water@leeds: ecology main research areas
Our aim is to become a centre of excellence for aquatic ecosystem research through collaborative research (internally and externally) building on our existing excellence. We are developing a set of microcosm and mesocosm experimental facilities for aquatic ecosystem research including replicated ponds and recirculating stream channels at the University of Leeds farm. We are also training the next generation of graduate and postgraduate students, and actively work to ensure our science leads to real world impact.
Climate change and species distributions
Urban freshwater ecosystems
River ecosystem responses to glacier retreat
Work led by Lee Brown has been examining the effects of glacier retreat on the biodiversity of rivers in locations as diverse as the European Alps, Alaska, New Zealand, Svalbard and French Pyrenees. Notably, this has produced two papers in Nature Climate Change in recent years (Paper 1 and Paper 2).
More recent work has started to consider the structure of food webs in glacier fed rivers and how river ecosystem functioning relates to glacial influence.
Upland management effects on aquatic ecosystems
We have been working throughout the English Pennines examining the impacts of peatland management regimes, such as artificial drainage, drain-blocking and prescribed vegetation burning (see also www.wateratleeds.org/ember), on the biodiversity and functioning of river ecosystems.
Other studies have focused on the assembly of invertebrate communities in the thousands of new ponds that have been created throughout the UK uplands during the process of blocking artificial drainage channels
Slowing the Spread of Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)