Current research includes:
- animal-plant interactions
- coastal defences
- dispersal ecology and biogeography
- climate change (ecology)
- population ecology.
Ecology is a broad discipline dealing with the interactions and interrelationships between organisms and the environment, tackling big questions, such as what determines the number of species in natural ecosystems, why most species are rare, and how biodiversity may contribute to ecosystem function. Whilst working on a wide range of questions, organisms and ecosystems, an over-arching theme within MBERC is that fundamental and applied approaches to ecology can be closely linked. In this sense, studies of the factors driving geographical range size in aquatic insects inform our understanding of their relative vulnerability to global change; investigations of sub-tidal ecology and sea bird behaviour underpin projects assessing the impacts of marine renewable energy installations and other man-made structures in the sea; studies in large scale climate change science, such as changes in oceanography and marine trophic food webs and the biological effects of ocean acidification, inform policy at national and international levels, including ICES and the UN.
As ecologists we employ a wide range of field and laboratory techniques, from satellite tagging of sea birds, to the use of molecular markers or stable isotopes to investigate dispersal, population structure and mating systems.
For more details on the range of ecological studies in MBERC please see the individual staff web pages.