Growing human populations and higher demands for water impose increasing impacts and stresses upon freshwater biodiversity. Their combined effects have made these animals more endangered than their terrestrial and marine counterparts. Overuse and contamination of water, overexploitation and overfishing, introduction of alien species, and alteration of natural flow regimes have led to a ‘great thinning’ and declines in abundance of freshwater animals, a ‘great shrinking’ in body size with reductions in large species, and a ‘great mixing’ whereby the spread of introduced species has tended to homogenize previously dissimilar communities in different parts of the world. Climate change and warming temperatures will alter global water availability, and exacerbate the other threat factors. What conservation action is needed to halt or reverse these trends, and preserve freshwater biodiversity in a rapidly changing world? This book offers the tools and approaches that can be deployed to help conserve freshwater biodiversity.
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