Dr Rhian Thomas
- Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Freshwater Science (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)
My current research focuses on improving and adding new knowledge of the habitat, ecology and behaviour of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera), a critically endangered bivalve (IUCN Red List), of which Scotland is home to approximately half of the global population. The species is in decline across its range so it is crucial we better understand how to improve conservation management of this globally endangered species. My research brings together both Government bodies, such as SNH and SEPA, and also industry, such as SSE. We are specifically looking at how the mussel responds to changes in the flow regime, and the mussel's relationship with its host fish, which can be Atlantic salmon or brown trout here in Scotland.
Another research interest are the associations between environmental drivers of change and disease risk in northern Tanzania.
My PhD was based on the development and evaluation of a cellular model to simulate braided river dynamics. The fieldwork for this research was carried out in the Harper-Avoca catchment in the South Island of New Zealand.
NERC-funded CASE PhD £86,776: Investigating the impact of changing hydrodynamics on the behaviour of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel
NERC-funded IAPETUS PhD: Salmonid host utilisation by the Freshwater Pearl Mussel
BBSRC/DfID-funded (£3million+): SEEDZ (Social, Economic and Environmental Drivers of Zoonotic Disease in Tanzania), 10% FTE
SAGES+ PECRE £3K
LKAS, University of Glasgow funded PhD Scholarship
University of Glasgow Maternity Returners Scheme, £10K
SNH-funded contract £3.9K
SSE-funded contract £1.9K
I am currently lead supervisor for 3 PhD students:
Chris Uzzell - Investigating the association between environmental change and disease risk in Tanzania. Lord Kelvin-Adam Smith PhD Scholarship (2014-1018).
Ed Curley - Investigating the impact of changing hydrodynamics on the behaviour of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera). NERC CASE PhD, SSE CASE Partner, SNH and SEPA staff advisory board (2016-2020).
Sarah King - Salmonid host utilisation by the Freshwater Pear Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera). NERC IAPETUS PhD, with SNH (2017-2021)
Rob Brackley - Impact of low-head turbines on fish passage
My current roles are Head of Geography Degree Programmes, Geography Examinations Officer and Adviser of Studies.
I teach on every year of the undergraduate geography degree, Level 1 World of Resources, Level 2 Fluvial Processes, Level 3 Geographical Techniques and Geographical Thought, and my Undergraduate Honours option, Environmental Hazards. I also teach on the postgraduate MSc Sustainable Water Management Masters degree, Ecology and Restoration of Water Systems module.