Theme: Global change

The oceans are a critical global resource that are changing. This change is both natural but also, in recent times, has become anthropogenically driven. Work across marine sciences at Glasgow looks at means to study global change by monitoring calcifying marine ecosystems (e.g. corals), the effects of change on coastal erosion, and the vulnerability of fish stocks to changing temperatures.

Climate proxies: Biology of calcifying organisms

The Kamenos lab explores questions about how the oceans are altered by the synergy between natural and anthropogenic change while trying to better determine the actual extent of global change.

Marine biodiversity, energy cascades, climate control and global biogeochemical cycles are all resources / services that oceans provide, and are investigated in two broad disciplines:

  1. Understanding the relationships between global change (e.g. climate variability, ocean acidification & multiple stressors) and calcifying marine ecosystems (e.g. corals and coralline algae) along with the services these ecosystems provide, and
  2. Developing climatic and ecological proxies for the Holocene (our present geological epoch).

These research areas are strongly interdisciplinary including many biological, geological and chemical techniques, with research in temperate, tropical and polar areas using SCUBA as well as in the Marine Mesocosm Facility (below).

 Mesocosm lab

This facility has 128 remotely monitored mesocosms for exploring the impacts of CO2-associated global change on marine biotic and geochemical systems. In particular, we can investigate the responses of marine systems to multiple stressors (any combination of temperature, ocean acidification, hypoxia, light and salinity) and calibrate / validate palaeoenvironmental proxies.

Selected publications

Vulnerability of coasts to erosion

[In development]

Glasgow researchers recently completed a project on how iceberg scouring shapes communities of marine scavengers. As scouring is expected to intensify and then reduce with global climate change, this work reveals how this system is likely to change in the future. Antarctic animals are thought to be particularly vulnerable to even small changes in temperature.

Selected publications

Effects of climate change of fish stocks

We attempt to make a positive difference with our research by collaborating with policy advisors in government, industry and NGOs. We are partners in the Scottish Government’s ClimateXChange network. Through this we are working on projects to assess the vulnerability of fish stocks through climate effects on their habitats. We are also helping develop Marine Protected Area policies that can take climate change into account.

Finally, we are involved in EU COST Action FA1004 Conservation Physiology of Marine Fishes, a collaboration of researchers across Europe, with an aim to identify how physiological mechanisms can be incorporated into models for predicting the response of fish populations to climate change.

Selected publications