The hydroecological response of Greenlandic streams to a changing climate

Docherty, Catherine Louise (2018). The hydroecological response of Greenlandic streams to a changing climate. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Arctic streams are vulnerable to climate change due to the strong linkage between cryosphere, hydrology, physicochemical habitat and ecology. Our knowledge on how stream hydroecological dynamics will respond to climate change is largely based on the impact of the reduction in glacial extent in a warmer Arctic, however our knowledge of the response of Arctic streams with low glacial input are poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, three field campaigns to Zackenberg (northeast Greenland) were carried out (2013 – 2015) to investigate snowmelt stream hydroecological patterns and processes. Streams were chosen that were sourced from both small and large snowpacks, representing low and high snowfall conditions. Streams with large snowpacks were found to have low channel stability and high suspended sediment concentration compared to streams with small snowpacks. Channel stability, rather than water temperature, was the most important factor influencing macroinvertebrate community dynamics, where streams with low channel stability had reduced macroinvertebrate density and taxa richness. The results of this research recommend new classifications to Arctic and alpine stream habitat types, and suggest that, as snowfall is predicted to increase in the Arctic, snowmelt-fed streams may experience decreased channel stability, and as such, a decline in macroinvertebrate density and diversity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: European Commission, Natural Environment Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences


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