HoTRiverS is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Independent Fellowship hosted by the University of Birmingham and funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 initiative, with support also from Marine Scotland Science.
The goal of HoTRiverS is to gain a better understanding of the processes driving temperature patterns in rivers. River temperature is very important to a range of freshwater fish species which are highly intolerant of temperature extremes. However, the growing influence of climate change means that river organisms are increasingly threatened by high temperatures. As a result, temperature-driven fish mortality events are increasingly being observed across Europe and North America.
Despite this worrying trend, some rivers contain alternating patterns of cool and warm water (known as river temperature heterogeneity) which may enhance their resilience to effects of climate change. These rivers will be increasingly important in sustaining fluvial biodiversity in the future. However, little is currently known about how river temperature heterogeneity varies through space or time.
The HoTRiverS project therefore aims to quantify temperature heterogeneity across key UK rivers and to identify the controls and processes that drive these patterns. By providing new information on temperature patterns in UK rivers, we hope to help ensure the continued survival of freshwater ecosystems threatened by climate change.
In order to to this, the project will combine river temperature data from high resolution airborne thermal infrared imaging (using drones) with detailed meteorological observations to build computer models showing how and why river temperature varies through time and space.
The project team consists of Dr. Steve Dugdale, Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Earth and Environment Science at the University of Birmingham, Prof. David Hannah, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Birmingham and Dr. Iain Malcolm of the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory at Marine Scotland Science.