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Title: Influence of hydrology, hydraulics and temperature on Atlantic salmon habitat : modelling-based approaches for sustainable river management
Author: Fabris, Luca
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 0277
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis, we improved our understanding of the effects of hydrology, stream hydraulics, and temperature on juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) habitat. We demonstrated the key role played by stream morphology and flow regime on in-channel hydraulics and consequently on salmonid habitat. Additionally, we showed how riparian afforestation has potential to moderate climate change effects on stream temperature preserving freshwater ecosystems. The Girnock Burn is an upland Scottish river that has been intensively studied to investigate flow generation processes and stream temperature, and has served as a long-term monitoring site for Atlantic salmon population dynamics since 1966. The general approach applied consisted of combining different types of models including: hydraulic, fish habitat, hydrological and heat transfer models with long-term hydrological and climatic data sets, and digital terrain models (DTMs) at different spatio-temporal scales. Our results showed that the extensive presence of roughness elements (e.g. boulders and cobbles) is capable to provide some refuge areas for juvenile salmon fry for a wide range of flows. However, under extreme flow conditions, in-channel hydraulics might represent a limiting factor. Significant inter-site differences occurred and were consistent throughout the years. Evidence of long-term trend in fry habitat quality could be identified only in summer. Since more extreme flow regimes are expected in the future as a result of climate change, we also proposed a novel analytical approach that allowed us to assess the effects of hydroclimatic variation on fish populations outside the range of observations. Finally, we showed the potential of afforestation to reduce daily stream temperature range, moderating both low and high peaks of more than 2 ○C. This makes riparian shading a valuable mitigation strategy to contrast global warming effects on stream temperatures that should be considered for a sustainable catchment management.
Supervisor: Soulsby, Chris ; Malcolm, Ian ; Tetzlaff, Doerthe Sponsor: University of Aberdeen ; Marine Scotland Science
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atlantic salmon ; Hydrology ; Stream measurements