For over 15 years, Marine Scotland Science has worked with researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham and Strathclyde to improve our understanding of river temperature.
This river temperature research can be broadly classified according to the following research themes:
- Characterising, understanding and predicting spatial variability in river temperature.
- Understanding and modelling physical controls on river temperature.
- Understanding and predicting the influence of forestry on river temperature.
- Assessing the likely effects of climate change on river temperature.
- Understanding relationships between river temperature and salmon growth.
For more information please look at the list of references.
In 2013 the Coordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment and Rural Affairs Scotland (CAMERAS) undertook a review of freshwater monitoring in Scotland, highlighting the scarcity of available information on river temperature and the need to establish a national monitoring network. The Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN) was established in response to these evidence needs. The network was designed as a scientific collaboration between MSS and the University of Birmingham, supported by a NERC CASE funded PhD studentship (2013-2017). MSS manages SRTMN ensuring logger calibration, quality control and data storage. Data collection is undertaken by MSS, fisheries trusts and boards.
The objectives of SRTMN are to:
- Develop large-scale spatial statistical models to understand and predict river temperatures across Scotland.
- Identify the warmest and most climatically sensitive (those likely to change most under climate change) rivers.
- Understand the effects of bankside shading on river temperature in different environmental settings.
- Develop tools to enable river managers to prioritise tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change on Scottish rivers.
- Measure and assess long-term changes in river water temperature.
The Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network is part of a broader research strategy on river temperature that includes infrastructure provision (quality control, logger calibration, data storage) scientific process understanding and management advice (Fig 1).
Figure 1: Schematic showing river temperature research and monitoring strategy