Our research

Research at the Rivers and Lochs Institute falls broadly within four Themes:

  • Fish and Fisheries Genetics
  • Biodiversity Monitoring (eDNA)
  • Catchment Management
  • Aquaculture-Environment Interactions
  • Biodiversity Management and Socioecology


Hydro dam and loch


The Methods used across the themes centre upon the use of a variety of molecular markers to characterise fish stocks using population genetics, and the use of eDNA to identify defined target species (qPCR) or to explore and reconstruct full communities (eDNA). You can find out  more about our Facilities here

Laboratory facilities


Our Projects address the state of conservation of species such as Atlantic Salmon (identification of domestication genes, stock assessment and improvement), Arctic Charr (effects of climate change across the entire circumpolar species range), Pearl Mussels and Slender Naiad. In other projects we are using eDNA to map entire ecosystems, e.g. observing the effect of dams on freshwater biodiversity and monitoring the seabed below cages to support aquaculture management, a theme that is more broadly supported through the UHI aquaculture network.

The River and Lochs is also conducting interdisciplinary research into freshwater history, heritage and conservation to support the tourism sector and contribute to the understanding of the socioecological changes associated with river and water use over time.

Highland cottage beside a loch