Link to Macaulay Land Use Research Institute homepageCatchment Management

Linking Hydromorphology to Ecology


GirvistaRecent national and international legislation identifies the need for defining ecological status of river systems. Within this context, scientists and policy makers recognize that hydromorphology is an important driver of ecological condition, and that assessments of condition rely on the definition of a ‘reference state’. Following an international forum held at the Macaulay Institute during August 2007, a small science-policy steering committee agreed it would be beneficial to host a larger international workshop with the specific aims of identifying approaches to define river hydromorphological condition, and developing an understanding of how to effectively link this to ecology.  This was held over 1-4 March, 2009 at the Hilton Craigendarroch in Ballater, Scotland and proved to be a great success. In relation to these issues, the workshop identified key themes and a core working group of people involved in the topic. Further developments and links to related work will be continually updated through this portal.


To identify and synthesize available science that can be developed into policy-relevant tools for assessing hydromorphological processes and their relation to biota, and also to identify potential research avenues that would have relevant environmental applications.


The intended outcomes from the Ballater workshop were to:

  1. Identify key issues relating to the topic that require synthesis and/or further work. These will be discussed in a number of ‘commentary’ style papers, directed at specific high impact journals. A special issue of a journal is provisionally planned , the intention to provide a forum for more specific research and case studies and perhaps including some of the posters presented at the workshop.
  2. To develop a network of contributors working in this field. It is the intention to maintain a dialogue between everyone who attended the workshop but also to open up participation to any other workers with an interest in these issues.
  3. To plan for future meetings. We plan to develop on the themes and concepts indentified in the Ballater workshop in subsequent meetings and conferences. We hope that we can make the ‘Defining Hydromorphological Condition and Links to Ecology’ workshop a regular meeting, being held in different international locations perhaps every 2 or 3 years.



Aberdeen University
MLURI logo
Scottish Government
Scottish National Heritage
Atlantic Salmon Trust


Updated: 15 Jun 2016, Content by: HM