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I started my PhD with the Sediment Ecology Research Group (SERG) in September 2018. My project is focused on investigating the cumulative effects of multiple stressors, in the context of estuarine systems. Estuarine systems are at the boundary between marine and terrestrial realms, and therefore are exposed to sources of stress arising in both. It is increasingly recognised that stressors may interact non-additively, causing cumulative effects at all levels (from the cell to the ecosystem) to become difficult to extrapolate from individual stressor impact studies.
During my PhD, I will investigate the factors which affect the nature of stressor interactions, as well as identify relevant sets of stressors for which potential synergistic or antagonistic relationships have not been tested. These factors will be related to impacts on ecosystem functioning in depositional estuarine habitats, which are biogenically stabilised through extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) production by intertidal microphytobenthic (MPB) biofilms. The provisioning of estuarine ecosystem functioning and services is closely associated with the condition of this microbial assemblage.
This work will aim to identify potential unexpected declines in system functioning caused by unknown interactions between both global (climate change) and local stressors, and areas for greater returns on conservation investment through informed stressor mitigation.
My supervisors are Professor David Paterson and Dr Andrew Blight (SERG).
(source: symbiosis database)