Lowri is training as part of the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.
Project title: A mechanistic approach to the phenology and spatial distribution of marine organisms: predicting shifts in a changing climate
Summary: This project will be taking a mechanistic approach to understanding the ecology and the impact of a changing climate on marine organisms. Currently, correlative species distribution models (SDMs) aim to statistically link spatial data to a species distribution record – which makes it difficult to predict future species distribution as it does not incorporate why species move. However, developing mechanistic species distribution models will allow for the inclusion of physiological elements that interact with variables such as temperature which may explain why species redistribute – improving accuracy of predictive models.
The project aims to quantitatively explore the spatio-temporal distribution of organisms with respect to mechanisms which may control this, including physiological and functional traits, related to temperature dependence, tolerance to resource shortages, and environmental preferences. The SDMs will be developed based on such descriptions and utilising long-term datasets such as from the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR), but many other single site studies for a global scope. The ambition of this project is to improve the ability to predict species redistribution under different climate change scenarios.
This research also aims to decipher which taxa and functional groups will be most influenced by temperature change, modified stratification regimes and trophic interactions, and will have important implications to understanding global fisheries and their productivity.