Landscape Ecology of Aquatic Ecosystems

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Landscape ecology has only a short history as a recognized discipline, but it has transformed our thinking about the interplay between pattern and process. We now understand that many smaller-scale phenomena are driven by spatial processes, such as the proximity of different habitats to one another, the ability of organisms to move through landscapes, and the dynamics of natural disturbance such as fires, floods, and droughts. We have worked over the past two decades to apply ideas from metapopulation biology and landscape spatial processes to understanding the effects of habitat fragmentation, alteration, and restoration. As a result, our perspective has completely changed from the traditional emphasis on site- or reach-scale factors influencing aquatic species in river networks. In nearly every study we conduct, we continue to push on the boundaries of our understanding of landscape processes and their relevance to how we think about species life histories, restoring ecosystems, and evaluating climate impacts.