This project focuses on comparing ecosystem functioning and resilience between estuaries in Scotland and Australia. Estuaries are extremely important in terms of the goods and services they provide to human society, such as fisheries, coastal protection, pollutant amelioration, and as sites of carbon fixation and sequestration. Through studying estuaries in different parts of the world, an insight into the functional consequences of ecosystem variation can be gained relating to the nature and resilience of these systems with regard to climate change.
The project involves work on estuarine mudflats. Study sites are the Eden and Tay estuaries in Scotland, and Port Hacking and Hawkesbury estuaries in Australia. In particular, the work will focus on how changing environmental conditions and disturbance regimes will affect these systems and the functions they provide. Through a set of disturbance experiments, the resilience of these systems will be assessed and compared.