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Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN)

Over the past decade Marine Scotland Science, in collaboration with researchers at the universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham and Strathclyde, has been working to improve our understanding of:

  1. spatial variability in stream temperature

  2. controls on stream temperature

  3. the influence of forestry on stream temperature

  4. the potential effects of climate change on stream temperature

  5. the influence of stream temperature on salmon growth and performance

Further information can be found in the list of references.

More recently, the Co-ordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment and Rural Affairs Scotland (CAMERAS) undertook a review of freshwater monitoring in Scotland, highlighting the scarcity of available information and the need to establish a national temperature monitoring network. In 2013, MSS and the University of Birmingham received NERC CASE funding for a PhD studentship to help plan and develop such a network, while MSS also developed the necessary calibration, quality control and database infrastructure required. The network will be delivered in collaboration with fisheries organisations and CAMERAS' partners. Through the aforementioned PhD project the SRTMN aims to address the following objectives:

  1. to characterise spatial and temporal variability in river temperature regimes for salmon rivers across Scotland

  2. to improve understanding of hydrological, climatological and landscape controls on river temperature

  3. to develop large-scale spatial statistical models to predict current and future river temperatures

  4. to identify those rivers, and parts of rivers, that will be most susceptible to a changing climate

  5. to assess mitigation and adaptation strategies for high summer temperatures

  6. to assess long-term trends in river water temperature and drivers of change

Annual data reports and analyses will be provided from the network which will offer an important evidence base on changing stream temperatures in Scottish rivers within a carefully quality controlled monitoring setup that can inform local fisheries management. A timeline and deliverables have been agreed for the project.

The Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network fits within a broader package of work that includes quality control, logger calibration, data storage and management and scientific process understanding (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1

Figure 1: Diagram showing river temperature research and monitoring strategy. Items in the blue boxes are covered by the Joint Code of Practice (JCoP)