Aidan Byrne

Aidan Byrne

Profile
Profile Display Name:

Aidan Byrne

E-mail Address:

aidan.byrne.20@ucl.ac.uk

Start Year

2020 (Cohort 7)

Research interests:
Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Investigating the effects of rapid land-use change on the biodiversity of East African Rift Valley Lakes

Research Theme

Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution

IOZ

Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution

KCL

Additional supervisor(s)

Dr Peter Njoroge (National Museums of Kenya),
Dr Robin Freeman (IOZ),
Dr Mike Chadwick (KCL),

Abstract

East African Rift Valley lakes are some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Ranging from freshwater to hypersaline, the gradient of aquatic environments they provide supports a wealth of biodiversity including crocodiles, hippos and the world’s largest population of Lesser Flamingos. However, these lakes are under threat. Growing populations in SubSaharan Africa exert greater pressure on the lakes and their catchments, with rapid land-use change degrading both water quality and hydrological processes. Additional threats in the region include invasive species, toxic cyanobacterial blooms and a changing climate. The impact these threats are having on Rift Valley biodiversity must be understood, given the vital role it plays in supporting ecosystem services and livelihoods in East Africa. This project will use satellite remote sensing to assess land-use change, the invasion extent of the alien tree Prosopis juliflora and cyanobacterial bloom dynamics in Rift Valley catchments. Assessments will be combined with information about waterbird abundance and fisheries catch, as well as bioacoustic data for terrestrial fauna, to determine the impact these threats pose to biodiversity in the region. Results will provide invaluable information to policymakers for the future management of Rift Valley lake catchments.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
Publications

None

Activities
Conferences and Workshops
  • Living Planet Symposium 2022 (May 2022). Talk: Earth observation for investigating changes in water quality and Lesser Flamingo abundance in East African Rift Valley lakes.: https://express.converia.de/frontend/index.php?page_id=18446&v=List&do=15&day=all&ses=20824#anker_session_20824
  • Living Planet Symposium 2022 (May 2022). Poster: Optical classification of inland waters using remote sensing: a synthesis of current research and future opportunities.
Training courses
  • Monitoring Harmful Algal Blooms, hosted by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. June 2022

Social Links
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