|Town/Region||Labudovo Okno, Posebni Rezervat Prirode Gornje Podunavlje, Specijaini Rezervat Prirode Zasavica|
|Date||13 Jun 2018|
Wetlands represent the hot spots of biodiversity and habitat for unique flora and fauna, providing refuge for rare and threatened species that finds their ecological niches in, or near the water. Wetlands provide significant ecosystem services, and in the base of provisioning these services - there are stoneworts. Stoneworts play various important roles in ecosystems they are inhabiting, they provide shelter for zooplankton and other invertebrate populations, also for fish, they stabilize sediment, they act as nutrient sink and enhance water clarity, and also serve as food source for wildfowl. Thus, stoneworts have an important role in providing base of a food chain in aquatic ecosystems. All available data on stoneworts diversity and distribution in selected localities in Serbia are single and sporadic findings and no long term, even seasonal data were ever obtained.
Our project will investigate diversity and distribution of stoneworts in three Ramsar sites in Serbia, in wetlands of Gornje Podunavlje, Zasavica and Labudovo okno. Project activities will include fieldwork in selected Ramsar sites in two seasons – 2018 and 2019. Collected material will be herbarized, identified and inventory of detected species will be made. Herbarized material will make a base for the future projects concerning morphological plasticity and genetic variability of stoneworts, contributing to the upgrade of literature for the morphological determination of stoneworts. This will also be one step closer to the realization of our future plans for national guide for stonewort identification. According to the obtained results, we will establish the current state on stonewort’s diversity and distribution, and try to address the potential threats. We will provide educational and promo material and hold public presentations for school children, students and interested parties in protected areas within our awareness raising programme. For the purpose of stoneworts (and their habitats) promotion, landscape photographs, underwater photography and micrographs will be made.
Finally, we aim to provide baseline data on stonewort diversity and distribution, necessary for recognizing stoneworts in selected Ramsar sites in Serbia and for establishing protection measures for both stonewort species and their habitats.
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