Potential aquatic flagship species identified based on their popularity (relative internet search frequency); presented are top-ranked marine (killer whale, Orcinus orca, and great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran) and freshwater species (hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, and platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus) [Davies et al. 2018. PLOS One 13:e0203694]. See the paper for image attributions. The digital revolution in the age of big data is creating new research opportunities. Approaches such as culturomics and iEcology promise to provide huge benefits and novel sources of information for ecological research, and conservation management and policy. In a recent publication, an international research team led by the Biology Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences is looking at the opportunities and challenges of applying these tools in aquatic research. Freshwater and marine coastal habitats are severely threatened by a range of human impacts, including habitat loss, damming, invasive alien species, pollution, climate change, and overfishing. However, aquatic research is more challenging compared to research done on land due to logistical difficulties of working in aquatic environments and the low visibility and detectability in water. Furthermore, current research and monitoring are also insufficient to cope with the changes and impacts that frequently occur faster than they can be actively […]

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