Introduction

 

The overall aim of the MARCE project is to create a Spatial Decision Support System that will integrate hydrological, geomorphological, water quality and biological information fro the northern Iberian Peninsula. This system will be created with the main aim of assisting on river management and, also, as a tool to be used by scientists and other users when looking for environmental information from the river ecosystems within the project domain.

This project will develop a synthetic river network, which will be the base for the model result integration and representation, and will constitute the spatial framework in which we will explore biophysical relationships. MARCE project aims to factor out the key biophysical relationships that account for the greatest variability in fluvial ecosystems from different environmental domains (Atlantic and Mediterranean). It will explore linkages among climatic, geological and topographical variables with hydrology, water quality and river morphology and physical habitat characteristics. It will also explore which environmental variables are more important in creating spatial patterns of variation on invertebrate and fish communities. Finally, by creating a set of GIS tools, the project will characterise human pressures for entire river domains and will explore the effects that different catchment management scenarios (i.e. reduction on the number of human pressures: restoration scenarios) have on key biophysical variables. Once spatial variability and biophysical relationships are elucidated, a GIS web-based tool will be created to represent all the information for the whole project domain (approximately 125000 km2).