Impacts of climate change and urban growth on ecological populations in the River Thames Basin

Theme: Biodiversity & Ecology

Primary Supervisor:

Kevin Clemitshaw

Department of Earth Sciences, RHUL

Kevin Clemitshaw's Profile Picture
Additional Supervisor(s):

Project Description:

Under the NERC project POLLCurb, CEH Wallingford is developing an observational data base of the impacts of long-term urban growth on the hydrology and water quality of two rivers in the River Thames Basin: the Cut in Bracknell and the Ray in Swindon. Long term water flow and water quality records combined with land-use change data on will enable predictions of future water quality to be made under different urban development policies and scenarios.

However, the impacts of changes in hydrology and water quality on local ecology are not being studied within POLLCurb. This PhD studentship will therefore examine these impacts via extensive analysis and interpretation of historic observational ecological surveys and monitoring data. Bird surveys will be conducted, and changes in time to river morphology, fauna

(macro-invertebrates), flora (macrophytes), and riparian habitats will be identified. Data interpretation will be aided by statistical analyses and the use of numerical models designed to predict future ecological impacts of urban growth. Data from the British Trust for Ornithology Wetland Bird Survey, a tri-annual grid-based national survey of transects along river corridors and standing water bodies, will also be used.

Policy Impact of Research:

This work will contribute valuable information to the NERC project, POLLCurb; it will also aid the Environment Agency (EA) in achieving the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) targets for water quality within the River Thames Basin.


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