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A REVIEW OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY IN THE UK Professor Rick Battarbee (UC, London) Professor Alan Hildrew (QM, London) Professor Alan Jenkins (CEH) Dr Iwan.

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Presentation on theme: "A REVIEW OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY IN THE UK Professor Rick Battarbee (UC, London) Professor Alan Hildrew (QM, London) Professor Alan Jenkins (CEH) Dr Iwan."— Presentation transcript:

1 A REVIEW OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY IN THE UK Professor Rick Battarbee (UC, London) Professor Alan Hildrew (QM, London) Professor Alan Jenkins (CEH) Dr Iwan Jones (CEH) Dr Stephen Maberly (CEH) Professor Steve Ormerod (Cardiff) Dr Paul Raven (EA) Dr Nigel Willby (Stirling) Co-ordinated by the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)

2 A REVIEW OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY IN THE UK Professor Rick Battarbee (UC, London) Professor Alan Hildrew (QM, London) Professor Alan Jenkins (CEH) Dr Iwan Jones (CEH) Dr Stephen Maberly (CEH) Professor Steve Ormerod (Cardiff) Dr Paul Raven (EA) Dr Nigel Willby (Stirling) 1) Evidence for a decline in specialist freshwater staff and consequences for UK science capacity and leadership

3 A REVIEW OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY IN THE UK 1) Until the late 1970s, the UK was considered to be at the forefront of research in freshwater ecology and limnology. 2) Since the late 1970s there has been a reversal in this position, such that research activity has declined in the UK in absolute terms, and relatively compared with N. America, Japan, Australia/New Zealand and other parts of Europe. 3) Indicators show a fall in publications and in the number of scientists, to the extent that there is increasing concern regarding our ability to provide the scientific understanding required to meet the scale of the problems we face.

4 Taking stock 1: the NERC institutes. Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and its research successors (NERC IFE, parts of ITE, CEH) have represented the largest single group of freshwater ecologists in the UK Previous annual reports and current CEH data-base record staff strength accurately Staff were identified as freshwater ecologists, along with their research interests (e.g. lakes or rivers), using professional judgement based on publications

5 Total number of scientific staff working in FBA/IFE/IFE/CEH primarily studying lakes or rivers. The estimate for 2010 is a best- guess. Strength at the NERC institutes…

6 Total number of scientific staff working in FBA/IFE/IFE/CEH primarily studying lakes or rivers. The estimate for 2010 is a best- guess. Strength at the NERC institutes… 47% of peak numbers (lake ecologists) or 69% of peak numbers (river ecologists) Further decline anticipated

7 Taking stock 2: university staff in freshwater ecology. Searched all papers in major, whole-organism freshwater journals* between using ® ISI Web of Knowledge; Listed all freshwater papers published by each individual; Excluded fellows (e.g. R. J. Flower, UCL; I. P. Vaughan, Cardiff); Excluded recent recruits yet to publish from UK addresses (e.g. Suzanne McGowan, Nottingham; Neil Anderson, Loughborough); Carried out identical search for *Freshwater Biology, Limnology & Oceanography, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Archiv für Hydrobiologie, Hydrobiologia, Journal of the North American Benthological Society, Aquatic Conservation

8 Professorial staff in UK universities actively publishing in freshwater biology, LocationResearch interestsN recent papers ( ) Battarbee RW † UC LondonPalaeolimnology25 Hildrew AG † QMU LondonStream ecology30 Moss B † LiverpoolLimnology37 Ormerod SJ † CardiffStream/wetland ecology44 Huntingford FA † GlasgowFish behaviour33 Metcalfe NB † GlasgowFish behaviour51 Laybourn-Parry J † NottinghamLake meiofauna28 Petts GE † BirminghamGeomorphology30 Gurnell AM † KC LondonGeomorphology/hydrology36 Cowx IG † HullFish management33 †Already active by

9 Professorial staff in UK universities actively publishing in freshwater biology, LocationResearch interestsN recent papers ( ) Battarbee RW † UC LondonPalaeolimnology25 Hildrew AG † QMU LondonStream ecology30 Moss B † LiverpoolLimnology37 Ormerod SJ † CardiffStream/wetland ecology44 Huntingford FA † GlasgowFish behaviour33 Metcalfe NB † GlasgowFish behaviour51 Laybourn-Parry J † NottinghamLake meiofauna28 Petts GE † BirminghamGeomorphology30 Gurnell AM † KC LondonGeomorphology/hydrology36 Cowx IG † HullFish management33

10 Staff at other grades in:LocationN recent papers ( ) Fisheries Griffiths SWCardiff20 Smith CLeicester31 (?) Lucas MCDurham24 Meiofauna Rundle SDPlymouth19 Schmid-Araya JMQMU London13 Robertson ALSurrey10 (?) River macroinvertebrates Milner AM † Birmingham18 Lancaster JEdinburgh10 Ledger MBirmingham7 Gee JHR † Aberystwyth5 Young MRAberdeen12 Dobson MMMU13 Woodward GQMU London11 (?) Wotton RS † UC London12 Academics at other grades actively publishing in freshwater biology, …

11 LocationN researchers Birmingham3 Glasgow3 Queen Mary3 University College3 Cardiff2 Kings College2 Leicester2 Loughborough2 Thirteen others1 Total33 Academics at all grades actively publishing in freshwater biology, by institution

12 Research interestN researchers Stream invertebrates8 Fish ecology and behaviour 6 Pond invertebrates5 Limnology3 Meoifauna3 Macrophytes3 Stream ecology2 Geomorphology2 Palaeolimnology1 Total33 Academics at all grades actively publishing in freshwater biology, by research interest

13 StaffInstitutionStaffInstitution Reynoldson T. B.BangorYoung JOLiverpool Happey-Wood CMBangorEaton JWLiverpool Brook A JBuckinghamClymo RSLondon Edington JMCardiffGreen JLondon Benson-Evans KCardiffDuncan ALondon Edwards RWCardiffDenny PLondon Learner MACardiffWade MLoughborough Bailey RGChelseaMcLachlan A. J.Newcastle Bark AWChelseaAdams JNewcastle Whitton BADurhamMorris RNottingham Bowler KDurhamHoldich DMNottingham Savage AAKeeleGower APlymouth Badcock RMKeeleAndrew T.E.Royal Holloway Jones RILancasterSleigh MASouthampton Bullock JALeicesterThomas JDSussex Moody JLeicesterTownsend CRUEA Oldham RSLeicester PolytechnicLawton JHYork Full-time university faculty members publishing in freshwater biological fields* during the period but no longer active.

14 StaffInstitutionStaffInstitution Reynoldson T. B.BangorYoung JOLiverpool Happey-Wood CMBangorEaton JWLiverpool Brook A JBuckinghamClymo RSLondon Edington JMCardiffGreen JLondon Benson-Evans KCardiffDuncan ALondon Edwards RWCardiffDenny PLondon Learner MACardiffWade MLoughborough Bailey RGChelseaMcLachlan A. J.Newcastle Bark AWChelseaAdams JNewcastle Whitton BADurhamMorris RNottingham Bowler KDurhamHoldich DMNottingham Savage AAKeeleGower APlymouth Badcock RMKeeleAndrew T.E.Royal Holloway Jones RILancasterSleigh MASouthampton Bullock JALeicesterThomas JDSussex Moody JLeicesterTownsend CRUEA Oldham RSLeicester PolytechnicLawton JHYork Full-time university faculty members publishing in freshwater biological fields* during the period but no longer active. 34 staff losses since through death, retirement, movement, inactivity…

15 StaffInstitutionStaffInstitution Reynoldson T. B.BangorYoung JOLiverpool Happey-Wood CMBangorEaton JWLiverpool Brook A JBuckinghamClymo RSLondon Edington JMCardiffGreen JLondon Benson-Evans KCardiffDuncan ALondon Edwards RWCardiffDenny PLondon Learner MACardiffWade MLoughborough Bailey RGChelseaMcLachlan A. J.Newcastle Bark AWChelseaAdams JNewcastle Whitton BADurhamMorris RNottingham Bowler KDurhamHoldich DMNottingham Savage AAKeeleGower APlymouth Badcock RMKeeleAndrew T.E.Royal Holloway Jones RILancasterSleigh MASouthampton Bullock JALeicesterThomas JDSussex Moody JLeicesterTownsend CRUEA Oldham RSLeicester PolytechnicLawton JHYork Full-time university faculty members publishing in freshwater biological fields* during the period but no longer active. Represents 59% loss from a pool of 58 active staff in Balanced by 16 gains – i.e. only 47% of losses replaced Strength is now 56% of that in Remarkably consistent with trends in NERC (47- 69%)

16 StaffInstitutionStaffInstitution Reynoldson T. B.BangorYoung JOLiverpool Happey-Wood CMBangorEaton JWLiverpool Brook A JBuckinghamClymo RSLondon Edington JMCardiffGreen JLondon Benson-Evans KCardiffDuncan ALondon Edwards RWCardiffDenny PLondon Learner MACardiffWade MLoughborough Bailey RGChelseaMcLachlan A. J.Newcastle Bark AWChelseaAdams JNewcastle Whitton BADurhamMorris RNottingham Bowler KDurhamHoldich DMNottingham Savage AAKeeleGower APlymouth Badcock RMKeeleAndrew T.E.Royal Holloway Jones RILancasterSleigh MASouthampton Bullock JALeicesterThomas JDSussex Moody JLeicesterTownsend CRUEA Oldham RSLeicester PolytechnicLawton JHYork Full-time university faculty members publishing in freshwater biological fields* during the period but no longer active.

17 StaffInstitutionStaffInstitution Reynoldson T. B.BangorYoung JOLiverpool Happey-Wood CMBangorEaton JWLiverpool Brook A JBuckinghamClymo RSLondon Edington JMCardiffGreen JLondon Benson-Evans KCardiffDuncan ALondon Edwards RWCardiffDenny PLondon Learner MACardiffWade MLoughborough Bailey RGChelseaMcLachlan A. J.Newcastle Bark AWChelseaAdams JNewcastle Whitton BADurhamMorris RNottingham Bowler KDurhamHoldich DMNottingham Savage AAKeeleGower APlymouth Badcock RMKeeleAndrew T.E.Royal Holloway Jones RILancasterSleigh MASouthampton Bullock JALeicesterThomas JDSussex Moody JLeicesterTownsend CRUEA Oldham RSLeicester PolytechnicLawton JHYork Full-time university faculty members publishing in freshwater biological fields* during the period but no longer active.

18 Taking stock 3: Evidence from productivity

19 Figure 1. Papers in Freshwater Biology ( ) and four other key journals* ( ). *Limnology & Oceanography; Archiv für Hydrobiologie, Canadian Journal of Aquatic Sciences, Hydrobiologia

20 Figure 2. UK output of published papers in five leading freshwater ecology journals between 1980 and 1996 (upper panel), and between in Freshwater Biology (lower panel).

21

22 Loss and redistribution of activity. Changing focus in biology departments: emphasis on health and molecular biology. Movement of ecology into schools of geography (e.g. UCL, Birmingham): gain in holism and physical science; decline in biological understanding? Local influences rather than strategic thinking: appointments reflect local criteria rather than UK strategic need e.g. RAE; ‘weight of numbers’. Under-funding: 435 NERC “freshwater ecology” grants from , but only 41 to individuals publishing in major freshwater journals; Majority gained by engineers and physical scientists; Limited targeted support from other funders Poor leadership and weak influence: We fail to influence science spending, appointments, research trends, other science activity (e.g. physical and molecular developments). Why such a decline?

23 Four simple examples Water Framework Directive: Managing and regulating the eco-hydromorphology interface Diagnosing, restoring and maintaining ‘Good ecological status’ Habitats Directive: Understanding species’ requirements and limits e.g. Anisus vorticulus Climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation: Invasive species, disease vectors, biodiversity loss… Recruitment and training: Major skills deficit for government agencies, consultants, NGOs, educators… And the consequences… ?


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