Dr Antony Knights
Associate Professor in Marine Ecology
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
I am an Associate Professor in Marine Ecology based in the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre (MBERC). I am a benthic ecologist by training and my research focus centres on supply-side ecology, recruitment dynamics and sustainable resources and I interface with environmental policy implementation and ecosystem management. I manage the BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology degree and contribute to the range of Marine Biology programmes here at the University of Plymouth.
• PhD (Marine Ecology) June 2003 - December 2006 Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland
Roles on external bodies
Current Professional Roles
- Associate Editor: Marine and Freshwater Research (CSIRO)
- Assistant Editor: Journal of Fish Biology (Wiley)
- Member of ICES ACOM Working Group "Ecosystem effects of Fishing" (WGECO)
- Reviewer for Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Icelandic Research Fund (IRF), European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST), German-Israeli Research Fund.
My teaching interests include population biology, larval biology and community ecology, and experimental design and statistics.
- MBIO001 Issues in Marine Biology
- MBIO120 Introduction to Marine Biology
- MBIO121 Life on Earth
- MBIO123 Marine Biology Field Course
- MBIO213 Coastal Biodiversity and Ecology Field Course
- MBIO223, 224 and 225 Methods in Marine Biology
- MBIO313 Personal Research
- MBIO327 Marine Ecology
I have two areas of research interest, the first centring on supply-side ecology and population dynamics, and the second on ecosystem-based management and risk assessment models.
Supply-side ecology and multiple stressors
I use a combination of field-based experimental approaches and theoretical models to assess how populations become established and develop in an effort to understand how key anthropogenic and environmental pressures may affect population persistence. In particular, my work focuses on: quantifying the roleof density-dependent processes in population development and growth; assessing the role of abiotic and biotic factors such as selective extraction, habitat availability, flow dynamics, competition and predation in population growth models; and the development of larval-phase based models to predict (changes in) species range distributions. I work closely with physical oceanographers to develop spread predictions using hydrodynamic models. I am especially interested in the influence of larval behavioural responses to physical conditions on dispersal predictions.
Ecosystem-based Management, Human Impacts and Risk Assessment
I am interesting in developing frameworks for identifying threats to marine ecosystems from human activities. Working closely with colleagues from across Europe including the ODEMM project (www.odemm.com), I develop linkages between sector activities and their impact on biological features in order to determine how management programmes can be used to mitigate risk and support decision-making when implementing environmental policy. I have been working directly with policy-makers (e.g. United Nations; HELCOM; OSPAR; Dept. of Fisheries Canada; Marine Institute Ireland) to support their efforts in assessing risk in their respective regions using the outputs of this research. Engagement is via direct meetings and my involvement in the eCOST project MARCONS (http://www.marcons-cost.eu).
Current PhD Students
1. Ms Xiaoyu Fang (started Oct. 2015) - Identifying the role of past and current benthos activities for estuarine ecosystem functioning.
2. Ms Molly James (started Jan. 2017) - Predicting species dispersal in marine systems: A multi-disciplinary approach.
3. Ms Lucy Jupe (started March 2019) - Assessing the vulnerability of marine calcifies to ocean change
Current MRes and Masters Students
1. Ms Maria Kafrista - Has decadal climate change led to increased prevalence of trophic mismatch in the NE Atlantic?
2. Ms Kaitlin Scowen - Revisiting Bergmann's Rule: Testing physiological constraints on body size
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
1. Dr Anaëlle Lemasson (PhD, 2017) - Ocean Acidification and warming impacts on native and non-native shellfish: A multidisciplinary assessment
MRes (taught) Completions - 18 (2014-2019)
MSc (Research) Completions
1. Sally Bracewell (2011) - Recruitment dynamics of an invasive intertidal barnacle
2. Mira Rosten (2013) - Offshore wind farms as stepping stones for dispersal
Grants & contracts
1. Dr Phil Hosegood PI (with Dr Antony Knights Co-I) Conservation strategies for biodiversity hotspots and safe havens in a changing climate: Oceanographic drivers of ecosystem variability in the Chagos Archipelago. Garfield Weston Foundation £922,343. April 2019-March 2021.
Key publications are highlightedJournals