Deliverable 2.6

Summary report on the key ecological, functional and biodiversity responses to temperature changes upon management measures in rivers across Europe


Abstract: The aim of the REFRESH project is to investigate the effects of changing climate on freshwater ecosystems and to identify effective adaptive management strategies that will help mitigate any impact of climate change on European freshwater systems. Climate change scenarios generally predict an increase in temperature in the EU in coming decades. Running waters are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the combined effects of increasing temperatures and increased frequency of droughts and floods. Temperature is a defining factor of species distribution over small and large spatial scales and analyzing how ecosystems changes in relation to temperatures are therefore of great value. The principal objective of this deliverable is therefore to investigate how structure, function and biodiversity of running waters change with changing temperature. This objective was met by applying quantitative meta-analysis to published data on how stream ecosystems change to changing temperatures. We analyzed the data in relation to predicted temperature change across Europe and made prediction of how measures of ecosystem structure and function might change with increasing temperatures in different climatic regions of Europe. Finally we also described how management strategies can be used to mitigate the predicted changes. To this end, we used management measures already described within REFRESH under deliverables 1.1 and 1.2.

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