Ecological models are useful tools to determine the environmental impacts and risk levels in a water body caused by various types of pressures that are usually anthropogenic, such as pollution and hydro-morphological alterations. The course focuses in the analysis of ecological processes, the formulation and use of ecological models for the optimization of water resources management. The main aspects of the course are addressed in the following order:
- The importance of the quality and ecological status of surface waters in water resources management. Basic principles and definitions. Practical significance of ecological models within the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) with emphasis on the main 3 environmental problems of surface waters: organic pollution and de-oxygenation in rivers, eutrophication in lakes/reservoirs and hydro-morphological alterations in rivers. Basic physicochemical, biological and hydro-morphological quality elements. Principles for the classification of ecological and chemical status of surface water bodies.
- Main types, characteristics and indicative applications of ecological models. Mathematical description of the main physical, chemical, biological and ecological processes taking place in a surface water body. Main steps of the modelling procedure: formulation, calibration, verification and application. Pressures and impact analysis. Methods for the assessment of point and non-point pressures.
- Modelling organic pollution in rivers. Scope of modelling and problem formulation. Classes of water quality in rivers. The processes of organic pollution in rivers and their equations. Formulation and application of a simple one-dimensional model for organic pollution.
- Hydraulic habitat modelling in rivers. Scope of modelling and problem formulation. Description of the basic features of the hydraulic-habitat models. The physical Habitat Simulation System (PHABSIM): presentation and application for the determination of the environmental flow in a river downstream of a morphological change, such as dam or water diversion works.
- Modelling eutrophication in lakes/reservoirs. Scope of modelling and problem formulation. Types of eutrophication models. Formulation and application of a simple eutrophication model in a lake or reservoir.
- Presentation of real scale ecological models and discussion.