This is my first post about the Life and Environment seminars I have attended at Bangor University, I will also be writing posts on several others so keep checking my blog for updates!
Today’s talk was given by Dr Guy Woodward he is a Professor at Imperial college, London. He gained his PhD from Queen Mary’s in Freshwater Ecology and he is currently the editor for Advances in ecological research journal. He works with DURESS (Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability).
Photo source: Dr Guy Woodward.
The seminar began with an introduction into the importance of understanding freshwater ecosystems. He then explained that freshwater ecosystems are a very valuable resource and provider of biodiversity.
But due to them being very complex and sensitive ecosystems, they are under threat. There are many stresses and pressures attributing to this such as; Pollution, flooding, land management methods and near by land uses.
We were told of the effects of introduction and removal of key species- such as trout and salmon, he explained that these changes were a key contributor to the overall health of a freshwater ecosystem. Dr Woodward then proceeded to go into more detail about freshwater food webs, similar to those featured in the image below.
Figure: Example of a freshwater food web. Credit: Federal interagency stream restoration working group (1998).
Dr Woodward presented research by the DURESS project to support his seminar and to help us form our own conclusions, this allowed us to gain more insight into both his work and the project itself.
One of the talks main points was that we need to be able to understand how an ecosystem functions to allow us to fully understand the possible future and current affects climate change may have on them.
This could then allow us to take adequate precautions to minimize these impacts or to help an ecosystem restore itself after these events.
Dr Woodward gave a very engaging and informative seminar and after listening to him talk about freshwater ecosystems with such energy I feel like my mind has become far more open to thinking about not just direct affecting factors of ecosystems but I feel I have more of an awareness of indirect factors too.
After this seminar I will no longer look at a stream as just a stream- they are havens buzzing with life! And I will definitely think more about the indirect effects that I have on the environment.
Has this affected my future plans?
Yes, but not in a massive career changing way. I will be more conscious of a companies view on things like sustainability and land use management especially when the surrounding areas have ecosystems that could be affected.
Also I would be open to working on a project to conserve freshwater species/ecosystems, whereas previously i hadn’t thought of this as a career option.