BEF of benthic sediment communities

THEME 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning/Ecosystem services relationships of aquatic and coastal habitats

There is considerable theoretical debate about how much the animals, plants and microbes that inhabit a particular ecosystem contribute towards the products and services that the system provides. These “services” include carbon fixation, oxygen production, nutrient turnover, habitat stabilisation and various direct products. This is the essence of the biodiversity-ecosystem function debate. The SERG groups conduct experimental work and field work which examines the value of these hypotheses and also how various external factors such as temperature, pH, nutrients and disturbance effects these relationships. We have been working in marine, estuarine and some freshwater habitats but concentrating mainly on salt marsh and mudflat systems. We have also examined different ways of estimating biodiversity in terms their value in constructing these relationships and are using biological traits analysis to support this work. On-going project include examination of biodiversity, function and service in salt marshes and mudflat in Scotland and England. We are also conducting comparative work to examine the variation in response between temperate (UK) and sub-tropical systems (Australia).

Current projects relevant to the theme