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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

The River Communities Group

River Communities staff preparing microplastic sampling apparatus

The River Communities Group, based at the River Laboratory in Dorset, seeks to advance understanding of freshwater ecosystems such that they can be better protected and managed sustainably in a changing environment.

The Group is fully integrated with the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences and there is active collaboration with SBBS staff on a number of different research projects, supervision of postgraduate students and teaching.  Being based at the River Laboratory in Dorset provides excellent opportunities for cooperation with other research organisations and access to experimental facilities at the Laboratory.

The Group has a renowned history of research into human impacts on freshwater ecosystems, formerly as part of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and forebears, and more recently as part of Queen Mary, University of London.  The Group developed the River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification (RIVPACS) method for biomonitoring of rivers using macroinvertebrates, in its latest form (River Invertebrate Classification Tool) the standard Water Framework Directive compliant tool used by governmental monitoring agencies throughout the UK (EA, SEPA, NIEA).  While the Group is still very active in this exciting and rapidly-developing area of research, over the past decade it has broadened its range of research areas.  Our current portfolio of research interests can be divided into three main areas, as well as an overarching fundamental concern regarding the impact of future climate change on freshwater ecosystems.


Preventing plastic Pollution Project

Working in partnership with 18 organisations from across France and England, Preventing Plastic Pollution seeks to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. By looking at the catchment from source to sea, the project will identify and target hotspots for plastic, embed behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implement effective solutions and alternatives.

Learn more here


For all enquiries, please contact Dr J Iwan Jones:
Tel: +44 (0)1929 401 892