My research interests primarily lie in understanding how shallow -water marine systems are structured and function.
Climate impacts research
Climate change is considered one of the biggest threats to global biodiversity leading to changes in assemblage structure, ecosystem functioning and goods and services natural systems provide. Using a range of approaches my research focuses on the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification on marine biodiversity. In particular, I am interested in how these environmental stresses affect key ecosystem processes (e.g. predator-prey, plant-herbivore and competitive interactions) and the consequences for shallow-water assemblage structure and functioning.
Biological habitat enhancement of engineered structures
Coastal and offshore engineered structures are increasingly being used in order to enable society to adapt to and mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change. These structures often provide a hard substrate where previously there had been none and as such they can act as habitat for rocky reef marine species. These structures are, however, often lacking in the small to medium scale heterogeneity that enables natural assemblages to form. Working with colleagues from around the UK we are investigating the impacts of these structures on soft sediment assemblages and exploring methods to increase the amount of small to medium scale heterogeneity to facilitate the establishment of natural rocky shore assemblages. Such modifications will result in increased amenity value and could have structural and commercial benefits as well.