Mountain View

Predicting effects of climate warming on stream ecosystem structure and function

non-snowy mountainsSnowy Mountains

We have been studying the influence of temperature and nutrient supply (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) on the structure and function of stream ecosystems in the Hengill region of Iceland. Streams in this area are variably warmed by geothermal heat, with mean temperatures ranging from 5°C to 30°C. Although temperatures are variable, stream solute chemistry is similar due to the indirect warming of groundwater. Thus, streams in this area provide a unique natural laboratory for examining effects of climate warming and other perturbations on on stream structure and function. 

We’ have just recieved an NSF-NERC grant to extend our research to examine the effects of warming on stream ecosystem responses to drought.  We plan to conduct drought experiments across a range of temperatures at the whole-stream scale (in Iceland) and in replicated mesocosms (at U of Birmingham, UK).  



The Team


Other long-term collaborators 

  • Jim Hood, Ohio State University
  • Jon Olafsson, Iceland Marine and Freshwater Research institute
  • Eoin O'Gorman, University of Essex
  • Guy Woodward, Imperial College London
  • Jill Welter, School for International Training
  • Paula Furey, St. Catherine University
  • Benoit Demars, Norwegian Water Research Institute