Biodiversity: Patterns & Processes

The biodiversity crisis is well recognised, with a series of international targets associated with the Rio Convention (many of which were missed) for 2010. Understanding the processes affecting biodiversity is an essential part of conserving natural systems and meeting national and international commitments.

People

Photo: Dr. Ger Fleming, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Gerard Fleming
Microbial Oceanography Research Unit, Microbiology
Phone: (091) 49 3562; Email: ger.fleming@nuigalway.ie
———
I lead the Microbial Oceanography Research Laboratory and have a particular interest in studying microbial diversity of the water column. A key component of these studies is the linking microbial diversity with function in the Deep Sea. The group also examine the response of benthic microbial assemblages to the input of organic matter using culture-independent molecular techniques and culture-based methodologies under conditions of deep sea pressure.
Photo: Dr. Michael Gormally, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Michael Gormally
Applied Ecology Unit, Microbiology
Phone: (091) 49 3334; Email: mike.gormally@nuigalway.ie
———
At the Applied Ecology Unit, research is focused on the potential use of plant and invertebrates as bioindicators of habitat quality. The biodiversity of habitats studied include woodlands, turloughs (disappearing lakes), wet grasslands, machair (rare coastal habitat), callows (flood meadows), riparian habitats, peatlands, stonewalls and HNV (High Nature Value) farmland. The unit has worked on a range of terrestrial invertebrate groups over the years including marsh flies (Sciomyzidae), ground beetles (Carabidae) and molluscs (both terrestrial and freshwater). Recent research on rare and endangered species have focused on the Kerry Slug (Geomalacus maculosus) which is an Annex II and Annex IV species under the EU Habitats Directive and the rare ground beetle species Carabus clatratus. The impact of climate change on biodiversity is also a research area which has developed in the unit over the last number of years.
Photo: Prof. Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Prof. Mark Johnson
Marine Environment
Phone: (091) 49 5864; Email: mark.p.johnson@nuigalway.ie
———
I am interested in the spatial and temporal variation in biodiversity both as a consequence of environmental impacts (including climate change) and as a reflection of species traits. I have modelled relevant patterns and processes and been involved in experimental studies. Of particular interest are the patterns and rates of spread for introduced species. A recent analysis shows that the rate of spread for algae introduced to Europe appears to be increasing.
Dr. Gesche Kindermann, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine & Energy Research Dr. Gesche Kindermann
Applied Ecology
Phone: (091) 49 3863; Email: gesche.kindermann@nuigalway.ie
———
My main research interest is habitat and landscape conservation management with particular focus on coastal dune systems and machairs. I am particularly interested in the interrelationships between nature conservation and human landuse, particularly recreation and tourism. My most recent research project set out to establish the impacts of recreation on coastal sand dune systems, to assess the management of recreational activities with in coastal SACs containing dune systems and to establish how SACs can be managed for conservation while allowing for other activities such as tourism to take place. This involved assessing the direct impacts of tourism on the habitats in coastal conservation areas, recording and comparing the current ground level management practices and stakeholders’ opinions on current the current situation, with the aim to compile a list of good practice management methods for use in other sites.
Dr. Grace McCormack, Ryan Institute for Environmental Marine and Energy Research Dr. Grace McCormack
Zoology
Phone: (091) 49 2321; Email: grace.mccormack@nuigalway.ie
———
The molecular evolution and systematics laboratory investigates the biodiversity and systematics of Irish sponge fauna using morphological and molecular approaches. We also explore the biodiversity associated with marine sponges using next generation sequencing to characterise eukaryotic, bacterial and archael diversity. This work will provide insights into the species that are occasional inhabitants and those that have a more intimate relationship with particular species such as the nature of symbiosis.
Photo: Dr. Anne Marie Power, Ryan Insitute for Environment, Marine and Energy Dr. Anne Marie Power
Zoology
Phone: (091) 49 3015; Email: annemarie.power@nuigalway.ie
———
Research interests in this area include decadal scale zooplankton dynamics on the Irish Shelf; the importance of abiotic factors in mediating intertidal community patterns; other interests include using remote-sensed data to map habitats for shellfish; crustacean ecology in general.
Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington
Botany and Plant Science
Email: micheline.sheehy@nuigalway.ie
———
My research in the Plant Ecology lab focuses on sustainable land-use for conservation. Current research is on biodiversity in upland farms in Connemara, focusing on commonages and peatland ecosystems. The hay meadows Shannon callows depend on specific management to maintain plant and invertebrate diversity, which is currently being researched. Climate change is a specific interest and is the focus of an upland study on alpine heath and northern hepatic (liverwort) mats in mountains of the west of Ireland. I also have an interest in species-rich grassland management for biodiversity, salt marsh ecology, woodland structure and biodiversity and will be teaching on the Tropical Biology Association field course in Uganda in July 2012.
Photo: Dagmar Stengel, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Dagmar Stengel
Botany and Plant Science
Phone:(091) 49 3192; Email: dagmar.stengel@nuigalway.ie
———
Research in this area includes environmental impacts on algal diversity and small- and large-scale distribution patterns caused by environmental, zonational, biogeographic and microhabitat impacts, as well as by anthropogenic influences such as harvesting regimes and deterioration of water quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lead the Microbial Oceanography Research Laboratory (Microbiology, NUI Galway) and have a particular interest in studying microbial diversity ofthe water column. A key component of these studies is the linking microbial diversity with function in the Deep Sea. The group also examine the response of benthic microbial assemblages to the input of organic matter using culture-independent molecular techniques and culture-based methodologies under conditions of deep sea pressure.