River networks, hot spots of biodiversity among the most threatened on Earth, act as ecological corridors for species, safeguarding biodiversity at landscape and continental scales. They support crucial biogeochemical cycles and provide us
with key ecosystem services, including purifying drinking water, regulating climate and producing food. River networks are metaecosystems, where aquatic communities, ecosystem functions and services are organised spatially by local
environmental constraints (e.g. physical habitat) combining regional fluxes of organisms (dispersal) and resources (e.g. organic matter transport). These fluxes are threatened by climate change and increased human water use, causing rivers
and streams to dry up worldwide. Although drying river networks (DRNs) are prevalent and dramatically increasing in time and space, they have had little attention from scientists, policy makers and society. This lack of knowledge prevents us from predicting how climate change will alter river networks and affect their biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services.
Consequently, there is no effective biodiversity conservation strategy or ecosystem management of DRNs facing climate change.
Building on on-going EU efforts and a multidisciplinary team of experts from 15 countries in Europe and beyond, DRYvER will generate mechanistic understanding and predictive capability of how biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services are controlled at multiple spatial and temporal scales by climate change in DRNs. Working closely with stakeholders and end-users, the team will develop adaptive management strategies to mitigate or adapt to climate change effects in DRNs, including hydrological, ecological, NBS, socio-economic and policy perspectives. To broaden its geographical scope, foster synergies with active research groups on DRNs and put the EU on the forefront of climate change adaptation, DRYvER includes 6 international partners, 3 of which from CELAC countries.