Hello! Kherlen here, and I am back on the blog to share about my MSc dissertation research, which I am leading with the FIRE Lab team.

My project explores how instream infrastructure (bridges, dams, weirs) can affect the migration of European Eels (Anguilla anguilla) in River Clyde catchment, Scotland. It is hard to imagine a world without any instream infrastructure; there are tens of millions around the world. This infrastructure can limit the movement of aquatic biota, materials (like leaves, trees, sediment) and nutrients in our waterways.  

We require data on the locations of these infrastructure to better understand the impacts that these can have on our natural environments and to identify potential solutions for mitigation. It would also be helpful for environmental management and policies to know how passable different infrastructure types are for species such as European Eel. In turn, my research aims to create an inventory of river infrastructure, and to construct and evaluate differences between scenarios of these structures’ passabilities for European Eel in the River Clyde Catchment.

Now about their dependence on ocean and rivers. Once European Eels hatch in the Sargasso Sea, they migrate towards inland waters in Europe and North Africa, and upstream as elver to develop into silver eels. As both a migratory and protected species their journey from sea to inland waters and vice versa needs to be successful. My study will be focusing on elver European Eels, because this is a key stage of their life-cycle in inland waters and when they are likely to encounter instream infrastructure that can limit their movement upstream.

By creating a systematic inventory of infrastructure and relative passability of structures in River Clyde Catchment, we can begin to explore the influence of infrastructure on European Eel upstream movement (as an indicator of impact on their population). Results from my study are likely to be of interest to different groups making decisions about infrastructure remediation in line with current UK legislation to facilitate inland fish passage.

I would like to thank my project supervisors, Stephanie and Miguel, also fellow members of the FIRE lab team for their continuing guidance and support throughout my project! I hope to keep you all updated on the outcomes of the project and its potential implications. To hear more about the project, please email me: kherlen.shinebayar(at)swansea.ac.uk. Thank you for reading!

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