|Title||Ecosystem services provided by freshwater benthos|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Authors||Covich, A, Ewel, KC, Hall, CAS, Giller, PG, Merritt, DM, Goedkoop, W|
|Book Title||Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Soils and Sediments|
The concept of ecosystem goods and services (Daile 1997; Heal 2000; Brismar 2002) conveys how natural processes such as biomass production and nutrient cycling are essential to the Earth's capacity for sustaining human populations. Here we examine how species diversity and ecosystem processes, which supply these goods and services to human societies, are mediated by sediment-or bottom-dwelling (benthic) organisms in fresh waters. Benthic invertebrates, microbes, and aquatic plants are widely distributed in fresh waters. Their ecology is well understood in many temperate-zone regions and the diversity of freshwater benthic communities is broadly documented (Bronmark & Hansson 1998; Giller & Malmqvist 1998; Thorp & Covich 2001). This biota includes some species that are restricted in their distributions and are functionally specialized.