Catherine Docherty

Catherine Docherty

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Title of PhD: Hydroecological response of Greenland river systems to climate change

Supervisors: Professor Alexander Milner, Professor David Hannah

Catherine Docherty is undertaking doctoral research to understand how climate change may affect freshwater biodiversity in Greenland streams. She is looking at the links between water source contributions, physico-chemical habitat and invertebrate populations. Primary data will be obtained from three different locations in Greenland to ascertain regional differences.

The outcomes of this research are intended to broaden the geographical scope of our understanding of how Arctic streams respond to climate change.

This research is funded by a Natural Environment Research Council PhD studentship and has also received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 262693 (INTERACT).


  • BSc (Hons) Ecology, with Erasmus semester abroad (Valencia, Spain), University of Sheffield (2010)
  • MSc Conservation Biology, specializing in Ecosystem Management, Complutense University of Madrid (2012)


During her BSc at the University of Sheffield, Catherine undertook fieldwork in the Norfolk Broads, where she developed an interest in freshwater ecology, and in Abisko, Swedish Lapland, where she gained an understanding of Arctic ecosystems.

After completing her BSc, she spent the next 3 years living in Spain. She spent just short of a year as a reserve warden with a European Voluntary Service grant on a SEO/BirdLife nature reserve in the Ebro Delta, Catalonia. Her work involved water quality monitoring and involvement in the eradication campaign of the invasive species the apple snail (Pomacea insularum) along with other tasks.

This was followed by undertaking her Masters in Madrid, which allowed her to develop skills in cartography and GIS and to develop her knowledge of freshwater ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula and in Latin America.

Upon completing her Masters, Catherine went on to spend 6 months on a placement funded by a Leonardo Da Vinci grant at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia organizing a 2 week Erasmus Intensive seminar for Masters and PhD level students and professors from Europe, Asia and North Africa.

She has also spent time in Latin America. This includes a 6 week period volunteering for an NGO that works alongside fishing cooperatives for the sustainable use of river and wetland resources in Northeast Argentina, and a 2 week period volunteering at an animal sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Andes.


Research Interests

  • Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Arctic and Alpine Environments

Other activities

  • Member of the Freshwater Biological Association
  • Member of the British Ecological Society
  • Member of the British Hydrological Society