Effects of forest diversity on aquatic-terrestrial linkages and processes

Theme: Biodiversity, Ecology & Conservation

Primary Supervisor:

Julia Koricheva

School of Biological Sciences, RHUL

Julia Koricheva's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Pavel Kratina

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, QMUL

Pavel Kratina's Profile Picture

Project Description:

Tree species, functional and genetic diversity is known to mediate ecosystem processes and functioning of the forest ecosystems. However, natural ecosystems are connected to each other through the flow of species, energy and elements. This project will explore to what extent tree diversity affects linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by using aquatic microcosms installed within a long-term forest diversity experiment in Finland (www.sataforestdiversity.org) and potentially other forest diversity experiments within TreeDivNet platform (www.treedivnet.ugent.be) in the UK and abroad. Aquatic microcosms containing community-specific leaf litter will be exposed in forest stands composed of different tree species and genotypes and effects of tree species richness, composition, functional diversity and genetic diversity on a variety of water and aquatic diversity parameters will be assessed. The project will be co-supervised by Prof. Julia Koricheva (RHUL) who has expertise in studying effects of forest diversity on ecosystem functioning and Dr. Pavel Kratina (QMUL) who is an expert in aquatic food web ecology. The project offers a prospective PhD student an opportunity to develop skills in experimental design, field work, statistical analysis and both forest and aquatic ecology.

Policy Impact of Research:

The results of this project would inform forest management strategies to maximize biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

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