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DRYvER is a research & innovation project funded by Horizon 2020 focusing on drying rivers and the impact of climate change. The 4-years project started in September 2020 and brings together 25 partners from 16 countries in Europe and South America as well as from China and the USA. Its main goals are to collect, analyse and model data from 9 drying river networks (DRN) in Europe and South America to create a novel global meta-system approach that incorporates hydrology, socioeconomics, ecology and biogeochemistry in order to craft strategies, tools and recommendations for adaptive management of river networks.
Interested to understand key challenges addressed by the DRYvER team at a glance? Have a look at the factsheets prepared by the consortium for a non-expert public:
From October 2023 to February 2024, DRYvER partners will propose a cycle of webinars to present the work done in the different work-packages, the most interesting results, and the utility and relevance of these results.
These webinars will target a scientific audience, not necessarily specialists in the topics addressed, but having an interest in challenges related to drying rivers. Researchers, students, participants in other European projects etc. are welcome!
DRYvER now has its own LinkedIn account. If you haven't already, follow us to receive
some updates on our activities and share our page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dryver-h2020/
Co-creation of management solutions to mitigate the negative impact of drying on river networks is vital for stakeholder uptake, as well as acquiring the necessary holistic understanding of the study systems. In DRYvER, we have adopted the Nature Futures Framework (NFF) of the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The NFF recognizes three perspectives people may have on nature, i.e (1) nature for nature, emphasizing the intrinsic values of nature; (2) nature for people, emphasizing the instrumental values of nature, and (3) nature as culture, emphasizing the relational values of nature (Fig. 1). Using the three horizons approach of Sharpe et al. (2016) We want to instigate the necessary transformative change needed to protect intermittent rivers in a drying climate.
To this end, we ask the stakeholders in the DRYVER DRNs three questions, i.e. what are the changes you have seen in recent times in your DRN, what is your desired future based on the 3 NFF perspectives, and what interventions are needed to achieve this desired future. We have carried out 4 co-creation workshops so far, i.e. the CELAC DRNs, the Spanish DRN, the Finnish DRN, as well as most recently the Hungarian DRN (Fig. 2). Using the same approach across the different DRNs allows us to assess the variability in barriers to achieving the desired state for DRNs, including conflicting governance structures, stakeholder conflicts, management locked-ins, local land use practices, under perception of climate change impacts as well as lack of understanding and uptake of Nature-Based Solutions.
Fig. 2: Moments from the Hungarian co-creation workshop
In December 2022 and March 2023, two e-workshops were dedicated on upscaling efforts in DRYvER project. Upscaling in DRYvER means modelling values of different variables first for all river reaches in case study catchments and then for all river reaches in Europe based on values measured for sampling points in case study sites. Upscaling to European scale in DRYvER is performed for flow intermittence, biodiversity scenarios, carbon related ecosystem functions, and ecosystem services provision.
The first workshop was dedicated to methods, strategies, goals, and timing for upscaling efforts. The second workshop focused more on challenges encountered during the upscaling process. Both times, open discussions were successful and inspiring. For example, during the last workshop we discussed about trimming the European river network before upscaling and there was a consensus to leave out rivers downstream large lakes and reservoirs from our analysis. We also decided together to use statistical models for upscaling instead of process-based models.
Big projects like DRYvER require tight collaboration between partners and workshops are a good way for discussing different issues with all teams at the same time.
My name is Naiara López-Rojo. I am currently a post-doctoral researcher at INRAE (French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment) Lyon, since April this year. I did my PhD in Spain, and afterwards I moved to Grenoble, France two years ago to join the Laboratory of Alpine Ecology (LECA, Grenoble) as a postdoc within the DRYvER project. My research has always been focused on the effect of global change in freshwater ecosystems. During my PhD I analysed, mainly through laboratory experiments, the effect of riparian biodiversity loss (due to changes in land use) in stream ecosystem functioning, focused on decomposition and nutrient cycling. Then, during my first post-doc, through a field approach at European scale, I analysed the effect of drying on river ecosystem functioning, namely on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
I am mainly involved in WP3 (ecosystem functioning). I have participated in the WP3 field campaigns in France and Finland. We measured in situ GHG emissions, river metabolism and organic matter standing stocks and leaf litter decomposition, together with associated environmental variables. I was responsible of analysing the patterns and drivers of CO2 and CH4 emissions in the 6 European drying river networks (DRNs) of DRYvER (France, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic, Croatia and Hungary). I have also contributed to WP2 tasks (biodiversity), performing the eDNA extractions of more than 1400 sediment and biofilm samples, with the DNA group at LECA. Since June, I have co-animated the DRYvER Forum of Young Researchers with Amélie Truchy.
With the unique dataset collected during the DRYvER sampling campaigns, we identified drivers of GHG emissions among local (stream and sediment characteristics) and regional (climate and landscape) scale variables as well as metrics describing local drying patterns and network-scale fragmentation by drying. We have detected an important drying legacy effect: emissions from intermittent rivers are affected by previous drying events, even long after flow resumption. We also upscaled the CO2 emissions to the 6 DRNs and have seen that the emissions from dry riverbeds (both during low flow conditions and when the intermittent rivers are totally dry) contribute significantly to the total CO2 emissions.
During this second postdoc, I will focus more on the French DRN (Albarine), which will enable me to assess the fine scale patterns of drying and river network fragmentation on river metabolism and carbon cycle. Thanks to the knowledge regarding GHG emissions (measurements in the field, analysis of the data, modelling and temporal and spatial upscaling) during my first post-doc, I will participate as trainer in the next DRYvER Training School (Pécs, October 2023). I will also participate in the upscaling efforts to understand the effect of drying on ecosystem functioning at the European scale in current but also future global change scenarios.
DRYvER studies 9 case studies (DRN) in the EU and South America which cover different climatic and biogeographical zones. This month, we present the Hungarian case study.
The Hungarian case study network is the Bükkösdi-víz (víz means water in Hungarian), which is a sub-catchment of the Fekete-víz river network. The drainage area of the Bükkösdi-víz is approximately 185 km2 and it is located in the Mecsek Mountains, in SW Hungary, about 30 km from the city of Pécs, where the local DRYvER Team of the University of Pécs is settled. The area is in continental climate in the Pannonian ecoregion. Most of the main stem of the river network is heavily modified, but the tributaries are natural or near-pristine streams flowing mostly in forested areas. The area’s population is scattered in smaller towns and villages with a combined number of approximately 11,000 souls. There is a diverse aquatic life in the streams, and some important species listed in the EU Habitat Directive can be found as well (e.g., Cordulegaster heros, Romanogobio uranoscopus, Unio crassus).
From left to right: B.J. Berta, B. Boóz, B. Pernecker, É. Horváthné Tihanyi, A. Móra, K. Sebteoui, Z. Csabai, A. Szloboda, Z. Pap, D. Hárságyi.
The Hungarian Team is working at the Department of Hydrobiology of the University of Pécs, and it is led by WP6 leader Zoltán Csabai. The team did substantial work in WP2 (Biodiversity). Besides sampling the local DRN, they also separated and identified all 639 macroinvertebrate samples from the 6 European case studies and they are now working on digital image analyses based biomass estimation.
The team consists of lead researcher Zoltán Csabai, taxonomic expert Arnold Móra, DEIP manager Bálint Pernecker, lead research assistant Éva Horváthné Tihanyi, local DRYvER coordinator Zsuzsanna Pap, and research assistants Bernadett Boóz, Balázs J. Berta, Dorottya Hárságyi, Anita Szloboda, and Khouloud Sebteoui. Also, several MSc and BSc students participated in WP2 work.
The most interesting feature about this DRN is that dryings here have just started to get more and more severe in recent years. While the approximate length of dry sections on the DRN was 40-50% in 2018-2019, this has been constantly rising, and it reached 70-80% last year (2022). Several streams that were thought to be permanent are now drying up every summer. In the past years dryings started in late summer and early autumn. Those dates are now shifted to earlier months and some streams start to dry up in late spring, and the dry periods are getting longer and longer each year.