Launch of REFRESH and BioFresh
Martin Kernan leads an EU FP7 programme on adapting freshwater ecosystems to climate change as UCL’s lead scientist in a programme to develop a freshwater biodiversity information platform for Europe.
February 1st saw the launch of two related EU FP7 research programmes, one led by Dr Martin Kernan of the Environmental Change Research Centre (REFRESH), to run over the next four years.
REFRESH will develop a system to help water managers design cost-effective programmes to restore freshwater ecosystems, and adapt them to future climate change, in support of the European Water Framework and Habitats Directives. The focus is on pressures from increasing temperatures, changing water levels and flow regimes, and excess nutrients. Priority will be given to lowland systems which often pose the most difficult problems in meeting both the requirements of the WFD and Habitats Directive.
BioFresh will build an information platform to bring together currently scattered information on freshwater biodiversity, making it available to policy makers, scientists, planners and practitioners. Use of the data will allow improved predictions of the responses of freshwater biodiversity to future climate and socioeconomic pressures in Europe. The programme will also enable freshwater biodiversity to be incoporated into water policy and international environmental agreements (i.e. Ramsar Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity), and into EU directives such as Natura 2000. It is also intended to strengthen public awareness about the status and the importance of freshwater biodiversity for environmental and human well-being.