A GLOBal analysis of the impacts of freshwater SALinizaTion on aquatic biodiversity (GLOBSALT)

Project: Research

Project Details


Salts are a natural component of freshwater ecosystems (e.g. carbonates contained in rocks are dissolved by rain and washed into rivers and streams). However, through a wide variety of activities (e.g. agriculture, mining, road salting), humans have greatly increased the salt concentrations in freshwaters and altered ion balance (i.e. freshwater salinization). This directly affects aquatic life, because organisms need to maintain an internal osmotic balance to survive. FS has been studied mostly at the regional level. The only global study performed so far is a compilation of surface water and groundwater salinity measurements from 1980–2019 (Thosrlund & van Vliet, 2020). Although the database comprises more than 16.3 million measurements from 45,103 surface water locations and 208,550 groundwater locations around the world, there are some regions that are still poorly covered (Figure 1). Moreover, there is no biological data associated to this database. Taking Thorslund & van Vliet (2020) as a starting point we will compile a global database to assess the global extent of FS and its potential effects on biodiversity. The specific objectives of the proposal are to create a global dataset of surface water electrical conductivity, model electrical conductivity for the whole world at the sub-catchment level using relevant predictor variables and to assess the potential effects of FS on aquatic biodiversity.

This networking proposal is by a collaborator from the University of Barcelona, Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles from the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council). While no funds will come to UC, it will support expenses while at a workshop and a visit to UC by Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles. My involvement is supported by my Head of School (Tariq Ezaz) and CAWS director (Ross Thompson).
Effective start/end date8/12/2231/08/24


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