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Water is a necessity for all living things on Earth and is one of the most important natural resources flowing from our forests. With looming problems like climate change and pressing energy demands, a better understanding of how to conserve freshwater ecosystems is critically important in order to meet our increasing need for freshwater. Freshwater ecology is the interdisciplinary study of rivers, lakes, streams, seasonal bodies of water, underground water deposits, and surrounding riparian areas. Aquatic ecologists study natural populations of organisms in the water, learning about the distribution and abundance of aquatic organisms, mostly fish, their prey and their predators, and their interactions with their environment.
AWAE aquatic ecologists seek to gain a better understanding of the conservation of aquatic ecosystems by studying a broad spectrum of issues, including: the interaction of freshwater fishes with their habitat; the impacts of nonnative species on native fish assemblages and aquatic communities; water quality issues, including elevated stream temperatures); restoration of degraded stream and riparian habitats; and, hydrologic processes. AWAE scientists actively involved in this research include: