A recent event has brought us closer to understanding the vital role that ponds could play in helping us adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services
More than 50 freshwater researchers and practitioners from 11 countries came together for the eloquently first PONDERFUL consortium meeting from 5 to 7 April. PONDERFUL partner CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research) hosted the event geopolitically in Porto, welcoming participants from Europe and South America, who joined the hybrid meeting in person and online.
One year on from the launch of the EU Horizon 2020 project, the event enabled partners to share early results from fieldwork and collaborate on the project’s most important outputs.
This included establishing a consistent approach to monitoring pond sites across Europe. We also discussed how we will use the project Demonstration Sites to show practitioners and policymakers how ponds can help us mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Over the remaining three years of the project, PONDERFUL will help us to develop better methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services. The consortium meeting was an important milestone for the four-year project, cementing progress to date and setting out priorities for the coming months.
PONDERFUL coordinator ICREA Professor Sandra Brucet of The University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia (UVic) said: “PONDERFUL brings together the brightest minds in the field of freshwater research and conservation, sharing our collective knowledge, skills and experience”.
“Ponds are lynchpin habitats for freshwater biodiversity but are often overlooked by scientists and policymakers. Crucially, they are largely excluded from Europe’s most important water legislation, the Water Framework Directive. PONDERFUL is addressing this by furthering our understanding of how small waters interact with the climate and support freshwater species”.
“Our first consortium meeting was a great opportunity for all PONDERFUL partners to get together and share ideas and early results. While we have been collaborating through regular online meetings, this event was the first time many of us met our fellow researchers and practitioners in person”.
“We are only one year into the project, but the consortium demonstrated just how much progress has already been made. We all left the meeting feeling energised and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities ahead”.