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Title: Regional and basin scale modelling of hydro-ecology : potential impacts of climate change from a conservation perspective
Author: David, Jonathan Neil William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 5884
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The principal objective of this thesis has been to assess the potential impacts of climate change on hydro-ecology at the regional and basin scale, with particular reference to the associated effects these may have on conservation efforts. Different methodologies are required when considering climate-change impact at regional and basin scales. At the regional scale, the vulnerability of European HydroBasins was determined through the application of a 'top-down' methodology to climate assessment and incorporation of novel approaches in determining both catchment and species sensitivity and resilience to climate change. The congruence between existing European protected areas and catchments most vulnerable to climate change was explored, suggesting fewer than 25% of these catchments are currently adequately included. At the basin scale, a 'scenario-neutral' approach was adopted, and the sensitivity of four key hydro-ecological variables to perturbed climatic drivers identified on a catchment-by-catchment basis in the Thames Basin, UK. Linking these responses to Water Framework Directive thresholds of environmental quality and the application of UKCP09 probabilistic scenarios generated quantifiable estimates of potential ecological alteration under climate change. Protocols were developed to further aggregate these into whole basin summary maps, and congruence between existing protected areas and potential ecological alteration under climate change was explored. The results presented in this thesis should be used to a) re-design the European protected area network to better account for projected climate change, and b) explore the most effective management strategies in mitigating climate change within existing protected areas of the Thames Basin and identify high impact Priority River Habitats for conservation and restoration.
Supervisor: Whitehead, Paul G. Sponsor: National Environmental Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Climatic changes ; Hydrologic models ; Freshwater ecology