Dr Louise Bridget Firth B.Sc, Ph.D
I was appointed as a University Fellow in Zoology at the Ryan Institute in January 2012. I am involved in teaching a range of courses to undergraduate students in addition in to carrying out marine ecological research.
I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Bangor University in December 2009. I work on two projects relating to the biodiversity, ecology and engineering design principles of coastal defence structures. I am also involved in ongoing long-term surveys of the distribution and abundance of intertidal organisms around the British coast.
University of South Florida, USA (2007-2008)
I lectured marine biology to undergraduate students at the University of South Florida. In addition to working on an ongoing sea grass restoration project, I also monitored the distribution and abundance of the invasive green mussel, Perna viridis in relation to a winter mortality event.
University of Hong Kong, PR China (2007)
After finishing my PhD, I worked with Gray Williams at the Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong. I investigated a summer mortality event and the impacts of multiple environmental stressors (temperature and salinity) on the survival of the intertidal limpet, Cellana toreuma.
University College Dublin, Ireland (2003-2007)
I graduated in Zoology from University College Dublin in 2003. I remained at UCD to undertake my PhD in Marine Ecology under the supervision of Tasman Crowe. My PhD focused on the processes underpinning the distribution patterns of patellid limpets and how these processes may be altered by global climate change.
I am a benthic marine ecologist with
interests in both rocky shore and soft sediment intertidal systems. My main
research focuses on the distribution patterns and interactions of marine
organisms and their responses to environmental change (natural and anthropogenic).
Marine community ecology
As a marine ecologist, I am interested in the distribution and abundance of marine organisms and how these patterns are underpinned by interactions of species with each other and their environment. I am particularly interested in how these interactions will be altered by shifts in species range in response to global climate change.
Intertidal organisms live in a very harsh
environment and experience daily fluctuations in environmental conditions. With
global climate change, it is expected that fluctuations in environmental
conditions will be even greater. I am interested in testing both the individual
and synergistic effects of multiple environmental stressors (particularly extreme weather events) on intertidal
I have recently become involved in the ongoing surveys of the MarClim project (www.mba.ac.uk/marclim). Building on historic data from the 1950s onwards, the MarClim project and subsequent contemporary data have provided strong evidence of changes in the abundance, range and population structure of intertidal species in relation to recent rapid climatic warming.
An increase in sea level rise and storminess is exacerbating coastal flooding and erosion. As a result, coastal defence structures to protect sedimentary coastlines from erosion and flooding are becoming increasingly common. By building these structures using ecologically sensitive design principles, it is possible to increase habitat-availability and thus enhance biodiversity. Please see the related project links for more information (www.theseusproject.eu, www.urbaneproject.org).
Peer Reviewed Journals
|Firth, L.B., and Crowe, T.P. (2008) 'Large-scale coexistence and small-scale segregation of key species on rocky shores'. Hydrobiologia, 614 :233-241. [Details]|
|Firth, L.B., Crowe, T. P., Moore, P., Thompson, R. C., Hawkins, S.J. (2009) 'Predicting impacts of climate-induced range expansion: an experimental framework and a test involving key grazers on temperate rocky shores'. Global Change Biology, 15 :1413-1422. [Details]|
|Firth, L.B., and Williams, G.A. (2009) 'The influence of multiple environmental stressors on the limpet Cellana toreuma during the summer monsoon season in Hong Kong'. Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, 375 :70-75. [Details]|
|Firth, L.B., and Crowe, T.P. (2010) 'Competition and habitat suitability: small-scale segregation underpins large-scale coexistence of key species on temperate rocky shores'. Oecologia, 162 :163-174. [Details]|
|Firth, L.B., Knights, A.M., and Bell, S.S. (2011) 'Air temperature and winter mortality: implications for the persistence of the invasive mussel, Perna viridis in the intertidal zone of the south-eastern United States'. Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, 400 :250-256. [Details]|
|Firth, L.B., and Hawkins, S.J. (2011) 'Global change in marine ecosystems: Patterns, processes and interactions with regional and local scale impacts'. Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, 400 :1-6. [Details]|