Prof David Paterson:
Executive Director of MASTS:
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland
Prof David Paterson
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
tel: 01334 463472 (Sec)
fax: 01334 463443
Sediment Ecology Research Group
School of Biology
Scottish Oceans Institute
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Ecology, biodiversity and dynamics of coastal systems
Research on the ecology and dynamics of coastal systems with a strong focus on the biodiversity-ecosystem function debate. This work is supported by extensive field studies and laboratory mesocosms often using multiple stressors. This adds aspects of climate change research including the combined effects of temperature and CO2 on system response. The primary productivity of coastal systems is an important funcional response and is also under investigation using flux chambers and PAM fluorescence techniques. This work includes interdisciplinary study of "biogenic stabilisation" by microphytobenthos, through the extracellular polymers produced by microbial biofilms that increase the critical threshold force for sediment re-suspension. We have also developed novel techniques to measure the stability of sediments in situ, the relative adhesion capacity of different surfaces and the structural analysis of sediments by low-temperature scanning electron microscopy. Recently, we have aslo been examining the effects of ocean acidiication on benthic biogeochemistry and on the ecology and feeding behaviour of calcified foraminifera.
Research on the ecology and dynamics of coastal and estuarine systems. I am interested in the biodiversity and functional ecology and dynamics of coastal systems: the so-called biodiversity/ecosystem function debate (BEF). This includes research into the primary productivity of marine microbes (microbial mats and biofilms). The resiliance of coastal systems in the face of global change, their funtional variability and the services they provide are key areas of investigation. Part of my interest in ecosystem function includes the interdisciplinary study of "biogenic stabilisation", defined as an increase in the critical threshold force for sediment re-suspension brought about by biological activity and have recently developed a magnetic particle induction technique to measure the adhesive nature of natural surfaces (MagPI) I have also developed techniques to measure the stability of sediments in situ and other methods to allow microspatial discrimination (100 um scale) of the physical (density, porosity, mineralogy) and biological (pigments, organics, polymeric substances, microbes) properties of cohesive sediments. As a group, we use low-temperature scanning electron microscopy for the structural analysis of sediments. In cooperation with other groups, I have been involved with: The modelling of biogenic effects on sediment erosion and transport; light climate and primary productivity in cohesive sediments using PAM fluorescence; light microsensor systems; the influence of pigment distribution of spectral reflectance properties of sediments; and the potential of using remote sensing of reflectance data for the modelling of biomass distribution on coastal systems.