School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

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Reliana Toruan

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 1698

Start date

Jul 2014

Submission date

Jul 2018

Reliana Toruan


Spatial heterogeneity of zooplankton communities in urban freshwater systems. Response of size structure and genetic variation to urbanisation gradients


Freshwater ecosystem represents a set of habitats that are more vulnerable to human activities and environmental changes, with the rates of biodiversity loss are greater than other most affected terrestrial ecosystems. Urbanisation threats to freshwater biodiversity tend to result from multiple stressors such as land use changes, hydrological modification, overexploitation, pollution, and species invasion. Human interference on freshwater resources has increased significantly, with such report of increasing number of lakes, wetland and rivers becoming urbanised. Multiple anthropogenic stressors to freshwater ecosystems stimulated by four major human related activities including increasing demand on resources and economic, urban water management practices and urban development itself. These combined and interacting activities contribute to the increasing disturbance the ecosystem received. As a result of such disturbance and ecological alteration, marked traits divergence, including variation in body size structure and population genetic, may be promoted amongst species inhabiting the lakes in responding to environmental changes. In addition, spatial environmental variations, coupled with habitat fragmentation and isolation, may promote local adaptation of the inhabiting species. Traits divergence in zooplankton, in terms of body size and genetic structure, in response to variation in environmental conditions, are poorly investigated relative to species found in terrestrial habitats. This research will explore the role of human induced environmental heterogeneity in promoting traits divergence in freshwater zooplankton through analysis of their body size spectra and population genetic structure.

Why my research is important

The impact of urbanisation on freshwater habitat, particularly on ecologically important species remains unexplored. This study will, therefore, provide valuable ecological information specific to physiology and molecular divergence to zooplankton communities inhabiting urban lakes of arid environment that vary in terms of gradients of urbanisation. The research also will extend our knowledge of urbanisation and the influence to freshwater habitats and the ways in which the inhabitant respond to multiple disturbances. In addition, given that the force of urbanisation may vary in small to fine spatial scale, this study contributes to the current study of global urbanisation and it impact on freshwater ecosystem. We would expect that the findings of this study will provide opportunity to advance the current understanding of multiple stressors as the driving factors in shaping zooplankton community based on integrated approaches of size spectra dynamics and molecular marker.


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Thursday, 19 September, 2013 11:39 AM