cycles & Lake Stratification
  • Nutrient sources
  • Habitat differentiation and ecological niches

Module 5. Wetlands

  • What is a wetland?
  • Adaptations of wetland life
  • Importance of wetlands
  • Case study – Pantanal

 Module 6. Our impact on the freshwater environment

  • State of our freshwater resources
  • Major drivers of freshwater biodiversity loss
  1. hydrological alterations (such as dams)
  2. habitat degradation and loss (such as draining wetlands)
  3. pollution (both diffuse and point-source)
  4. overexploitation (such as over-abstraction, overfishing)
  5. invasive species (their impact on habitats and biodiversity)
  6. climate change

Module 7. Approaches to management, conservation & restoration

  • Emergency Recovery Plan
  • Catchment-based management
  • Freshwater habitat restoration
  • Freshwater species recovery initiatives
  • Ecosystem service approach

At the end of the Course will be a quiz and if you get 70% or more you will receive a Certificate.

How to book: You can book on-line here. Once you have booked you will then be able to start the course straight away. If you’d like book a group or on behalf of another person please email us at and we’d be delighted to help you.

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