Freshwater sciences consultancy: Centre for River EcoSystem Science

The Centre for River Ecosystem Science (CRESS) is a research-led centre within the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling.

We focus on the science of river ecosystems, providing independent scientific advice and services to public and private sectors involved in river-related activities.

We’ve expertise relating to various components of the ecosystem: channel, hyporheos, riparian and floodplain sub-systems. We’re known internationally for our work in aquatic ecology, fluvial geomorphology and remote sensing of rivers.

Our services

River habitat and lake habitat surveys

We undertake standard assessments for physical habitat quality of rivers and streams (River Habitat Survey) and lakes, ponds and reservoirs (Lake Habitat Survey) using accredited staff.

Development of assessment tools

We’re involved with environmental protection agencies and organisations such Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and SNIFFER in the development of a range of tools associated with the Water Framework Directive (WFD); for example the MImAS tool and the Canal classification tool.

Fish surveys

CRESS can provide assessments of species composition, abundance, habitats and pressures on freshwater fish and fisheries resources.

Aquatic plants and macroinvertebrate surveys

Assessment of species composition, abundance and richness of aquatic plants and macroinvertebrates are important for assessing the nature conservation value of a reach. They can be used as indicators of ecosystem health.

Water quality analysis

We’re able to measure a range of water quality parameters including suspended solids, pH, dissolved oxygen, dissolved carbon, phosphate, nitrate and a number of other anions and cations.

Hydrological monitoring

CRESS has the capability to design, install and monitor surface and groundwater and understand the hydrology network and water budgets in a water system.

Spatial and statistical analysis of river data sets

We are able to analyse datasets that may be in the possession of organisation for trends in the data or statistical differences between rivers and reaches or before and after treatments/activities.

Fluvial audits

The fluvial audit (FA) uses contemporary field survey, historical map and documentary information and scientific literature resources to gain a comprehensive understanding of the river system and its catchment. FA is part of a sequence of survey types that we can offer to address specific issues.

Advice on ecological aspects of SUDS

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) are considered a sustainable alternative to traditional drainage schemes. CRESS can provide recommendations concerning aquatic plant communities that are able to survive under a given water quality and have the ability to uptake nutrients.