Water Objective WA-2.3

Responses of river, lake and wetland ecosystems to ecohydrological drivers

Water Objective WA-2.3 contributes to meeting CEH Science Strategy Challenge II (to identify processes linking physical and chemical changes in the environment with ecosystem responses) by improving the surveying and monitoring of aquatic systems, identifying indicators and traits of ecosystem status, and quantitative estimates of resilience and response.

Water Objective WA-2.3 aims to:

  • Improve survey methods and monitoring systems for ecosystem assessment
  • Develop new indices relating measured biological quality to pressures
  • Model response of freshwater ecosystems to variability and change (single and multiple stressors)
  • Assess the effects of floods and droughts on biological communities
  • Quantify the effectiveness of ecosystems  in mediating nutrient loads
  • Define hydrological and hydro-chemical thresholds for ecosystem change
  • Assess the impacts of ecosystem change (e.g. restoration) on functions and services

These activities inform and are informed by their counterparts in the Biogeochemistry and Biodiversity Programmes and the Environmental Information Data Centre.


Areas of research

Water Objective WA-2.3 undertakes research which is supported by a wide range of stakeholders which include the European Commission, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Countryside Council for Wales, etc.

Areas of research relevant to Objective WA-2.3 include:

  • Wetland and lake responses to climate change
  • River macrophytes and flow
  • Ecological responses to eutrophication and restoration
  • Dynamics of carbon in lakes
  • Fish responses to environmental stress
  • Ecosystem engineering by river macrophytes
  • Algal biofilms and macronutrient cycling

Collaborative research projects

WA-2.3 contributes to many collaborative projects. Examples include: