Apocalypse now? Prospects for conserving freshwater biodiversity in East Asia

Speaker: Professor David Dudgeon

Location: 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in Building 6, Level C, Room 12

Freshwater ecosystems cover <1% of the Earth’s surface, yet host almost 10% of animal species, including one third of vertebrates. They also experience sustained and pervasive human impacts. Unsurprisingly, fresh waters are hotspots of both biodiversity and endangerment.

In densely-populated East Asia, widespread challenges to human water security are accompanied by faunal impoverishment. Water-engineering schemes intended to boost economic development – as along the Yangtze and Mekong – will degrade riverine habitats, further imperil biodiversity, and compromise the livelihoods of people who depend on freshwater ecosystem services.

If the benefits accruing from intact and biodiverse freshwater ecosystems do not constitute sufficient basis to ensure their preservation, what will? And, what are the prospects for conservation of freshwater biodiversity in a rapidly-changing world?

About David

David Dudgeon is Chair Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity and Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. There, he has spent three decades researching and writing about the streams and rivers of monsoonal East Asia, and the animals that live in and around them. His work ranges from field experiments that involve invertebrates and fishes in small streams, through studies of food webs, to broader-scale analyses concerning the conservation of freshwater biodiversity. Dudgeon is Editor-in-Chief of Freshwater Biology, and is working on a book - Freshwater Biodiversity and its Conservation – currently long overdue at the publisher.

The Richard Norris Lecture commemorates the life and scientific contributions of the late Professor Richard Norris, a foundation member of the IAE and internationally significant researcher in freshwater ecology.