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Scale dependency of benthic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the North Sea

Project Description

Project Rationale:
Marine ecosystems and the societal services they support are currently experiencing dramatic alterations due to direct and indirect human impacts such as overfishing, pollution, habitat modification and anthropogenic climate change. Recent research has yielded a wealth of evidence to understand the consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning, but our knowledge of the ecosystem responses that occur at larger temporal and spatial scales remains poor. Recent work has suggested that the gap between simplified small-scale experiments and the need to quantify complex large spatial and temporal scale processes could be bridged by using surrogates of ecosystem function, such as biological traits. Biological traits have been associated with multiple ecosystem functions, including carbon and nutrient cycling/storage, seafloor oxygen, primary and secondary production, sediment erodibility and prey access to higher trophic levels such as demersal fishes. This studentship will focus on using trait-based analyses of benthic communities to assess the contribution of species composition and diversity (richness, evenness) to wider ecosystem properties and, further, determine how species-environment interactions in the North Sea may respond to the long term effects of interacting human pressures and climatic forcing.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


References (3 or fewer)
Godbold JA, Hale R, Wood CL, Solan M. (2017) Vulnerability of macronutrients to the concurrent effects of enhanced temperature and atmospheric pCO2 in representative shelf sea sediment habitats. Biogeochemistry 135, 89-102. doi: 10.1007/s10533-017-0340-y.

Townhill BL, Tinker J, Jones M, Pitois S, Creach V, Simpson SD, Dye S, Bear E, Pinnegar, JK Harmful algal blooms and climate change: exploring future distribution changes. (2018) ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsy113.

Eggleton JD, Depestele J, Kenny AJ, Bolam SG, Garcia C (2018) How benthic habitats and bottom trawling affect trait composition in the diet of seven demersal and benthivorous fish species in the North Sea. Journal of Sea Research 142: 132–146.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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