Dr Steve Dugdale

Dr Steve Dugdale

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Steve is a physical geographer interested in the application of remote sensing to understand the links between physical stream processes and fluvial ecology.  His current research focuses on quantifying the mechanisms driving temperature patterns in rivers and their influence on aquatic ecosystems.


  • 2014 - PhD in Earth Sciences, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (Université du Québec), Québec, Canada
  • 2008 - MSc (by research) in Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK
  • 2006 - BSc in Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK


After completing a BSc and MSc at Durham University, Dr Dugdale worked on a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between Durham University and a private-sector environmental consultancy.  In 2010, he moved to Canada to undertake a PhD at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (Université du Québec). 

His doctoral studies focused the use of airborne thermal infrared imagery to understand patterns of cool-water anomalies in salmon rivers and their ability to protect fish from temperature extremes.  For this research, he was awarded the prestigious MiTACS Prize for Outstanding Innovation, as well as the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique’s Centre Eau Terre Environnement Prize for best doctoral thesis. 

He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Rivers Institute (University of New Brunswick, Canada) on a project modelling water temperatures in a large Canadian river system, before joining the University of Birmingham as a research fellow.


ORCID: 0000-0003-3561-4216
ResearcherID: K-4251-2015

Research interests

  • Understanding the processes driving temperature patterns in rivers and streams
  • Identifying the linkages between river habitat processes and fluvial ecosystems
  • The development and application of new remote sensing techniques to monitor river environments

Current research projects

HoTRiverS (Heterogeneity of Temperature in Rivers and Streams, EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Independent Fellowship)              

Many freshwater fish species are very intolerant of high river temperatures, and the growing influence of climate change means that fish populations are increasingly threatened by temperature extremes.  However, despite this concern, some rivers contain alternating patterns of cool and warm water (known as river temperature heterogeneity) which will help protect them from climate change-driven habitat loss.  Nevertheless, little is currently known about the factors driving river temperature heterogeneity or how it varies across space and time.  The HoTRiverS project therefore aims to understand temperature heterogeneity across key UK rivers with a view to ensuring the continued survival of freshwater ecosystems threatened by climate change.  For more information, please go to www.rivertemperature.net


Dugdale, SJ, St-Hilaire, A, Curry, RA. 2017. Automating physiography and flow routing inputs to the CEQUEAU hydrological model: sensitivity testing on the St. John River Watershed. Journal of Hydroinformatics. DOI: 10.2166/hydro.2017.051 

Mellor, CJ, Dugdale, SJ, Garner, G, Milner, AM, Hannah, DM. 2016. Controls on Arctic glacier-fed river water temperature. Hydrological Sciences Journal. DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2016.1261295

Dugdale, SJ. 2016. A practitioner's guide to thermal infrared remote sensing of rivers and streams: Recent advances, precautions and considerations. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 3, 251-268

Dugdale, SJ, Franssen, J, Corey, E, Bergeron, NE, Lapointe, M, Cunjak, R. 2015. Main stem movement of Atlantic salmon parr in response to high river temperature. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. DOI: 10.1111/eff.12224.

Dugdale, SJ, Bergeron, NE, St-Hilaire, A. 2015. Spatial distribution of thermal refuges analysed in relation to riverscape hydromorphology using airborne thermal infrared imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment, 160, 43-55

Dugdale, SJ, Bergeron, NE, St-Hilaire, A. 2013. Temporal variability of thermal refuges and water temperature patterns in an Atlantic salmon river. Remote Sensing of Environment, 136, 358-373

Carbonneau, P, Fonstad, M, Marcus, WA, Dugdale, SJ. 2011. Making Riverscapes Real. Geomorphology, 137(1), 74-86

Dugdale, SJ, Carbonneau, P, Campbell, S. 2010. Aerial photosieving of exposed gravel bars for the rapid calibration of airborne grain size maps. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 35(6), 627-639

Carbonneau, P, Dugdale, SJ, Clough, S. 2010. An automated georeferencing tool for watershed scale fluvial remote sensing. River Research and Applications, 26(5), 650-658

Wilby RL, Orr, H, Watts G, Battarbee GW, Berry, PM, Chad, R, Dugdale, SJ, Dunbar, MJ, Elliott, JA, Extence, C, Hannah, DM, Holmes, N, Johnson, AC, Knights, B, Milner, NJ, Ormerod, SJ, Solomon, D, Timlett, R, Whitehead, PJ, Wood, PJ. 2010. Evidence needed to manage freshwater ecosystems in a changing climate: Turning adaptation principles into practice. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 4150-4164