Liam Nash

Liam Nash

Profile Display Name:

Liam Nash

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2018 (Cohort 5)

Research interests:

cross-ecosystem subsidies, aquatic-terrestrial linkages, riparian conservation, community ecology, stable isotope analysis, insect declines, aquatic insects, spider ecology

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Spatiotemporal patterns of aquatic insect emergence and its impact on terrestrial communities across multiple spatial scales in tropical and temperate forests

Research Theme

Biodiversity and Ecology

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


Additional supervisor(s)

J Iwan Jones (Queen Mary University of London),
Gustavo Q Romero (University of Campinas),


I aim to expand our understanding of how aquatic-terrestrial linkages impact terrestrial community and trophic structures, determine how far away from an aquatic source these impacts remain significant, investigate the generality of any observed patterns between distinct biomes and across latitude, and model the results for application by policymakers. Using δ15N and δ13C stable isotope analysis with Bayesian analyses I will track the flux of aquatic resources into terrestrial food webs and evaluate changes in the dietary breadth (and other isotopic metrics; Layman and Post, 2008) of consumers at the community and species level along 150m transects away from streams. I will measure community structure responses as changes in α and β diversity, abundance and biomass between transect points, streams and sites. Through having a standardised method of sampling carried out in multiple sites in Brazil and Europe, I will be able to compare and contrast patterns between different climatic zones (tropical, temperate), forest types (Amazon, Atlantic rainforest, conifer plantation and broadleaf forest), and latitudes (Scotland to Atlantic Rainforest). Finally, I aim to use this extensive dataset of ~700 sampled communities, from across two continents, to develop a spatial model incorporating trophic dynamics and environmental parameters. This model will aim to estimate how wide riparian buffer zones need to be to encompass full cross-ecosystem dynamics, depending on geographic location, forest type and species compositions. The large dataset will be formatted, uploaded to a server and made available for future hypotheses to be explored.

Policy Impact

As forests are increasingly cleared around the globe, especially in the tropics, to make way for the needs of a growing human population, policy makers and environmental managers increasingly need to make informed decisions on where to prioritise conservation efforts. Riparian buffers are a commonly used to protect the forest-freshwater interface, but we lack knowledge of how wide they need to be to maintain healthy cross-ecosystem processes. Ultimately, this research aims to guide and inform policy specifically related to riparian buffers, but also to further understanding on how trophic interactions integrate different ecosystems within a whole, interconnected landscape.

Background Reading
News & Blogs

Tropical Warming: Ecosystem energy exchange, Nature Climate Change: research highlights
How global heating can disconnect tropical forests from freshwater ecosystems, Animal Ecology in Focus
Insect population collapse: new evidence links it to dams, The Conversation
The purpose of ponds, Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Blog
Transmission, of the ecological kind, not the viral kind, Personal Blog
A Journey Through Earth’s Final Frontier, Personal Blog

Conferences and Workshops

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, supervised by Caroline Harkness. 06/03/2022 – 06/06/2022.

Training courses
  • Stable Isotope Mixing Models using SIBER, SIAR, MixSIAR (SIMM06), hosted by PR Statistics. June 2020

Social Links
University Departmental Website:
Personal Website:


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