Thursday, 2 October 2014

Biosciences Seminar Speaker - 02 October 2014

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2014
02 October 2014 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

The effects of climate change on valuable river fish

Dr. Siân Griffiths

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Black rivers once crossed South Wales, through landscapes blighted by coal mining industries. After the closure of all coal mines at the end of the 80ies, clean up operations started, especially by the Environment Agency, Local Authorities and angling clubs, and after 20 years the rivers were again so clean that the salmon could come back (e.g. see here). 

Further changes lie ahead though for the salmon populations, caused by climate change and land use changes, such as restoration of riparian broadleaf forests. Our seminar speaker this week, Dr. Siân Griffiths from Cardiff University, has a long standing research interest in the behaviour and ecology of fish populations, be it sharks in the Bahamas, the schooling behaviour of minnows, or the ecology and management of salmonids in southern Wales. 

After studies at Aberyswyth, Oxford and St. Andrews, Siân became a NERC Research Fellow at Glasgow University and the Fisheries Research Services, Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry, then joined the faculty at Cardiff University. One of her key research interests is on the consequences of climate change and forest management on the ecology and distribution of salmonids in Southern Wales, as she will describe in her seminar:

The societal value, ecological importance and thermal sensitivity of stream-dwelling salmonids have prompted interest in adaptive management strategies to limit the effects of climate change on their habitats. Additionally, in northern temperate regions, the management and restoration of riparian broadleaf forest is advocated increasingly to dampen variations in stream water temperatures and discharge, but might have collateral effects on salmonids by changing allochthonous subsidies. 
Bjarne Ragnarsson

Here, I discuss a range of field and mesocosm experiments, using traditional techniques from animal ecology and behaviour, alongside stable isotope analysis in salmonids and their invertebrate prey to test whether catchment cover of broadleaf trees could increase salmonid density or biomass or their reliance on production of terrestrial origin. The implications of our findings for climate change adaptation will be discussed.

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Everyone will be most welcome to attend, students included, as usual.

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