Ecology of disturbed streams

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

     The students should have attended a course in Population and Community Ecology, General Ecology or similar; students should have basic knowledge of English

Teaching Methods

     Intensive course of two weeks with theoreticaland practical classes. Power point presentations. The laboratorial work will be developped in group or singly. Field trips to disturbed areas will provide the oportunity to perform practical exercices. Study visits will occur whenever possible. 

Learning Outcomes

     In this curricular unit, the students will get insight into the concept of disturbed water courses  focusing their attention on hydrological, structural and functional features. They will be exposed to the main causes of stream ecosystem degradation, namely antropogenic, getting insights into the general and specific consequences of such perturbations;  environmental, social and economical implications will be considered. Students will identify the protagonists and will understand  the processes operating in undisturbed vs. impacted fluvial systems. They will acquire the knowhow to choose and apply the existent techniques and approaches for the evaluation of the ecological status of the water courses  as well as to propose the recovery/mitigation measures to be applied in water courses under specific or multiple stressors.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction: backgrounds on stream ecology

2. Disturbed streams: main causes and related effects

   Defining disturbed stream.

   Streams affected by local or diffuse pollution

   Streams affected by changes of land use in the catchment – floodplain – riparian areas:

   Impact assessment procedures.

   In situ and laboratory tests to evaluate biota responses to stress

   Importance of biodiversity in water courses affected by single and multiple stresses

   Consequences of global change on disturbed streams

   Case study and new approaches on global patterns of stress

3. Streams management

   Basis and types of stream rehabilitation: scope and scale

   Concepts of rehabilitation, recovery and restoration

   Stream, riparian area and watershed management.

   Water Frame Directive.

   Human activities and watershed ecology: the need of a commitment.

Head Lecturer(s)

Cristina Maria Moreira Monteiro Leal Canhoto

Assessment Methods

Laboratory work or Field work: 30.0%
Exam: 70.0%


•     Naiman, R.J. & Bilby, R.E. 1998. River Ecology and Management: lessons from the Pacific Coastal Ecoregion, Springer, 705p

•     Naiman, R.J.,  Décamps H. & McClain, M.E. 2005. Riparia. Ecology, conservation, and managementof streamside communities. Elsevier, 430p

•     Young, R.A. & Giese, R.L. 2003. Introduction to Forest Ecosystem Science and Management. Wiley, 560p

Scientific Papers

Key recent papers in the ecological literature (variable from year to year)  


•     Allan, J.D., Castillo, M.M. 2007. Stream Ecology. Structure and Function of Running Waters. Kluwer, 465p

•     Bärlocher, F. 1992. The ecology of aquatic hyphomycetes. Ecol. Stud. 94. Springer, 225p

•     Cortes, R.M.V. Requalificação de cursos de água. 2006. INAG, 135p

•     Gordon N.D., McMahon, T.A., Finlayson, B.L., Gippel, C.J. & Nathan, R.J. 2004. Stream Hydrology. An Introduction for Ecologists. Wiley& Sons, 429p

•     Graca M.A.S., Bärlocher F., Gessner M.O. 2005. Methods to Study Litter Decomposition. A Practical Guide. Springer, 329 p