I am a PhD student supervised by Dr. Angus Atkinson (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), Dr. Pennie Lindeque (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) and Dr. Andrew Hirst (Queen Mary University of London).
My research is focussed on Calanus helgolandicus, a key “warm-water” marine zooplankton that occurs in UK waters, including the English Channel, Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and North Sea. C. finmarchicus by contrast is a closely-related “cold-water” sub-arctic copepod distributed around the north of the UK, particularly the North Sea.
During the past 50 years the North Sea has gradually warmed as a consequence of climate change and the C. helgolandicus distribution has expanded northwards, replacing C. finmarchicus. C. finmarchicus is the dominant prey species of many gadoid fish larvae (i.e. cod), therefore the replacement with C. helgolandicus raises serious concerns about the future success of commercial fish species.
C. finmarchicus is one of the most widely studied marine zooplankton organisms in the ocean. However, the population dynamics of C. helgolandicus are not nearly so well understood, particularly those processes related to mortality. This study aims to elucidate both non-predator and predation mortality through the analysis of an existing 25-year dataset from the Western English Channel (Station L4 off Plymouth) and experimental work with live animals collected from the field. This work will feed into existing efforts to model and predict the success of C. helgolandicus in future climate change scenarios.
- Find out more about the Hirst aquatic ecology research group
- Andrew Hirst