path: Natural History & Education
Natural History & Education
This section covers topics on the animals and plants found in freshwater around the world. Find out what lives in different freshwater habitats, including lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands and what might be living in your own local stream or pond. Topics covered include: The importance of freshwater, people and water, pollution, freshwater animals and plants, the water cycle and teaching aids.

Water: The most important substance on Earth?

Water is vital to all life on Earth. No living organism, plant, animal or person, can survive without it. Life itself is thought to have begun in water. Most of the water on the planet is found in the oceans. Much of it is in a solid, unaccessible form: ice and only a comparatively small amount is found as liquid fresh water. Freshwater is not salty, like the sea, and is the only form that most land plants and animals can use. Humans cannot survive without freshwater for more than one or two days.

People and Life in Freshwater


Freshwater is important to us in many different ways. We drink it, use it for washing and growing our food, and for a multitude of industrial processes. We even use our waterways for travel and transport. Rivers and lakes are strongly linked to our culture and heritage and hisorically human settlements always originated where fresh, clean water was available.

The organisms living in freshwater, from bacteria and viruses to hippos, rely on the special habitats provided by wetlands, ponds, rivers and streams. Many freshwater species are important to people as food and sport, many are under threat and receive special protection under the Habitats Directive and other regulatory devices and some are used in water quality monitoring. As noted in the IUCN WaterWatch document, freshwaters are the most threatened of all habitats and conservation of the life in freshwater is an important issue.

Here you can navigate to find information on many natural history aspects of freshwater animals and plants. If you want to learn more about what you can find in your own area or garden pond, you can use the sublinks listed here to find the information you need. You can also find teaching aids and tools to help you to identify the contents of your pond net.


Why not contribute to this topic?

If you are interested in contributing to this Topic, you can submit your own relevant sub-topics and knowledge items. To become a FreshwaterLife member is easy, just click on the Join Now button at the top header of this page, and you can start submitting your own material and take part in discussions after a quick and easy registration process. For this Natural History and Education topic, suitable material could include information on initiatives or publications that raise the profile of freshwater, freshwater biology and ecological education.
Sub-topics (show map) :
Information sources on this Topic:
 Freshwater Life of North-western Europe Freshwater Life of North-western Europe is an online discussion group/web site concerned with the study of life in the rivers, ponds, streams, draina...  
download immediately / go direct to sourceorganisation British Ecological Society The BES is an active and thriving organisation with something to offer anyone with an interest in ecology. Academic journals, teaching resources, mee...  Non-Governmental Organisation 
download immediately / go direct to sourcenews item Eutrophication implicated in deformed frogs Following on from a previous study which indicated that parasitic trematodes might be the cause of deformities in frogs, two researchers in America h...   29 September 2004 
download immediately / go direct to sourcewebsite item The Environment Agency The main theme of this website is the need for sustainable development and management of the environment; 'We are the leading public body for protect...  Thematic website 
download immediately / go direct to sourcewebsite item Ecosystem Management This site promotes the application of the ecosystem approach and the sharing of test results conducted in the field. The main principles behind this ...  Thematic website 
download immediately / go direct to sourcedocument Freshwater Jellyfish found in pool at Ketley, Telford. Member of the public reported seeing jellyfish in pool in Telford. Identification confirmed by Agency staff at laboratories at Shrewsbury. Details o...  Journal: Article 
download immediately / go direct to sourcewebsite item The Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre The Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (or EKBY by its Greek initials) has its roots in the Goulandris Natural History Museum. The Museum was established i...  Webforum 
download immediately / go direct to sourcewebsite item National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is a broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on th...  Thematic website; Online Database; Internet Portal; Distance Learning Course; Directory of institutions; Directory of individuals 
download immediately / go direct to sourcedocument Global Environment Outlook 3 This series of reports on the state of the world's environment are generally acknowledged as the definitive word as produced by the United Nations of...  Book 
download immediately / go direct to sourcewebsite item UNEP Freshwater Portal The website for the United Nations Environment Program: Freshwater Program. Here you will find information on UNEP water initiatives and links to ot...  Thematic website; Internet Portal 
Topic Information
Editors: Chief Editor
ID: 2719right-click for short link
added: 17 April 2003
updated: 01 August 2003
visits: 6204
Go Direct button : takes you direct to the website or document download.
Editor's Award : indicates that the editor of the topic considers this item to be of particular note.
Data Source
Opinion Poll
News Item
freeMem:NaN totMem:NaN reqNum: openSessions: generationTime:2005/07/25 09:58:26