New research led by the University of Stirling is to explore how pollution and climate change are impacting freshwater ecosystems for the first time.

The study, which has been awarded funding of £2million from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), will investigate how pollutants interact with rivers and ecosystems, and devise a system to monitor and measure pollution.

Professor Andrew Tyler, the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair and project lead, said: “Our rivers and freshwater species are being challenged by a bewildering combination of pollutant cocktails including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, illicit drugs and micro plastics – the effects of which are poorly understood. “This research will transform our knowledge in this area and use innovative technologies and transformative data analytics to improve our understanding of how climate and evolving mixtures of pollutants interact and ultimately impact on freshwater ecosystems.”

Researchers to monitor the impact of contaminants on freshwater environments

Using next generation sensors and satellite monitoring, experts will assess water pathways, follow pollutants and monitor the impact of contaminants on freshwater environments. The team will also call on existing national data to investigate the impacts of longer-term exposure to pollutant cocktails across the UK on water quality and ecosystems health whilst also identifying effective solutions.

The project, MOT4Rivers, also includes experts from the James Hutton Institute, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, The School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and is supported by Scottish Water.

The study’s findings will be reported in mid-2025, with the research team hopeful the results will inform priorities for policy, regulation and investment in measures to promote sustainable freshwater ecosystems under a changing climate.

Further information from the University of Sterling can be found here.

No Comment

Comments are closed.