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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Academic & Professional Books  Marine & Freshwater Biology  Freshwater Biology  Freshwater Habitat

The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers

By: Alan Hildrew(Author), Paul S Giller(Author)
466 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, tables
The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers
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  • The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers ISBN: 9780198516101 Edition: 2 Hardback Jun 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers ISBN: 9780198516118 Edition: 2 Paperback May 2023 In stock
  • The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers ISBN: 9780198549772 Edition: 1 Paperback Nov 1998 In stock
Selected version: £99.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The challenges that the world's running water systems now face have never been more numerous or acute; at the same time, these complex habitats remain absolutely crucial to human wellbeing and future survival. If rivers can ever be anything like sustainable, ecology needs to take its place as an equal among the physical sciences such as hydrology and geomorphology. A real understanding of the natural history and ecology of running waters must now be brought even more prominently into river management. The primary purpose of this textbook is to provide the up-to-date overview that students and practitioners will require to achieve this aim.

The book's unifying focus is on rivers and streams as ecosystems in which the particular identity of organisms is not the main emphasis but rather the processes in which they are involved – specifically energy flow and the cycling of materials. It builds on the physicochemical foundations of the habitat templet and explores the diversity and adaptations of the biota, progressing from the population and community ecology of organisms and linking them to ecosystem processes and services in the wider biosphere via the complexities of species interactions and food webs. These include water quality and patterns of river discharge, as well as aesthetics, waste disposal, and environmental health. While the book is not primarily focused on application per se, each chapter addresses how humans affect rivers and, in turn, are affected by them. A final, future-oriented chapter identifies key strategic areas and sets a roadmap for integrating knowledge of natural history and ecology into policy and management.

The Biology and Ecology of Streams and Rivers is an accessible text suitable for both senior undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in both lotic and general ecology as well as more established researchers, practitioners, managers, and conservationists requiring a concise and contemporary overview of running waters.


1. Streams and rivers as ecological systems
2. The habitat templet
3. The diversity of life in streams and rivers
4. Matching the habitat templet: adaptations and species traits
5. Population ecology
6. Community patterns and processes
7. Species interactions and food webs
8. Running waters as ecosystems: metabolism, energy, and carbon
9. Running waters as ecosystems: nutrients
10. New horizons

Customer Reviews


Alan Hildrew is a Professor Emeritus of Ecology at Queen Mary London and an Honorary Research Fellow of the Freshwater Biological Association. He was Chairman of the Council of the Freshwater Biological Association from 1999 to 2010, and its President from 2010 to 2011. He was Editor in Chief of the journal Freshwater Biology for 32 years (1982-2014). His research focuses on the ecology of stream organisms, ecosystem processes, and related fields. His approach is based on natural history, having published taxonomic keys and life history of invertebrates, but his long-term observations have been used to test general ecological theory and application.

Paul Giller is a Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Ecology at University College Cork, Republic of Ireland. His research specialises in community ecology, freshwater biology, and biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. He was admitted to the Royal Irish Academy in 2018.

By: Alan Hildrew(Author), Paul S Giller(Author)
466 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, tables
Media reviews

"[...] unique introduction to the biology of running waters [...] It is well written and the bibliography provides an in depth coverage of the research literature on the subject which students will find of considerable value"
ASLIB Book Guide, Vol. 64, No. 4, April 1999

"[...] The clear writing style,extensive coverage and highly competitive price should certainly make this book attractive as an introductory text to the study of running waters and their biota"
- Ecology

"[...] The Biology of Streams and Rivers is a very readable and enjoyable book. The wealth of inforamtion it contains is readily accessible and arranged in a logical and well laid out manner"
- Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

"[...] readers will find plenty of life in this book, which provides an effervescent account of the biology of running waters [...] Giller and Malmqvist have produced a lively text, which I found very readable [...] Overall, I am impressed by this book, which succeeeds in providing an attractive, integrated overview of its subject"
- Freshwater Biology

"[...] 'a very enjoyable read [...] .Gorel Marklund's drawings bring the stream organisms to life, and the choice of relevant data and conceptual diagrams is spot on."
- Journal of Animal Ecology

"[...] The proof of the pudding is always in the eating, or in this case feedback from several of my students to whom the book was lent. It is now firmly on their reading list [...]"
- Biological Conservation

"My advice to everbody who is interested in rivers and streams and the life they contain, is buy this book, so full of the fascinating life that represents the highest biodiversity in fresh waters"
- Crustaceaura

"I would strongly recommend this well_structured and accessible book to undergraduate students of freshwater biology both as an introductory text and as signpost to other more in-depth studies"
- Glasgow Naturalist

"This book, a comprehensive overview written as an undergraduate text, provides more than a glimpse of the life below the water surface of streams and rivers. It 'delves into the rich and growing literature and provides an up-to-date introduction to stream and river biology.' The authors describe the different kinds of watercourses; outline the range of living organisms of rivers, and their adaptations; discuss population, community and ecosystem patterns and processes such as energy flow and secondary production; and discuss applied issues such as the effects of pollution, tourism, sport fishing and exotic species."

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