Thermal gradients

River and Riparian Ecosystems across a Rural-Urban Thermal Gradient.

A tree in spring with lots of green leafs.
The pattern of spring leaf bud burst was one of the factors investigated.

Project background

This project, currently being undertaken by Sheffield University student Chih-Wei Tsai, aims to understand how spatial thermal gradients shape river and riparian ecosystems. There are three main topics being explored:

  1. Temperature data collection and analysis
  2. Observations of leaf phenological events in spring (bud burst)
  3. Autumn leaf fall and the timing of aquatic-terrestrial subsidy transport

The project, a PhD undertaken in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, will combine field studies (eg environmental measurements, community analysis), laboratory experiments (eg physiological/behaviour studies) and modelling approaches to investigate the ecological consequences of a rural-urban thermal gradient.

Key findings

According to the results from leaf phenological observations, leaf-fall in autumn of both species, sycamore and common ash, occurred earlier in the urban regions.

However, the pattern of budburst in spring was different. Preliminary analysis shows that air temperature data in urban sites is consistently warmer than in rural sites, which may be a contributory factor to phenological changes.

The area that student Chih-Wei Tsai carried out her research.
© Crown Copyright/database right 2011. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service. River layer kindly licensed from the Environment Agency.

Additional details

Site locations: See the list of site grid references below.

LATITUDE LONGITUDE X COORDINATE Y COORDINATE
53.45834600 -1.55244100 429814.78487240 395827.02163108
53.45428900 -1.55198500 429847.89755516 395375.86917349
53.44045500 -1.53666200 430875.40127242 393843.33672383
53.41611000 -1.40649900 439544.03392172 391199.03021672
53.41526300 -1.41356500 439075.18117314 391100.91930751
53.40931100 -1.42184900 438529.95602369 390434.27285365
53.40324600 -1.52504200 431674.82064159 389708.92844654
53.40263700 -1.49226400 433854.49283311 389656.18170821
53.40098200 -1.54269000 430503.13579712 389449.39636013
53.40031000 -1.53660200 430908.39367305 389377.24790613
53.40001100 -1.50670500 432896.41326036 389357.30791363
53.39566200 -1.44120700 437255.04923949 388905.58699228
53.39115600 -1.47721100 434864.63541643 388386.15935217
53.38391300 -1.54122500 430612.74489459 387551.11082649
53.38337100 -1.54453000 430393.30235930 387489.40615143
53.36040600 -1.47466400 435059.18975158 384966.51290874
53.34970100 -1.48735100 434223.41956766 383769.46469219
53.43283800 -1.53219400 431177.74704286 392997.88361114
53.34816200 -1.49274900 433865.30858384 383595.68805144
53.45144200 -1.54956200 430010.79447031 395060.15319728

Funding: Self-funded

Publications

There are currently no publications associated with this project.

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