Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

 

Dr Siân Griffiths  -  MSc, PhD


1.    Behavioural ecology and the evolution of fish schooling 

Tristan Guttridge tagging a Tiger shark near Bimini

Tristan Guttridge tagging a Tiger shark near Bimini

This research theme addresses a question of key importance in animal behaviour and evolution of social living: how animals decide which group to join. I am investigating this topic in collaboration with Prof. A. Magurran (St Andrews University), Dr John Armstrong (Marine Scotland Science, Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry), Dr Alfredo Ojanguren and Dr James Orpwood using the European minnow to test individual recognition abilities and the benefits of association between familiar groups of fish. Social behaviour of fish is also being tested using sharks in the Bahamas, with Dr Tristan Guttridge (Bimini Biological Field Station). This work links important behavioural parameters with ecology and conservation of wild fish.

James making observations of minnows in the artificial stream

James making observations of minnows in the artificial stream (photo by Anna Henley)

2.    Consequences of climate change for salmonid ecology

Climate change has major effects on the distribution patterns and community composition of stream organisms and we are testing how habitat enhancement in S. Wales rivers, for example, the maintenance and restoration of broadleaf trees in the riparian zone, increases Atlantic salmon resilience to climate change. This work is a collaboration that is strongly linked with the research interests of Prof. Steve Ormerod, another member of the OnE (Organisms and Environment Research Division) and Dr. Isabelle Durance (Sustainable Places Research Institute), as well external collaborators (The NRW, South East Wales Rivers Trust and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust).

Stephen Thomas working in the Brecon Beacons

Stephen Thomas working in the Brecon Beacons

Other UK work is adopting a behavioural approach, examining Atlantic salmon time budgets, space use (including sheltering behaviour) and growth, in the wild and in indoor streams, to investigate the mitigating effects of riparian shading on salmon ecology (with Dr John Armstrong, Marine Scotland Science and Dr James Orpwood, The Scottish Fisheries Co-ordination Centre, SFCC). The sheltering behaviour of fish is an ongoing interest. Many fish, including Atlantic salmon, are nocturnal at cold temperatures (sheltering in interstitial habitats during daylight and emerging to forage at night). Factors that influence sheltering, including water temperature, light conditions (e.g. artificial street lighting) and competition from invasive species have important predicted effects on survival through food intake, growth and predator avoidance. Research on the effect of artificial street lights on aquatic ecology is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Bill Riley and Prof. Gordon Copp at CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science), Lowestoft.

3.    Ecosystem quality and the distribution of fish in rivers

DURESS Fishing Team

DURESS Fishing Team

The services provided by stream and rivers, including provision of economically and culturally valuable fish, may be compromised by future climate change effects on water availability and temperature, in conjunction with other anthropogenic pressures such as water abstraction. Work conducted as part of the DURESS (Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability) consortium is testing the hypothesis that biodiversity is central to the sustainable delivery of upland river ecosystem services under changing land-use and climate (www.nerc-duress.org). Other work, in collaboration with Dr Isabelle Durance (Sustainable Places Research Institute) and Dr Hefin Jones (OnE), is investigating the mechanisms that sustain fish populations in varying flow regimes.

Grants

Current and recent sponsors of work include:

  • Afonydd Cymru 
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science 
  • Christine Baltzer Parks Environmental Foundation
  • Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
  • Ecoexplore
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships
  • Marie Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • South East Wales Rivers Trust

Current Members of Research Group

Dr Tristan Guttridge 
Population dynamics of sharks in the Bahamas. Funded by Christine Baltzer Parks Environmental Foundation

Ifan Jâms
Supervisors: Drs Siân Griffiths, Isabelle Durance & Hefin Jones
Teitl doethuriaeth: Effaith argaeledd dŵr lleihaol ar eog a brithyll afonydd Cymru
PhD project title: The influence of drought on trout and salmon in Welsh rivers
Funding: Coleg Cenedlaethol Cymraeg

Rhian Newman
Supervisors: Drs Siân Griffiths, Professor Steve Ormerod, Dr Rob Thomas and Dr Bill Riley
Project title: Artificial night light as a barrier to migration and movement of high value fish and fisheries
Funding: KESS, Ecoexplore & CEFAS

Stephen Thomas
Supervisors: Professor Steve Ormerod & Dr Siân Griffiths
PhD project title: Adapting Rivers to Climate Change to Support High Value Fish and Fisheries. Funded by KESS, South East Wales Rivers Trust & Environment Agency
Funding: KESS & South East Wales Rivers Trust

Janine Burnham
Supervisors: Drs Siân Griffiths, Isabelle Durance & Dylan Roberts
MRes project title: Testing the effect of riparian habitat rehabilitation in mitigating climate change impacts on native UK fish
Funding: KESS & Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

Rhidian Thomas
Supervisors: Dr Siân Griffiths, Dr Jo Cable, Dr Bill Riley & Prof Gordon Copp
MRes project title: The impact of artificial night lighting on the interaction between native fish and invasive species
Funding: KESS, Ecoexplore & CEFAS

Former Group Members

Postdoctoral

Dr Steven Kessel
Population dynamics of the lemon sharks in the Bahamas (Negaprion brevirostris). Funded by Christine Baltzer Parks Environmental Foundation

Dr Michele Drès
Molecular analysis of kin-biased spatial clustering of juvenile Atlantic salmon Funded by the Cardiff Young Researcher Initiative

Dr Johan Höjesjö
Habitat adaptations in salmonids, effects of intra- and inter-specific competition Funded by a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

Dr Alfredo Ojanguren
The behavioural and ecological consequences of shoaling decisions in fish Funded by the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)    

Dr James Orpwood
The behavioural and ecological consequences of shoaling decisions in fish Funded by the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)    

Postgraduate Students

Dr Bart Adriaenssens 
Coping with divided attention: effects of the social and physical environment on the performance of fishes. In collaboration with Gothenburg University, Sweden.

Dr Demetra Andreou
Prevalence, impact and life cycle of an emerging endemic disease: the Rosette-like agent. Funded by CEH.

Dr Claire Bale
The Influence of Acid Episodes on the Behavioural Ecology of Freshwater Fish. Funded by the NERC

Dr Dean Burnard
The impact of the sex pheromones of alien fish species on the reproductive behaviour of native fish. Funded by the NERC

Laura Evans
Bullheads as keystone species for river ecosystem services. Funded by KESS and Afonydd Cymru.

Dr Wendy Fernandes
Interactions between family traits, environment survival and migration strategies in Atlantic salmon. Funded by Wessex Water, CEH, CEFAS

Dr Andrew Harwood
Competition among juvenile Atlantic salmon and Brown trout. Funded by the NERC.

Becky Marsh
The effect of temperature on refuge use in juvenile Atlantic salmon. Funded by LEA

Dr James Orpwood
Refuge use among stream-dwelling Atlantic salmon. Funded by Cardiff University

Phoebe Harris
The effect of artificial night light on river ecology. Cardiff University 125 scholarship.

Dr Lois Richards-Hobbs 
Dietary conservatism in fish: its evolutionary consequences in social and solitary animals. Funded by the Waltham Foundation

Dr Keith Williams
The ecology of Atlantic salmon in relation to upland lochs. Funded by The Conon and Alness District Fisheries Board and Cardiff University

Collaborations

Aside from collaborations within the school (with Prof. Mike Bruford on molecular studies of declining salmon populations, Dr Jo Cable on parasite transmission among shoaling fish and Prof. Steve Ormerod, Dr Isabelle Durance  and Dr Hefin Jones on the effects of climate change on upland fish ecology) the following are external collaborators on funded projects.

Dr John Armstrong (Marine Scotland Science, Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry)
Behaviour and Ecology of juvenile Atlantic salmon

Prof Gordon Copp (Lowestoft Laboratory, CEFAS)
Invasive species ecology 

Dr Johan Hojesjo (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Habitat adaptations in salmonids, effects of intra- and inter-specific competition

Frank Jones (Afonydd Cymru)
The role of bullhead in river ecosystems

Professor Anne Magurran (University of St Andrews)
Evolution of shoaling behaviour in European minnows

Professor Manfred Milinski (Max Planck Institute of Limnology, Germany).
Mate choice decisions of female sticklebacks

Dr Alex Pollard (Eco-explore)
The effects of artificial night light on river ecology

Dr Bill Riley (Lowestoft Laboratory, CEFAS)
Ecology of juvenile salmon

Dylan Roberts (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust)
Ecological effects of riparian management