When the first edition of Methods in Stream Ecology was published in 1996, we hoped that it would prove useful to practicing stream ecologists, and perhaps as a supplementary textbook for aquatic ecology courses. However, we and our contributing authors have been delighted that the book has been accepted worldwide as the basic text in stream ecology. The first edition served well for ten years as a reference for both instruction and research. However, as in any dynamic research area, the book was in need of modernization to keep pace with important methodological developments. Unlike the first edition, which stressed exercises that could generally be completed within a few hours or an afternoon of intensive field work, the second edition provides both classroom-style exercises and research-level methods appropriate for the most rigorous investigations.
As we pointed out in the first edition, perhaps no other area of aquatic ecology requires a more interdisciplinary approach than stream ecology. Geology, geomorphology, fluid mechanics, hydrology, biogeochemistry, nutrient dynamics, microbiology, botany, invertebrate zoology, fish biology, food web analysis, bioproduction, and biomonitoring are but a few of the disciplines from which stream ecology draws. The science of stream ecology continues to advance at a remarkably rapid rate, as evidenced by the virtual explosion of publications in stream ecological research during the past two decades. Along with the rapid increase in research activity, we have seen a commensurate increase in the teaching of stream ecology at the upper undergraduate and graduate levels at major colleges and universities. Likewise, scientists, government agencies, resource managers, and the general public have grown keenly aware of stream ecology as an integrative science that can help societies around the globe grapple with environmental degradation of their water resources. Indeed, streams and rivers are fundamental to the human existence, and many organizations and user groups have emerged globally to protect these unique habitats that are so vital to global biodiversity, complexity, and sustainability. We hope that this book will also be of value to these groups.