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PRedicting Individual fish response as a Measure of Environmental change (PRIME)
Start date: 01 Jun 2008, End date: 31 May 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Human activities and global changes are increasingly impacting the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. The ability of ecologists to determine how threatened populations may respond to these environmental changes is crucial for conservation management and the setting of the European environmental policy agenda. Given their position at the top of the food-web, apex predators are ideal candidates for researching their effects. Thus, the aim of the project is to predict the response of individual fish to measures of environmental change (habitat alterations and global change), using northern pike (Esox lucius) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) as model species of apex predator. The specific objectives are to collect literature derived, experimental and field data to parameterise an Individual Based Model (IBM); use the IBM to predict the present day distribution and growth rates of the species in the proposed study area; and test these predictions using existing and collected data from the study area. Finally the IBM will be used to predict the response of individual fish to various environmental change scenarios, with subsequent demonstration of the practical application to conservation management. To achieve these objectives, field and laboratory investigations will utilise literature review, experimental laboratory studies, and field data collection that includes environmental characteristics, fish movement (telemetry) and stable isotope analyses. To maximize the opportunity for successful completion, the Fellowship will be nested within, and will receive training and complementary skills from, the host institution, Bournemouth University, UK. Supervision will be undertaken by a highly experienced Scientist-in-Charge, with strong support from a steering committee comprising of experts. The fellowship will provide the candidate with access to world-class expertise and technical know-how, and obtain a high level of research training for the development of his career."
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