By Trevor Day

The geography and geology of lakes and rivers is an engaging topic. From plankton to greater fishes and flora and fauna, rivers and lakes are wealthy with biodiversity. The earliest civilizations have been established round rivers, together with the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, and Indus and Huang Ho valleys. Illustrating the actual geography, hydrology, ecology, and human use of those parts, "Lakes and Rivers" presents an outstanding review of the prior, current, and way forward for those habitats. This quantity concludes with a dialogue of threats to rivers and lakes, reminiscent of overharvesting, results of damming, pollutants, and weather swap, in addition to how you can deal with and defend those habitats.

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The combination of random and predictable processes, repeated again and again, results in rivers developing a branching network as tributaries join together. These principles of randomness and predictability operate at different scales—from a small stream to a major tributary—and so the network generated has a similar appearance at different scales of magnitude. complex the stream system, the more orders of stream it has (see sidebar). In very large river systems, the main channel may be a 10th-order stream, as in the case of the Mississippi.

Eventually, the succession from an aquatic community, through boggy conditions, to dry land penetrates to the center of the former lake. Forest has replaced open water. Similar successions, but involving different types and species of plants, occur in lakes in other climates. Many factors cause lakes to disappear. Climatic changes can reduce the level of precipitation in a particular region so that lakes and rivers dry up. In limestone regions, prolonged drought starves the ground of water and sinkhole ponds and lakes dry up.

This effect is caused by high levels of organic matter that sink from the epilimnion and decay in the hypolimnion, encouraging bacterial growth that strips the water of much of its oxygen. In aging lowland lakes, submerged freshwater plants such as broad-leaved pond weeds gradually become replaced by those with floating leaves, such as water lilies and water hyacinth. The process of plants colonizing the edges of the lake continues. The plants accumulate sediment around their roots and stems, and when they die back each winter, their rotted remains contribute further to the sediment.

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