Dr Louise Firth
Profiles

Dr Louise Firth

Lecturer in Environmental Science

School of Biological & Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)

Role

Lecturer in Environmental Science

Qualifications

2015-date. Lecturer in Environmental Science, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Plymouth University, UK


2014. Research Associate, Faculty of Natural & Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, UK

2012-2014. University Fellow, Zoology, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland 

2009-2011. Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Steve Hawkins, School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, UK

2009. Consultant Scientist, APEM Ltd., Stockport, UK

2007-2008. Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Susan Bell, Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida, USA

2007. Invited Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Gray Williams, Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, PR China 

2003-2007. PhD in Marine Ecology. School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

1999-2003. BSc in Zoology, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Professional membership

2010-present: Member of the British Ecological Society

2009-present: Member of the Porcupine Marine Natural History Society

2004-present: Member of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Roles on external bodies

2016-present: Editor for Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review


2014-present: Associate Editor for Marine and Freshwater Research

2014-present: Editor for Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Teaching interests

My teaching interests cover biodiversity and community ecology in urban and natural systems, responses of organisms to global climate change and extreme weather events and ecological engineering. 


I teach on the following modules:
ENVS 001 - Extended Science
ENVS 1003 - The Biosphere
ENVS 2006 - Natural Ecosystems
ENVS 3007 - Biodiversity management in tropical ecosystems
ENVS 3011 - Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation
ENVS 5004 - Environmental Consultancy

I also teach on the Malaysian field trip (ENVS2001) as well as supervising undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner for PhD Defence, University of Porto, Portugal (2015)

External Examiner for PhD Defence, University of Bologna, Italy (2013)

Research interests

My research on ‘Marine environmental change’ covers three key areas: (1) conservation, urban ecology and ecological engineering; (2) biodiversity and climate change; and (3) marine community ecology. 


1. Conservation, urban ecology & ecological engineering
As a direct result of my involvement in the EU FP7 and Esmee Fairbairn funded projects THESEUS (www.theseusproject.org) and URBANE (www.urbaneproject.org), I develop novel engineering interventions for habitat creation to conserve native biodiversity in the built environment (e.g. Firth et al. 2014, Coastal Engineering). I test hypotheses about how heterogeneity and complexity determine community structure and functioning (e.g. Firth et al. 2013, Diversity & Distributions). I am actively involved in the World Harbour Project (http://sims.org.au/research/long-term-projects/world-harbour-project/)

2. Biodiversity and climate change. 
I have long been interested in the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on the distribution and biotic interactions of marine species (e.g. Firth et al. 2009, Glob Chan Biol). I am actively involved with the MarClim project (www.mba.ac.uk/marclim) in collaboration with Dr Nova Mieszkowska (MBA, Plymouth) and Prof. Steve Hawkins (University of Southampton). I test hypotheses about responses of marine ecosystems to multiple stressors related to climate change (e.g. Firth & Williams, 2009, JEMBE). I lead an on-going collaborative project "EuroNads" comprising 14 partners across Atlantic Europe. We are assessing spatio-temporal variation in breeding phenology of limpets in response to extreme weather events and climate change. 

3. Marine community ecology.
My overarching research interest marine community ecology. I am interested in testing hypotheses about the processes that shape patterns of distribution of organisms (e.g. Firth & Crowe, 2010, Oecologia). Current PhD studentsMs Rebecca Morris (2013-2017), Faculty of Science, University of Sydney in association with Prof. Ross Coleman and Prof. Gee Chapman Ms Aimee Walls (2013-2017), Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, “An Ecosystem approach to seaweed farming” in association with Prof. Mark Johnson (Ryan Institute) and Dr Maeve Edwards (Carna Research Station) Ms Alison Evans (2011-2015), Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, “Artificial defence structures as surrogate habitats for natural rocky shores: giving nature a helping hand” in association with Dr Pippa Moore (Aberystwyth University), Liz Morris and Harry Goudge (Marine Ecological Solutions) and Prof. Steve Hawkins (University of Southampton)

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Current students
Ms Aimee Walls, PhD, Zoology, National University of Ireland Galway, 2017 (co-supervisor). "An ecosystem approach to kelp farming".

Ms Kathryn O'Shaughnessy, PhD, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Plymouth University, 2016-2019. (Director of studies). "Green engineering of coastal infrastructure: a design for life"

Ms Axelle Amstutz,  PhD, School of Biological Science, Plymouth University, 2016-2019.  (co-supervisor).  "Facing up to climate change: the role of aspect in species colonisation, persistence and ecosystem processes" 

Ms Amelia Curd, PhD, IFREMER and University of West Brittany, 2016-2019. (co-supervisor). "Assessment of the distribution and ecological status of Sabellaria alveolata reefs in Europe" 


Past students
Dr Rebecca Morris, PhD, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, 2016 (co-supervisor). "Retrofitting biodiversity: Ecological engineering for management of urbanised systems".

Dr Ally Evans, PhD, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, 2015 (co-supervisor). "Artificial coastal defence structures as surrogate habitats for natural rocky shores".

Ms Meredith Schofield, MSc Marine Biology, School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, 2012 (main supervisor). "Effect of environmental heterogeneity on biological communities of intertidal rock pools". 

Ms Freya White, MSc Marine Environmental Protection, School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, 2012 (main supervisor). The effects of substratum type and surface heterogeneity on rocky intertidal assemblages". 

 

Grants & contracts

Firth LB, Chee SY. Royal Society International Exchanges. "Eco-engineering of artificial habitats in Penang, Malaysia". 2016/2018. £12,000.

Firth LB
, Chee SY. British Ecological Society Small Grant. "Eco-engineering: design with nature, Malaysia". 2015/2018. £5000.

Dubois S, Davies AJ, Lima FP, Firth LB. Total Fondacion, "REEHAB - Assessment of the distribution and ecological status of Sabellaria alveolata reefs in Europe". 2015-1019. €150,000.

Firth LB. Linnean Society Percy Sladen Memorial Fund. "On the distribution and biodiversity associated with Sabellaria alveolata (L.): the Irish case study". 2015/2016. £800.

Hawkins SJ, Powrie W, Nicholls RJ, Thompson, RC, Firth LB. University of Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute, HEIF Research Collaboration Stimulus Fund 2014/15. £18,000

Walls A, Firth LB. The Marine Institute Marine Research Programme (Networking & Travel Grant: NT/14/10), “UPMC Roscoff, Marine Summer School – taxonomy of marine fauna”, 2014. €750

Firth LB. Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. “ShorTIE: Shore Thing Ireland”, 2014. €6000

Firth LB. LabexMer, Visiting researcher to Dr Stanislas Dubois, IFREMER Brest, France, 2014. €3200

Firth LB. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Natural Science Project Call, “Biodiversity of biogenic habitats”, 2013. €1500

Firth LB. Environment Fund for Biodiversity Awareness Grant Scheme 2013 (Notice Nature). “Eco-engineering: Design with Nature”, 2013. €5000

Walls A, Firth LB, Edwards M, Johnson MJ. “An ecosystem approach to seaweed farming”, 2013-2017. €64,000

Firth LB. The Marine Institute Marine Research Programme (Networking & Travel Grant: NT/13/40), “MarClim, Lofoten”, 2013. €750

Spain-Butler A & Firth LB. National University of Ireland, Galway, College of Science Summer Internships, 2013. €3500

Firth LB. The Marine Institute Marine Research Programme (Networking & Travel Grant: NT/13/16), “Sabellaria alveolata: distribution and associated biodiversity in Ireland”, 2013. €750

Browne K & Firth LB. National University of Ireland, Galway, College of Science Summer Internships, 2013. €3500

Firth LB & Geffen A. Royal Irish Academy Mobility Grants Scheme: “Phenology & biogeography: key grazers in a changing world”, 2013. €2500

Firth LB & Noel L. Irish Research Council and Campus France Ulysses Programme: “Sabellaria alveolata: distribution and associated biodiversity in Ireland and France”, 2012. €5000

Firth LB & Mieszkowska N. Porcupine Marine Natural History Society Small Grant Scheme: “Sabellaria alveolata in northwest Britain: an assessment of the distribution and abundance following two consecutive cold winters", 2012. £1000

Grant L & Firth LB. National University of Ireland, Galway, College of Science Summer Internships, 2012. €3500

Hawkins SJ & Firth LB. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Scientific Diving Facility in support of dive surveys of the Liverpool Dock Complex: “Long-term studies of dock ecosystems following restoration: contribution of urban biodiversity to ecosystem services”, 2012. £30,000

Firth LB & Moore P. Biosciences and Environment and Agriculture Alliance (BEAA) and Climate Change Consortium Wales (C3W) in support of collaborative project on phenology and climate change, 2011-2012. £650

Moore P & Firth LB. Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) PhD studentship: “Artificial defence structures as surrogate habitats for natural rocky shores: giving nature a helping hand”, 2011-2013. £70,000

Firth LB. Wirral Council. Biodiversity experiment on the coastal defences at New Brighton, 2010, £1500

Firth LB & Crowe TP. The Marine Institute Networking and Transfer of Technology Scheme (Other grant: NTT/05/10) 2005, €2000

Firth LB. The Irish Research Council for Science and Engineering Technology (RS/2003/115) Population dynamics of key species in rocky intertidal habitats – patellid limpets in a warming world, 2003-2007. €70,000

Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Hawkins SJ, Evans AJ, Mieszkowska N, Adams LC, Bray S, Burrows MT, Firth LB, Genner MJ, Leung KMY & Moore PJ 2017 'Distinguishing globally-driven changes from regional- and local-scale impacts: The case for long-term and broad-scale studies of recovery from pollution' Marine Pollution Bulletin , DOI
Strain EMA, Olabarria C, Mayer-Pinto M, Cumbo V, Morris RL, Bugnot AB, Dafforn KA, Heery E, Firth LB & Brooks P 2017 'Eco-engineering urban infrastructure for marine and coastal biodiversity: which interventions have the greatest ecological benefit?' Journal of Applied Ecology , DOI
Knights AM, Firth LB & Russell B 2017 'Ecological responses to environmental change in marine systems' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology , DOI PEARL
Bishop MJ, Mayer-Pinto M, Airoldi L, Firth LB, Morris RL, Loke LHL, Hawkins SJ, Naylor LA, Coleman RA & Chee SY 2017 'Effects of ocean sprawl on ecological connectivity: impacts and solutions' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 492, 7-30 , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Grant LM, Crowe TP, Ellis JS, Wiler C, Convery C & O'Connor NE 2017 'Factors affecting the prevalence of the trematode parasite Echinostephilla patellae (Lebour, 1911) in the limpet Patella vulgata (L.)' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology , DOI PEARL
McManus RS, Archibald N, Comber S, Knights AM, Thompson RC & Firth LB 2017 'Partial replacement of cement for waste aggregates in concrete coastal and marine infrastructure: A foundation for ecological enhancement?' Ecological Engineering , DOI PEARL
Evans AJ, Garrod B, Firth LB, Hawkins SJ, Morris-Webb ES, Goudge H & Moore PJ 2017 'Stakeholder priorities for multi-functional coastal defence developments and steps to effective implementation' Marine Policy 75, 143-155 , DOI PEARL
Walls AM, Edwards MD, Firth LB & Johnson MP 2017 'Successional changes of epibiont fouling communities of the cultivated kelp Alaria esculenta: predictability and influences' Aquaculture Environment Interactions 9, 57-71 , DOI PEARL
Knights AM, Pearson S, Windupranata W, Pranowo SW, Putri A, Yingjie M, Vila-Concejo A, Fernández E, Méndez G & Banks J 2016 'Conflicts in some of the World Harbours: What needs to happen next?' Maritime Studies , DOI PEARL
Pearson S, Windupranata W, Pranowo SW, Putri A, Yingjie M, Vila-Concejo A, Fernández E, Méndez G, Banks J & Knights AM 2016 'Conflicts in some of the World Harbours: What needs to happen next?' Maritime Studies , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Evans A, Knights AM, Nash R, Browne K, Moore P, Morris-Webb E, Goudge H & Hawkins S 2016 'Could this be a concrete solution to biodiversity loss?' Environmental Science Journal for Teens PEARL
Evans AJ, Firth LB, Hawkins SJ, Morris ES, Goudge H & Moore PJ 2016 'Drill-cored rock pools: an effective method of ecological enhancement on artificial structures' Marine and Freshwater Research 67, (1) 123-123 , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Browne KA, Knights AM, Hawkins SJ & Nash R 2016 'Eco-engineered rock pools: a concrete solution to biodiversity loss and urban sprawl in the marine environment' Environmental Research Letters 11, (9) 094015-094015 , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, White FJ, Schofield M, Hanley ME, Burrows MT, Thompson RC, Skov MW, Evans AJ, Moore PJ & Hawkins SJ 2016 'Facing the future: the importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal' Marine and Freshwater Research 67, (1) 131-131 , DOI
Hawkins SJ, Mieszkowska N, Firth LB, Bohn K, Burrows MT, MacLean MA, Thompson RC, Chan BKK, Little C & Williams GA 2016 'Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology' Marine and Freshwater Research 67, (1) 1-1 , DOI
Firth LB, Knights AM, Bridger D, Evans A, Mieskowska N, Moore PJ, O'Connor NE, Sheehan EV, Thompson RC & Hawkins SJ 2016 'Ocean sprawl: challenges and opportunities for biodiversity management in a changing world' Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review PEARL
Knights AM, Firth LB, Yunnie A, Thompson RC, Hiscock K & Hawkins SJ 2016 'Plymouth: A World Harbour through the ages' Regional Studies in Marine Science Author Site , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Mieszkowska N, Grant LM, Bush LE, Davies AJ, Frost MT, Moschella PS, Burrows MT, Cunningham PN & Dye SR 2015 'Historical comparisons reveal multiple drivers of decadal change of an ecosystem engineer at the range edge' Ecology and Evolution 5, (15) 3210-3222 , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Thompson RC, Bohn K, Abbiati M, Airoldi L, Bouma TJ, Bozzeda F, Ceccherelli VU, Colangelo MA & Evans A 2014 'Between a rock and a hard place: Environmental and engineering considerations when designing coastal defence structures' Coastal Engineering 87, 122-135 , DOI
Firth LB, Schofield M, White FJ, Skov MW & Hawkins SJ 2014 'Biodiversity in intertidal rock pools: Informing engineering criteria for artificial habitat enhancement in the built environment' Marine Environmental Research 102, 122-130 , DOI PEARL
Kennedy R, Allcock L, Firth L & Power AM 2014 'Preface-EMBS 2013' Marine Environmental Research 102, 1-2 , DOI
Mieszkowska N, Sugden H, Firth LB & Hawkins SJ 2014 'The role of sustained observations in tracking impacts of environmental change on marine biodiversity and ecosystems' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 372, (2025) 20130339-20130339 , DOI
Firth LB, Mieszkowska N, Thompson RC & Hawkins SJ 2013 'Climate change and adaptational impacts in coastal systems: the case of sea defences' Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 15, (9) 1665-1665 , DOI
Hawkins SJ, Firth LB, McHugh M, Poloczanska ES, Herbert RJH, Burrows MT, Kendall MA, Moore PJ, Thompson RC & Jenkins SR 2013 'Data rescue and re-use: Recycling old information to address new policy concerns' Marine Policy 42, 91-98 , DOI
Bracewell SA, Robinson LA, Firth LB & Knights AM 2013 'Predicting Free-Space Occupancy on Novel Artificial Structures by an Invasive Intertidal Barnacle Using a Removal Experiment' PLoS ONE 8, (9) e74457-e74457 , DOI PEARL
Vale M HSJ 2013 'Sustained Observation of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems' Oceanography: Open Access 01, (01) , DOI PEARL
Firth LB, Thompson RC, White RF, Schofield M, Skov MW, Hoggart SPG, Jackson J, Knights AM & Hawkins SJ 2013 'The importance of water retaining features for biodiversity on artificial intertidal coastal defence structures' Diversity and Distributions 19, (10) 1275-1283
Firth LB, Thompson RC, White FJ, Schofield M, Skov MW, Hoggart SPG, Jackson J, Knights AM & Hawkins SJ 2013 'The importance of water-retaining features for biodiversity on artificial intertidal coastal defence structures' Diversity and Distributions 19, (10) 1275-1283 , DOI PEARL
Knights AM, Firth LB & Walters K 2012 'Interactions between multiple recruitment drivers: post-settlement mortality overrides flow-mediated recruitment' PLoS One 7, (4) PEARL
Firth LB, Knights AM & Bell S 2011 'Air temperature and winter mortality: Implications for the persistence of the invasive mussel, Perna viridis in the intertidal zone of the south-eastern United States' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 400, 250-256
Firth LB & Hawkins SJ 2011 'Introductory comments - Global change in marine ecosystems: Patterns, processes and interactions with regional and local scale impacts' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 400, (1-2) 1-6 , DOI
Firth LB & Crowe TP 2010 'Competition and habitat suitability: small-scale segregation underpins large-scale coexistence of key species on temperate rocky shores' Oecologia 162, (1) 163-174 , DOI PEARL
FIRTH LOUISEB, CROWE TASMANP, MOORE PIPPA, THOMPSON RICHARDC & HAWKINS STEPHENJ 2009 'Predicting impacts of climate-induced range expansion: an experimental framework and a test involving key grazers on temperate rocky shores' Global Change Biology 15, (6) 1413-1422 , DOI
Firth LB & Williams GA 2009 'The influence of multiple environmental stressors on the limpet Cellana toreuma during the summer monsoon season in Hong Kong' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 375, (1-2) 70-75 , DOI PEARL
Firth LB & Crowe TP 2008 'Large-scale coexistence and small-scale segregation of key species on rocky shores' Hydrobiologia 614, (1) 233-241 , DOI PEARL
Chapters
Hoggart S, Hawkins SJ, Bohn K, Airoldi L, van Belzen J, Bichot A, Bilton DT, Bouma TJ, Colangelo MA & Davies AJ 2015 'Ecological Approaches to Coastal Risk Mitigation' Coastal Risk Management in a Changing Climate 171-236 , DOI