Dr Antony Knights
Lecturer in Marine Ecology
School of Biological & Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)
I am a Lecturer 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 contribute to the range of Marine Biology programmes here at Plymouth University.
• 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 role of 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.
Current MRes and Masters Students
1. Ms Charlotte Bale (Jan. 2018) - Is the expansion of UK aquaculture a threat to the UK contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement?
2. Ms Ellen Purdue (Oct. 2017) - Biofilm production of concrete matrices: testing the influence of micro-topography and material composition.
3. Mr Francesco Wrachien (Jan. 2018) - The effects of ocean acidification on the condition and susceptibility to predation of aquaculture mussels.
4. Ms Lois Duff (Oct. 2017) - Does the invasive Pacific oyster Magallana gigas facilitate the invasive barnacle Austrominius modestus?
Completed PhD and Masters Students (2014 onward)
1. Dr Anaëlle Lemasson - Implications of ocean acidification and warming on the UK's commercial shellfish fisheries.
2. Mr Matthew Norton - The effects of ocean acidification on shell growth and ultrastructure of Mytilus sp.
3. Ms Fran Geall - A comparative analysis of the feeding of two commercially important oyster species under warming and acidification.
4. Mr Callum Jeffrey - Secondary spread of rafting invasive species from high-risk areas
5. Mr Howard Freeman - Drivers of diel vertical migration in European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)
6. Mr Tom Pilgrem - Climate variability impacts on the recruitment of small pelagics in the Mediterranean Sea
7. Ms Abigail Wain - Investigating the impacts of multiple environmental stressors in Aurelia aurita
8. Ms Zalika Hanoman-van-Sluytman - Reef balls as proxy habitat for fish species in lieu of natural habitat
9. Ryan MacManus - Changes in the chemical leaching properties of concretes using in eco-engineering.
10. Patrick Joyce - Loss of surface complexity of biogenic reefs reduces potential larval encounter rates with habitat.
Key publications are highlightedJournals