Photo of Molly Bridger.

Molly Bridger

Loughborough University


The river restoration ‘ecological toolbox’: simultaneously examining biomonitoring indices to guide catchment management techniques.


  • Paul Wood, Loughborough University
  • Kate Mathers, Loughborough University
  • Judy England, Environment Agency
  • Marc Naura, River Restoration Centre
  • James White, River Restoration Centre, and University of Birmingham
  • David Hannah, University of Birmingham

PhD Summary

Declines in freshwater biodiversity globally have prompted an increase in river restoration projects. However, many restoration activities have resulted in limited ecological benefits being realised due to primary stressor(s) not being clearly identified, project objectives not being fully achieved, or an absence of post-restoration data. This project seeks to develop an ‘ecological toolbox’ that can be used to inform river restoration practices. This will be achieved by examining the macroinvertebrate and macrophyte communities and multiple biomonitoring indices developed for the assessment of ecosystem health. This research will provide a greater understanding of how faunal and floral communities respond to restoration practices at a range of spatial scales which will help guide future sustainable river restoration projects that deliver benefits to the entire freshwater ecosystem.

Previous activity

I studied a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science at Bournemouth University before continuing my studies by undertaking a Master’s by Research. My Master’s thesis explored the effectiveness of UK legislation and management in producing nature conservation outcomes, with particular focus on the Purbeck Heath National Nature Reserve.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

Undertaking a Master’s by Research was an enjoyable experience and I wish to further my knowledge and understanding of the ecosystems around us. Studying for a PhD would further develop the skill set I need to reach my greatest potential in educating others who share the same passions and interests, whether that be in education or consultancy.

Why did you choose CENTA?

The collaboration between different stakeholders was of importance to me when choosing a project. Being able to network across a range of specialties with individuals who have a shared interest in research, along with the support from CENTA’s training programme was an opportunity that I could not refuse.

Future plans

I hope to develop my skills as a researcher, expanding my prospects into early-career academia. I believe that the support CENTA provide will allow me to access new and exciting opportunities both in academia and consultancy.