HYDRA will focus on the study of how river systems are affected by Hydrological Alteration from dam operation and land use changes.

Figure 3. Dam operation and land use changes affect both many different variables that control local biological assemblages and in turn river ecosystem functioning and services.

The HYDRA specific objectives are:

  • Develop and test a methodology to assess hydrological alteration due to changes on dam operation and land use changes and identify the main spatial patterns on hydrological alteration.
  • Improve our understanding of how the flow regime interacts with different levels of biological organization to control river system functioning.
  • Identify covariance on the effects of HA produced by dam operation and land use changes through the modification of temperature regimens and DOM quality.
  • Test the sensitivity and reliability of biological metrics currently used in the application of the WFD to account for the effects of dams and land use changes.
  • Enhance the current monitoring of riverine systems by producing a new generation of indicators of biodiversity and river system functioning (Essential Biodiversity Variables, sensu GEO BON).
  • Improve our knowledge on the dependence of river service provisioning on different levels of biological organisation.
  • Improve natural resource management and analysis of trade-offs among aquatic and terrestrial land uses through enhanced mechanistic understanding.
  • Develop web tools and databases in order to communicate project results and facilitate the use of the new data to the wider scientific, stakeholder and business communities.