This course will examine the interactions between climate, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, biogeochemical cycling, water and habitat quality and biodiversity.
Using a combination of lectures, fieldwork, tutorials, laboratory classes, group projects and an individual research-based thesis, you will be provided with the necessary training and skills for a career in the successful environmental management of rivers.
River systems are under ever increasing pressure through the growing demands of water abstraction and hydroelectric power generation, and suffer recurrent disturbance through diffuse and point source pollutants, drought, flooding and channel modification.
The environmental management of rivers is required to mitigate the effects of these pressures. This requires a holistic understanding of how river systems are structured and function, and of how these systems have been altered by anthropogenic activities. To this end, the course will examine the interactions between climate, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, biogeochemical cycling, water and habitat quality and biodiversity.
An important aspect of the training will be an understanding of how these interactions act at different spatial and temporal scales to influence the structure and function of ecosystems in running waters. This scientific and technical corpus will allow you to understand and quantify the consequences of natural and anthropogenic disturbance on river systems.
Using a combination of lectures, fieldwork, tutorials, laboratory classes, group projects and an individual research-based thesis, you will be provided with the necessary training and skills for a career in the successful environmental management of rivers, including techniques on assessing their status and approaches to rehabilitate and restore the condition of these globally threatened environments.
This degree will provide direct postgraduate training for students interested in this career direction, as well as providing advanced-level training suitable for further PhD studies in water science.
We are fortunate at Birmingham in having a wide variety of staff within the Water Sciences Research Group with interests in rivers, particularly in the arena of hydroecology, and it is this expertise that will inform the teaching of the modules in River Environments and their Management.
Why study this course?
The School is well supported and you will have the use of equipment and facilities appropriate to your work:
You will have access to the multiple clusters of PCs in the University Learning Centre and Library, and within the School. The MSc course in River Environments and their Management has its own dedicated room for teaching and study with 8 PCs for convenient access to email, web and on-line learning resources. The University based computers have an extensive range of software installed that covers the needs of students of all disciplines, including a variety of statistical packages for data analysis.
The School has specialized laboratories equipped for analysis of organic and inorganic environmental samples, as well as supporting experimental research. Within the Water Sciences and Freshwater Research Laboratories our analytical suite covers aqueous chemistry, from the major nutrients to organic pollutants and toxic heavy metals. Facilities include:
- Total Organic Carbon analysis
- Gas Chromatography
- Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
- Ion Chromatography
- Luminescence and UV-visible spectroscopy
These facilities are complemented by Sediment Preparation Laboratories for material analysis including thin section prep, sediment extractions, pore size and surface area measurement and electron microscopy techniques.
The School’s Stable Isotope Laboratories are equipped for d18O, dD, d34S, d15N, d13C extracted from solid, aqueous and biological samples. For ecological work there are dedicated wet and dry microscope laboratories for sorting and identifying samples with a dedicated paleoecological laboratory for sample treatment and analysis. The Microbiological Laboratory is equipped for handling, incubation and sampling of bacterial cultures and sophisticated micro-analysis.
These facilities are available for your regular use, where you will benefit from working alongside Doctoral and Postdoctoral Research Fellows, and often contribute to major research projects within the School.
The School has field sites on and off campus for use by MSc students and research staff. Our on-campus urban study site is the Bournbrook which is instrumented for continual measurement of discharge, turbidity, water temperature and conductivity. A number of student projects and teaching are related to this facility. Our woodland study site is located in Staffordshire and is part of The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). The forest is densely instrumented, amongst others with stream discharge, water quality, and groundwater measurement equipment. This site offers an exciting opportunity for students to learn about measurement techniques and for student dissertation projects.
The Water Sciences Research Group is well stocked with field equipment, which is used extensively in research projects, for teaching, and particularly on individual MSc projects. This equipment includes digital pressure transducers, data loggers, divers, dip meters, chemical sampling and tracer transport equipment (depth samplers, sampling pumps, tracer test equipment and field fluorimeter, hand held EC, pH and Eh meters, portable chemical lab kit) and ecological sampling (nets, trays, electro-fishing).
Fieldwork is supported by a well-equipped technical workshop.
We have a dedicated technician for support of projects related to the Masters in River Environments and their Management.