Natural resources management and restoration
Fresh Water Resources
Ex-Stream is an Irish Research Council-funded project (led by Dr. Jeremy J. Piggott) that aims to understand the complex ecological processes underpinning the relationships between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems services in freshwaters. The Ex-Stream project has developed a device (currently used in different location across the globe) that allows the manipulation of multiple environmental parameters to simulate and predict the impact of land-use and climate change scenarios on freshwater ecosystems. This information can lead to better management and improved restoration practices.
Up to date forests are the best way to offset the carbon footprint generated from human economic development. An estimated increasing population will certainly require further arable land for food and energy crops. Therefore, forests are under significant threat. Work carried out in Trinity College Dublin by Prof. Fraser Mitchell in collaboration with Industrial partners explores the benefits of investing in new forest creation and asses the potential ecosystem services that the new forest can provide to private business and local communities.
The behaviour of wild fish stocks is critical for the Fisheries Industry. Climatic changes are leading to variations in biological (mating) and ecological (migrating) patterns of species. These changes can be complex and may have knock-on effects on other species (for example between predators and prey) leading to fluctuations of species distribution and their abundance. Planning this ahead is essential for fishing seasonal campaigns (i.e. pelagic fish). Dr. Nicholas Payne is developing new predictive models for anticipating these future shifts in fish stocks and will support solutions that will be aimed at a more sustainable food production.
What makes some plant populations to thrive better than others in a rapid changing world? How is human intervention and land-use influencing these changes among plants populations? Professor Yvonne Buckley is currently carrying out research to determine plant population performance and adaptation in response to land use along environmental gradients. One of the aims of this research is to determine the relative impact that changes on the environmental gradients (i.e. climate change) but also local land use have on the capacity of a species to adapt to these changes.
Wetland ecosystems provide a large range of ecosystem services such as clean drinking water, habitat for fish, material for bioenergy and act as carbon sink among other many. 60% of wetland area has been lost since 1900 and therefore are under a significant threat. Dr. Matthew Saunders from School of Botany is carrying out a research project (WESPA) on the function and dynamics of ecosystems services from tropical wetlands. The results from this research will inform the development and implementation of a sustainable management plan for wetlands that will enhance and conserve its inherited natural capital. The project is being carried out on communities that are dependant of wetlands health and sustainability in East Africa.
Professor Jane Stout is leading elements of a €9m European project (PoshBee) that aims to understand the impacts of multiple pressures to which pollinators are exposed across Europe. This will allow to for the development of a health model for pollinators and tools to monitor pollinator health. Survival and health of pollinators is key for ensuring food security in the future as one of every three bites of food depends on pollination.