Bristol scientist receives Wolfson Research Merit Award
25 August 2015
Professor Daniela Schmidt from the School of Earth Sciences is the recipient of a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for a project on the future of shelf-sea ecosystems.
Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Wolfson Research Merit Award scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.
Professor Schmidt’s research focus on the future of shelf ecosystems in a warmer, more acidic ocean. The ocean serves us in many ways, from regulating climate to providing food, livelihood and recreation. These services are increasingly affected by a growing number of environmental drivers. Crucially, shelf-sea benthic ecosystems, among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and an important source of protein, are thought to be most sensitive to climate change. These ecosystems depend on so-called ‘engineers’, such as mussels and coralline algae, which have a 3D structure that provides habitats for other organisms.
The project will investigate whether climate change in the past 100 years had an effect on the skeletal structure of shelf organisms, and whether altered structure are more prone to breakage, thereby compromising future habitats. The outcome will be crucial for predicting how marine ecosystems will evolve over the course of this century and will provide strategies for management of coastal habitats to limit the impact of climate change.