The dynamics of freshwater food webs under multiple stressors

Grantham Scholar Alina Smith researches the species interactions of Lake Windemere to create a bioenergetic food web model (BEWF).

The project

In my project I will be focusing on a long-term dataset from Lake Windemere on species interactions across more than four trophic levels and 50+ species.

I will be applying multivariate autoregressive state-space (MARSS) models to this dataset to identify how the food web structure and dynamics has changed over 40 years under multiple stressors. Following from this, I aim to recreate the patterns seen in the Windemere data using the bioenergetic food web model (BEWF).

If these patterns are successfully recreated, we can then use this model to predict future scenarios of multiple stressors imposed on ecosystems due to climate change and human interaction. In addition to the modelling, I also aim to fill critical data gaps in lower trophic levels including phytoplankton and zooplankton functional groups.




Dr Eleanor Mackay

UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Stephen J. Thackeray

UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology