Our Research Our Research

Tropical taken by Tom Finch

Research in the centre includes work in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. Organisms studied include pro- and eukaryote micro-organisms, plants and animals, at spatial scales ranging from the microscopic to continental and global. Our interests are grouped into four broad themes:


Photo supplied by Tom Finch, BIO UEA

Behavioural Ecology and Populations. Population biology and population dynamics of animals and plants. Life history evolution, and its consequences for population biology. Reproductive behaviour, sexual selection and the population consequences of individual behaviour, including work on birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates. Ethnobiology and evolutionary psychology. Ecophysiology.

Contaminated Environments, Chemical and Ecosystem Ecology. There is an inextricable link between environmental chemistry and ecology. Biological processes form key links in geochemical cycling of many elements. Changes in the chemistry of the environment induced by human activities impact on ecological processes, often in detrimental ways. We are involved in examining the roles played by eukaryotic microorganisms, bacteria and archaea in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and iodine, particularly in the marine environment. Several staff are examining the impacts of climate change on ecological systems, particularly through our involvement in the Tyndall Centre project on managing coastal zones. The transport, breakdown, fate and ecological effects of contaminants in the environment. The ecology and bioremediation of grossly contaminated environments, including acid mine drainage at pH 0.5, post-industrial "brownfield" sites contaminated with hydrocarbons, phenolics and pesticides, and estuaries with several centuries of history of severe metal contamination.

Conservation. Characterisation of biodiversity from the genetic to the landscape level, its effects on ecosystem functions and its conservation. Ecology of agricultural, seminatural and natural systems, tropical forests, coastal and marine environments, including the decline of coral reefs and impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops on biodiversity. Habitat creation and restoration. Sustainable exploitation of natural resources; trade and the environment. Wildlife biology and the management of endangered species, including projects on mammals, birds and reptiles. Landscape ecology and macroecology.

Molecular Ecology and Evolution. Evolutionary genetics, population genetics and phylogeography. Theoretical and empirical studies of evolutionary processes. Microbial ecology and ecophysiology, environmental genomics and proteomics. A growing theme in our research is "integrative biology", making links between molecular processes and changes at the whole organism, population and community levels. 

Individual faculty and their research interests are listed on our Ecology Research at UEA page.