Abstract: As we improve our understanding of the planetary boundaries that frame our sustainable future, the ecosystem services offered by tropical wetlands and streams progressively reveal their increasing global importance and fascination. They support a disproportionate share of the earth's biodiversity in relation to their surface area, receive a greater portion of solar energy and realise the highest rates of primary production and carbon storage. During past glaciations they provided refuge for animals and plants and influenced evolutionary processes that created tropical biomes and their species assemblages including early hominids until modern man. Reviewing past research yielded new insight in the ecology of tropical aquatic, semi-aquatic and riparian vertebrates (Pacini and Harper, 2008) as well as of fish biodiversity distribution globally (Pacini et al. 2013a), and specifically in the Nile Basin (Pacini et al. 2013b). Working in the Lake Naivasha Basin, Kenya, with local junior scientists (Harper et al. 2010) and with farming, fishing and pastoral communities merged social and ecohydrological constraints in developing practical restoration trials. At Lake Naivasha, the role of papyrus swamps may be key to preserving biodiversity, ensuring health and food production, moderating water loss and ground temperatures and supporting a regular small scale water cycle.
Harper D.M., Britton J.R., Mavuti K.M., Pacini N., Tricarico E., Gherardi F. (2010). "Field IT for East Africa": training young African scientists in Lake Naivasha (Kenya). Aliens; p. 48-51, ISSN: 1173-5988.
Pacini N., Harper D.M. (2008) "Chapter 6: Vertebrates", in Tropical Stream Ecology, Dudgeon D. [ed.] Aquatic Ecology Series, Academic Press, Elsevier Science, San Diego, Ca., ISBN: 978-0-12-088449-0, pages 147-197.
Pacini N., Harper D.M., Henderson P, Le Quesne T. (2013a) Chapter 11 - Lost in muddy waters: freshwater biodiversity. In "Key Topics in Conservation 2" [D. MacDonald, ed.], Oxford University Press, Oxford, pages 184-203.
Pacini N., Donabaum K., Henry De Villeneuve P., Konecny R., Pineschi G. , Pochon Y., Salerno F., Schwaiger K., Tartari G., Wolfram G., Zieritz I. (2013b) Water quality management in a vulnerable large river: the Nile in Egypt. International Journal of River Basin Management (accepted for publication).
Personal Resume: Dr. Nic Pacini, Researcher at the Department of Environmental and Chemical Engineering of the University of Calabria, is an honorary visiting fellow at the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research / Department of Geography at the University of Leicester (UK). His activities in Kenya and in North Africa allowed him to develop a number of publications assessing biodiversity and ecosystem services in Afrotropical wetlands and streams.