Ongoing Projects

Ongoing projects

We are conducting research in different water bodies throughout Nepal. We focus on physico-chemical parameters, hydro-morphological and bio-indicators using macroinvertebrates and others in monitoring the health of the studied waterbodies. Macroinvertebrates are organisms without backbone and are visible to our naked eye. Based on the diversity and sensitivity of those macroinvertebrates to pollution, the quality of streams are determined.

Project 1:  Understanding the impacts of climate change on headwater hydrology and aquatic biodiversity with long-term citizen science based monitoring of the Bagmati River within the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park

Headwater streams, particularly in mountainous areas, are more closely connected with processes occurring in the landscapes. They are often small in volume, but their unique features, including frequent riffles and pools, provide habitats for rare and endemic species with restricted distributions. Several scientific studies show that healthy headwater streams are essential for the health of stream and river ecosystems and their destruction poses severe threats to downstream ecosystems and water resources.  Headwater streams are lifelines for their catchments, providing water for drinking water supplies and hydro-power generations.

Headwater streams of the Bagmati River are located within the Shivapuri-Nagarjung National Park, approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. The Himalayan Biodiversity and Climate Change Center (HimBio-CliC) observed the need to gather long-term data in the undisturbed to slightly disturbed river sections, or headwaters, within the Shivapuri National Park to enable better planning and management of water resources, aquatic biodiversity, and ecosystems in Nepal. Therefore, the current research project aims to develop a baseline understanding of watershed hydrology and freshwater biodiversity so that the likely impacts of climate change can be observed, modeled, and communicated at the community (i.e. village) scale in order to (1) more accurately characterize the likely effects on livelihoods and (2) collectively develop locally appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

A research team comprised of young and passionate Nepali scientists, Dr. Deep Narayan Shah, Dr. Ram Devi Tachamo Shah and Ph.D. student Jeff Davids, (collectively referred to as the team) together with enthusiastic graduate students participate in the field and laboratory work. An innovative aspect of the research project is the use of local citizen scientists to collect hydrologic data with mobile technology. 

Benthic macroinvertebrates (also known as “benthos”) are macroinvertebrates that live among rocks and sediments on, in or near the bottom of lakes, rivers, and streams. Examples of freshwater benthic community consists of the immature stages of many beetles (adults and immature), mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dragonflies, snails, leeches and numerous organisms inhabiting the benthos.

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