Humans are globally increasing the salt concentration of freshwaters (i.e. freshwater salinization), leading to significant effects at the population, community and ecosystem level. The present theme issue focuses on priority research questions and delivers results that contribute to shaping the future research agenda on freshwater salinization as well as fostering our capacity to manage salinization. The issue is structured along five topics: (i) the estimation of future salinity and evaluation of the relative contribution of the different drivers; (ii) the physiological responses of organisms to alterations in ion concentrations with a specific focus on the osmophysiology of freshwater insects and the responses of different organisims to seawater intrusion; (iii) the impact of salinization on ecosystem functioning, also considering the connections between riparian and stream ecosystems; (iv) the role of context in moderating the response to salinization. The contributions scrutinise the role of additional stressors, biotic interactions, the identify of the ions and their ratios, as well as of the biogeographic and evolutionary context; and (v) the public discourse on salinization and recommendations for management and regulation. In this paper we introduce the general background of salinization, outline research gaps and report key findings from the contributions to this theme issue. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Salt in freshwaters: causes, ecological consequences and future prospects’.
Cañedo-Argüelles, M., Kefford, B., & Schäfer, R. (2019, January 21). Salt in freshwaters: Causes, effects and prospects - Introduction to the theme issue. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Royal Society Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2018.0002