Understanding and restoring ecosystems and their services

 

Intro

Understanding and restoring ecosystems and their services

There is urgent need to protect natural resources against a background where some ecosystems have been directly damaged by human activity or are indirectly affected by global climate change.  Ecosystems provide a suite of important services including biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water management.

Many ecosystems have been damaged or are polluted either by more recent human activities or their status is a legacy of the industrial revolution. Such systems can be denuded of biodiversity, degraded in hydrology or possess diminished C stocks. Strategies for restoration can include bioremediation of polluted systems, land management to promote water retention, adaptation of plant community composition for resilience to climatic extremes, interventions to prevent other species invasion.

In looking forward, there is a need to assess how resilient ecosystems are to environmental perturbations consequent of climatic change. This can include identifying ecosystems and their components that are most sensitive to change; those that have current and future potential to sequester carbon; climate smart ecosystems that if managed can tolerate future environmental extremes. Central to these goals is understanding the mechanisms by which resilience is conferred, dictated by adaptation, genetic variability, plasticity and epigenetics.  

Aim

Aim

Our aim is to improve understanding of ecosystem resilience and inform strategies for restoring and optimising ecosystem function and delivery of environmental goods and services.

Approach

Approach

We employ a range of approaches across different scales (temporal and spatial) to address questions about how ecosystems work and how they operate. We quantify the capacity of ecosystems to tolerate abiotic environmental changes including elevated temperature and CO2, extreme heat episodes, aquatic acidification and pollution. Our research on biotic impacts focusses on the adverse impacts of invasive species and the effectiveness of clearance campaigns.

We also explore how plants can be used to phytoremediate and mitigate pollutants including metals and nutrients from both aquatic and terrestrial systems. On land, rooting characteristics and foraging are central to this research as they are to the capacity of terrestrial systems to sequester carbon belowground.

 

Projects

Projects

  • Interreg BRAINWAVES project – DYJ PI, JS Co-I
  • Flexis – Soil C sequestration and land use JS PI, DYJ and GWG Co-Is
  • Darwin Plus – Soils and their fungal communities on St Helena JS PI
  • BBSRC Exchange grant BB/M027945/1 JS PI
  • NERC LATAM 'KELPER' project looking at the resilience of kelp dominated ecosystems across Chile and Peru, NM Co-I
  • CIDRA project just starting on kelp ecosystems in Namibia, NM Co-I
  • PROSOILplus (current) CM PI, JS Co-I
  • SUREROOT (previous) CM PI
  • MISCOMAR+ project - phytostabilization of metal contaminated soil and remediation of a lignite mine, but both using Miscanthus. EJ - PI

 

Principal Investigators

Principal Investigators

Picture Name Email Telephone
Dr Elaine Jensen fft@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 823136
Dr Dylan Gwynn Jones dyj@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622318
Dr Christina Marley cvm@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 823084
Dr Niall McKeown njm2@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622323
Dr John Scullion jos@aber.ac.uk +44 (0) 1970 622304

Publications

Publications

More publications on the Research Portal »