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Resilcoast: People

Bangor University

Dr Martin Skov

RESILCOAST Cluster Leader

Telephone: 01248 383846

Dr Martin Skov is a Lecturer in ecosystem-service ecology at the School of Ocean Sciences of Bangor University. He has 13 years’ experience in wetland research and more than £ 3 million in research income (£ 1.9 million as PI). Martin is interested in the functioning of coastal wetlands - principally salt marshes and mangroves, with seagrasses a more recent addition. He studies how the structure and composition of natural communities affect landscape change and underpin the provisioning of ecosystem services of coastal protection, habitat provisioning and carbon sequestration.  Martin recently investigated coastal flooding risks and natural coastal protection by salt marshes as part of an EU project (THESEUS), integrating the work of ecologists, engineers and social scientists. In East Africa, Martin and colleagues in Kenya and Tanzania have researched mangrove and seagrass community ecology and carbon storing for 12 years, and recently helped instigate the world’s first carbon-trading scheme with mangroves (Mikoko Pamoja: Martin currently leads the Bangor contribution (£400k) to a NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) consortium project on saltmarsh biodiversity-ecosystem service relationships (CBESS). He has 4 PhD students, who research saltmarsh resilience, ecology, biodiversity and managed realignment.

Dr Jordi Pagès is a Sêr Cymru fellow within the RESILCOAST Cluster. Jordi has strong interests in theoretical and experimental ecology, particularly that of a multi-disciplinary nature. His research history prior to joining RESILCOAST concerned 5 main interest areas: 1) biotic interactions, particularly herbivory, plant-animal and predator-prey interactions in macrophyte ecosystems; 2) landscape ecology, especially to understand the drivers of spatial heterogeneity in ecosystem processes such herbivory, production or reproduction in seagrasses; 3) the effects of disturbances on plant and animal species; 4) ecosystem stability and alternative stable states, such as the assessment of nutrient-linked moderation of trophic cascades in macroalgal systems, and 5) drivers and consequences of animal movement on ecosystem function. In RESILCOAST, Jordi will be leading the development of models to analyse how marsh geomorphodynamics respond to perturbations in sediment supply, biodiversity, plant productivity, grazing and sea level rise. Model outputs will frame a range of marsh resilience predictions or scenarios that quantitatively describe how a marsh may change under the influence of different environmental conditions.

Prof Stuart Jenkins is a Reader in marine ecology at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University with 23 years research in experimental coastal ecology.  He has over 80 peer reviewed publications in the marine science and ecological literature. His expertise lies in manipulative field ecology in hard and soft substrate systems investigating fundamental ecological issues with applied relevance. He has research interests in the role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning, climate impacts on species interactions, larval ecology including match-mismatch dynamics, algal-grazer interactions over large spatial scales and the monitoring, control and impacts of non-native species.  His work has been supported principally by NERC plus a range of UK, European and overseas agencies (e.g. Natural Resources Wales, Natural England, FCT Portugal and FAPESP Brazil).  He has strong research links in Europe and overseas in Brazil and Chile.

Mollie Duggan-Edwards is doing a PhD with RESILCOAST on the patterns, causes and forecasting of regime shifts in salt marshes. Her broader research interests are in intertidal ecosystem processes, although she has a particular emphasis on ecological resilience and state shifts. Mollie’s undergraduate project investigated the likelihood of regime shifts occurring in intertidal as opposed to subtidal ecosystems, and how such trends would be affected by emergent climate change. Mollie’s current research, as part of RESILCOAST, is investigating the historic area changes in salt marshes in UK estuaries using aerial photography. Her aim is to link small-scale localised patterns of change with large-scale estuarine resilience to inform decisions for coastal management.

Cardiff University

Dr Rhoda Ballinger holds a degree in Geography and a PhD in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. As Senior Lecturer within the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences of Cardiff University, Rhoda lecturers in Marine Geography and Environmental Geoscience.  Over the last decade she has engaged in research into the institutional and policy frameworks to deliver Integrated Coastal Management and has written extensively on this subject.  She has also undertaken a variety of research projects on aspects of coastal and shoreline management for UK government agencies and as part of various pan-European projects, including recent the INTERREG IMCORE and DELTANET project.  Rhoda is also involved in a series of international, national and local coastal management projects and initiatives, including the Severn Estuary Partnership and the Coastal Partnership Network, which seek innovative solutions to managing coastal environments.

Dr Emma McKinley is a Sêr Cymru Research Fellow at Cardiff University. Her work in RESILCOAST focuses on governance, ecosystem services, stakeholder mapping and evaluating the policy landscape associated with salt marsh ecosystems. Emma has an initial grounding in natural sciences (BSc Marine Biology, University of Stirling, MSc Marine Environmental Protection, University of Wales, Bangor) followed by a PhD examining the role of marine citizenship in contemporary UK marine and coastal management and policy development (University of Bournemouth). She has worked with numerous partners including local and regional government bodies, the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), NGOs including the RSPB and the Marine Conservation Society, as well as partners across Northern Europe. Emma is an experienced mixed-methods researcher and her research interests include marine spatial planning as a marine and coastal management tool, ecosystem management and valuation of ecosystem services, the Blue Growth agenda, coastal community resilience and sustainability. Additionally, Emma is the Vice Chair of the Royal Geographic Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Coastal and Marine Research Group, and sits on the committee of the Society of Conservation Biology’s Conservation Marketing and Engagement group.

Swansea University

Dr Mike S Fowler is a Senior Lecturer in Biosciences at Swansea University. He is a theoretical ecologist, particularly interested in how interactions and feedbacks among species and environmental fluctuations drive and modify the stability of ecosystems and associated processes and services. Mike uses deterministic and stochastic modelling approaches to understand how different types of environmental variation will alter the size of species and community level fluctuations, and to predict which species are most at risk in extinction cascades. He previously worked in Finland and Spain, with theoretical ecologists and conservation biologists, looking to apply his background and skills to natural situations wherever possible. Since 2012 Mike has been based in Swansea where one of the largest contiguous areas of salt marshes in the UK provides a fascinating study system to develop appropriate dynamical models for improving the understanding of the underlying forces shaping the development of coastal ecosystems.

Dr John Griffin is a lecturer in Ecological Biosciences at Swansea University. He investigates how the structure of ecological communities affects how they function, and ultimately the services they provide to people. He is especially interested in the causes and functional consequences of biodiversity in coastal ecosystems.  As an undergraduate John read Zoology at the University of Nottingham (2003), before undertaking a Masters in Ecology at Bangor University (2004). After a brief stint as the best cappuccino-maker in Bristol (even if he does say so himself), he began his PhD on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning at Plymouth University and the Marine Biological Association of the UK, supervised by Dr Stuart Jenkins, Prof. Richard Thompson and Prof. Steven Hawkins (2009). Hoping for better weather, he subsequently hopped across the Atlantic to the University of Florida, where he undertook a post-doc investigating the importance of predator biodiversity in south-eastern US salt marshes, advised by Prof. Brian Silliman. In 2012 he took up his current position within the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University

Davide de Battisti will investigate how biodiversity affects the resilience of salt marshes under climate change, within the RESILCOAST cluster. During his career path to date, Davide has dealt with various ecological topics. In his Bachelor’s project he focused on predator-prey interactions between strongly interacting species along Pisa coastal shores, while for his Master’s project he studied the phenology and root architecture development of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica. In his PhD, Davide will use both large-scale field observations and manipulative experiments in order to understand how the structure of ecological communities is linked to resilience processes. Specifically, he will investigate how the diversity and composition of plant communities influences their capacity to resist and recover from storm events.

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Angus Garbutt is a senior ecologist at CEH Bangor. He specialises in biodiversity and ecosystem science working from laboratory process studies to long-term field experimentation and national scale monitoring. He is currently Co-PI on the £8.6M Glastir national scale monitoring project to identify the impact of agri-environment interventions on Walesʼ natural capital and ecosystem services. He is Co-PI on two NERC grants including the £2.6M Coastal Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability project exploring the relationship between biodiversity and associated goods and benefits of coastal wetlands, and a £300k NERC grant exploring the relationship between microbial biodiversity-driven nutrient cycling and trace gas fluxes in restore coastal wetlands. Angus was a co-author on the Coastal Margins chapter of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. He is the national examiner for saltmarsh plant taxonomy in England and Wales, overseeing QA for Water Framework Directive monitoring by the Environment Agency. Angus is also the chair of the National Saltmarsh Specialists Group which brings together policy makers, academics and 'end users' enable effective knowledge transfer and influence policy led, science driven decision making at national level. Finally, Angus is the academic advisor to the Welsh Biodiversity Partnership - Coastal Ecosystems Group, responsible for BAP delivery in Wales.

Natural Resources Wales

Dr Emmer Litt is a coastal team member providing specialist evidence and advice on estuarine, coastal and marine physical and geomorphological processes at Natural Resources Wales (NRW). The role draws on an ocean science academic background that Emmer developed from an undergraduate in geological oceanography, a masters in applied physical oceanography and a PhD in biogeochemistry. Specific work areas for NRW include; technical advisor on flood pilot and habitat creation schemes, progressing the Welsh estuarine model base, providing geomorphological advice for the restoration of Welsh sand dunes, developing marine and coastal data, supporting coastal management groups, aiding in the implementation of shoreline management plans plus providing advice on interesting and varied casework including high profile energy developments.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Dr Nicola Beaumont is an interdisciplinary scientist with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Nicola has 17 years’ experience of combining marine science with environmental economics. Nicola specialises in marine ecosystem services, including their quantification and valuation, stakeholder engagement and decision support systems. She has experience in applying these approaches to a variety of marine management issues, including: renewable energy, ocean acidification, and marine planning and policy. She works across a variety of scales from local county councils to European and Global levels.  Nicola is widely published and has led a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects. She was the lead economist for marine and coastal margins on National Ecosystem Assessment, which aimed to quantify and spatially define the provision of UK ecosystem services. She is the Marine Biome Expert Group Lead for the Ecosystem Services Partnership, a member of Marine Renewable Energy Knowledge Exchange NERC advisory council, and also a member of the Productive Seas Evidence Group (PSEG).

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Dr Tjeerd Bouma is a senior scientist at NIOZ-Yerseke in the Netherlands. During the last 10 years, Tjeerd has focussed his research on bio-physical interactions between the forces originating from tidal currents and waves, and species that alter these forces and thereby the environment (i.e., ecosystem engineers). Biophysical interactions by ecosystem engineers can have a strong spatial explicit character, with major consequences for the functioning and development of the estuarine and coastal landscape. Tjeerd is interested in obtaining a better understanding of ecosystem engineering as a strategy (basic ecology), the thresholds ecosystem engineers encounter in establishing (bottle neck in restoration), the influence ecosystem engineers have on ecosystem functioning by altering resource fluxes, biodiversity, ecosystem resilience and landscape evolution (management implications) and the opportunities this offer for benefiting from ecosystem services (e.g., Building with Nature opportunities for coastal defence - see Bouma et al. 2014; Borsje et al. 2011; Temmerman et al. 2013). Tjeerd studies these topics, using the broad range of contrasting organisms both from intertidal areas as well as deeper waters. Joint recent research on bottle necks in restoration resulted among others in the introduction of the Windows of Opportunity concept (Balke et al. 2011, 2013, 2014), pin-pointing the importance of sediment dynamics for ecosystem establishment (Balke et al. 2013, Han et al 2012, Infantes et al. 2011) and identifying methods to prevent negative species interactions (Suykerbuyk et al. 2012).

University of Southampton

Dr Eli Lazarus uses quantitative tools of complexity science to examine coastal and terrestrial environments as dynamical systems. His research interests include large-scale landscape evolution; interactions between surface processes and geologic substrates; pattern formation in landforms; and ways in which human activities – hazard mitigation, infrastructure development, natural resource use – act as fundamental forces of change in environmental systems. His practice draws on close field observation, archival records, maps, images, economic data, geospatial and time-series analyses, discipline-based theory, and numerical modelling. He has worked as a postdoctoral fellow in coupled human–natural systems at the University of Maine (USA), a visiting scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the US National Centre for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED), and currently serves on the UK Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Strategic Programme Advisory Group (SPAG).

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