Imperial College London

Professor Guy Woodward - Deputy Head of Department

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Ecology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

guy.woodward

 
 
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Location

 

MunroSilwood Park

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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124 results found

Jones S, Bell T, Coleman CM, Harris D, Woodward G, Worledge L, Roberts H, McElhinney L, Aegerter J, Ransome E, Savolainen Vet al., 2022, Testing bats in rehabilitation for SARS-CoV-2 before release into the wild, Conservation Science and Practice, Vol: 4, ISSN: 2578-4854

Several studies have suggested SARS-CoV-2 originated from a viral ancestor in bats, but whether transmission occurred directly or via an intermediary host to humans remains unknown. Concerns of spillover of SARS-CoV-2 into wild bat populations are hindering bat rehabilitation and conservation efforts in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Current protocols state that animals cared for by individuals who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 cannot be released into the wild and must be isolated to reduce the risk of transmission to wild populations. Here, we propose a reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR)-based protocol for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in bats, using fecal sampling. Bats from the United Kingdom were tested following suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and tested negative for the virus. With current UK and international legislation, the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection in wild animals is becoming increasingly important, and protocols such as the one developed here will help improve understanding and mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 in the future.

Journal article

Dobson B, Barry S, Maes-Prior R, Mijic A, Woodward G, Pearse WDet al., 2022, Predicting catchment suitability for biodiversity at national scales

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Biomonitoring of water quality and catchment management are often disconnected, due to mismatching scales. Great effort and money is spent each year on routine reach-scale surveying across many sites, particularly in the UK, and typically with a focus on pre-defined indicators of organic pollution to compare observed vs expected subsets of common macroinvertebrate indicator species. Threatened species are often ignored due to their rarity as are many invasive species, which are seen as undesirable even though they are increasingly common in freshwaters, especially in urban ecosystems. However, these taxa are monitored separately for reasons related to biodiversity concerns rather than for gauging water quality. Repurposing such monitoring data could therefore provide important new biomonitoring tools that can help catchment managers to directly link the water quality that they aim to control with the biodiversity that they are trying to protect. Here we used the England Non-Native and Rare/Protected species records that track these two groups of species as a proof-of-concept for linking catchment scale management of freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity to a range of potential drivers across England. We used national land use (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology land cover map) and water quality indicator (Environment Agency water quality data archive) datasets to predict the presence or absence of 48 focal threatened or invasive species of concern routinely sampled by the English Environment Agency at catchment scale, with a median accuracy of 0.81 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. A variety of water quality indicators and land-use types were useful in predictions, highlighting that future biomonitoring schemes could use such complementary measures to capture a wider spectrum of drivers and responses. In particular, the percentage of a catchment covered by freshwater was the single most

Journal article

Morris O, Barquín J, Belgrano A, Blanchard J, Bull C, Layer-Dobra K, Lauridsen R, O’Gorman E, Guõbergsson G, Woodward Get al., 2022, New strategies for sustainable fisheries management: A case study of Atlantic salmon, New strategies for sustainable fisheries management: A case study of Atlantic salmon, http://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham, Publisher: The Grantham Institute, 37

This briefing paper considers the alarming declines in fish stocks in recent years, and how holistic, integrated approaches can help manage fish stocks within biologically sustainable limits. Using Atlantic salmon as a case study, the authors highlight the challenges facing fisheries management and conservation, and the implications for policy and management.

Report

Woodward G, Morris O, Barquin J, Belgrano A, Bull C, de Eyto E, Friberg N, Guobergsson G, Layer-Dobra K, Lauridsen RB, Lewis HM, McGinnity P, Pawar S, Rosindell J, O'Gorman EJet al., 2021, Using food webs and metabolic theory to monitor, model, and manage Atlantic salmon - a keystone species under threat, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2296-701X

Populations of Atlantic salmon are crashing across most of its natural range: understanding the underlying causes and predicting these collapses in time to intervene effectively are urgent ecological and socioeconomic priorities. Current management techniques rely on phenomenological analyses of demographic population time-series and thus lack a mechanistic understanding of how and why populations may be declining. New multidisciplinary approaches are thus needed to capitalize on the long-term, large-scale population data that are currently scattered across various repositories in multiple countries, as well as marshaling additional data to understand the constraints on the life cycle and how salmon operate within the wider food web. Here, we explore how we might combine data and theory to develop the mechanistic models that we need to predict and manage responses to future change. Although we focus on Atlantic salmon—given the huge data resources that already exist for this species—the general principles developed here could be applied and extended to many other species and ecosystems.

Journal article

Kordas R, Pawar S, Woodward G, O'Gorman Eet al., 2021, Metabolic plasticity can amplify ecosystem responses to global warming

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Organisms have the capacity to alter their physiological response to warming through acclimation or adaptation, but empirical evidence for this metabolic plasticity across species within food webs is lacking, and a generalisable framework does not exist for modelling its ecosystem-level consequences. Here we show that the ability of organisms to raise their metabolic rate following chronic exposure to warming decreases with increasing body size. Chronic exposure to higher temperatures also increases the sensitivity of organisms to short-term warming, irrespective of their body size. A mathematical model parameterised with these findings shows that metabolic plasticity could account for an additional 60% of ecosystem energy flux with just +2 °C of warming. This could explain why ecosystem respiration continues to rise in long-term warming experiments and highlights the need to embed metabolic plasticity in predictive models of global warming impacts on ecosystems.</jats:p>

Journal article

Jackson MC, Pawar S, Woodward G, 2021, The temporal dynamics of multiple stressor effects: from individuals to ecosystems, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 36, Pages: 402-410, ISSN: 0169-5347

Multiple stressors, such as warming and invasions, often occur together and have nonadditive effects. Most studies to date assume that stressors operate in perfect synchrony, but this will rarely be the case in reality. Stressor sequence and overlap will have implications for ecological memory - the ability of past stressors to influence future responses. Moreover, stressors are usually defined in an anthropocentric context: what we consider a short-term stressor, such as a flood, will span multiple generations of microbes. We argue that to predict responses to multiple stressors from individuals to the whole ecosystem, it is necessary to consider metabolic rates, which determine the timescales at which individuals operate and therefore, ultimately, the ecological memory at different levels of ecological organization.

Journal article

Barneche DR, Hulatt CJ, Dossena M, Padfield D, Woodward G, Trimmer M, Yvon-Durocher Get al., 2021, Warming impairs trophic transfer efficiency in a long-term field experiment, NATURE, Vol: 592, Pages: 76-+, ISSN: 0028-0836

Journal article

Gray C, Ma A, McLaughlin O, Petit S, Woodward G, Bohan DAet al., 2021, Ecological plasticity governs ecosystem services in multilayer networks, Communications Biology, Vol: 4, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 2399-3642

Agriculture is under pressure to achieve sustainable development goals for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Services in agro-ecosystems are typically driven by key species, and changes in the community composition and species abundance can have multifaceted effects. Assessment of individual services overlooks co-variance between different, but related, services coupled by a common group of species. This partial view ignores how effects propagate through an ecosystem. We conduct an analysis of 374 agricultural multilayer networks of two related services of weed seed regulation and gastropod mollusc predation delivered by carabid beetles. We found that weed seed regulation increased with the herbivore predation interaction frequency, computed from the network of trophic links between carabids and weed seeds in the herbivore layer. Weed seed regulation and herbivore interaction frequencies declined as the interaction frequencies between carabids and molluscs in the carnivore layer increased. This suggests that carabids can switch to gastropod predation with community change, and that link turnover rewires the herbivore and carnivore network layers affecting seed regulation. Our study reveals that ecosystem services are governed by ecological plasticity in structurally complex, multi-layer networks. Sustainable management therefore needs to go beyond the autecological approaches to ecosystem services that predominate, particularly in agriculture.

Journal article

Makiola A, Compson ZG, Baird DJ, Barnes MA, Boerlijst SP, Bouchez A, Brennan G, Bush A, Canard E, Cordier T, Creer S, Curry RA, David P, Dumbrell AJ, Gravel D, Hajibabaei M, Hayden B, van der Hoorn B, Jarne P, Jones JI, Karimi B, Keck F, Kelly M, Knot IE, Krol L, Massol F, Monk WA, Murphy J, Pawlowski J, Poisot T, Porter TM, Randall KC, Ransome E, Ravigne V, Raybould A, Robin S, Schrama M, Schatz B, Tamaddoni-Nezhad A, Trimbos KB, Vacher C, Vasselon V, Wood S, Woodward G, Bohan DAet al., 2020, Key questions for next-generation biomonitoring, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2296-665X

Classical biomonitoring techniques have focused primarily on measures linked to various biodiversity metrics and indicator species. Next-generation biomonitoring (NGB) describes a suite of tools and approaches that allow the examination of a broader spectrum of organizational levels—from genes to entire ecosystems. Here, we frame 10 key questions that we envisage will drive the field of NGB over the next decade. While not exhaustive, this list covers most of the key challenges facing NGB, and provides the basis of the next steps for research and implementation in this field. These questions have been grouped into current- and outlook-related categories, corresponding to the organization of this paper.

Journal article

Archer LC, Sohistroem EH, Gallo B, Jochum M, Woodward G, Kordas RL, Rall BC, O'Gorman EJet al., 2019, Consistent temperature dependence of functional response parameters and their use in predicting population abundance, Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol: 88, Pages: 1670-1683, ISSN: 0021-8790

Global warming is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of populations: increased metabolic demands should strengthen pairwise species interactions, which could destabilize food webs at the higher organizational levels. Quantifying the temperature dependence of consumer–resource interactions is thus essential for predicting ecological responses to warming.We explored feeding interactions between different predator–prey pairs in controlled‐temperature chambers and in a system of naturally heated streams. We found consistent temperature dependence of attack rates across experimental settings, though the magnitude and activation energy of attack rate were specific to each predator, which varied in mobility and foraging mode.We used these parameters along with metabolic rate measurements to estimate energetic efficiency and population abundance with warming. Energetic efficiency accurately estimated field abundance of a mobile predator that struggled to meet its metabolic demands, but was a poor predictor for a sedentary predator that operated well below its energetic limits. Temperature effects on population abundance may thus be strongly dependent on whether organisms are regulated by their own energy intake or interspecific interactions.Given the widespread use of functional response parameters in ecological modelling, reconciling outcomes from laboratory and field studies increases the confidence and precision with which we can predict warming impacts on natural systems.

Journal article

O'Gorman EJ, Petchey OL, Faulkner KJ, Gallo B, Gordon TAC, Neto-Cerejeira J, Olafsson JS, Pichler DE, Thompson MSA, Woodward Get al., 2019, A simple model predicts how warming simplifies wild food webs, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 9, Pages: 611-616, ISSN: 1758-678X

Warming increases the metabolic demand of consumers1, strengthening their feeding interactions2. This could alter energy fluxes3,4,5 and even amplify extinction rates within the food web6,7,8. Such effects could simplify the structure and dynamics of ecological networks9,10, although an empirical test in natural systems has been lacking. Here, we tested this hypothesis by characterizing around 50,000 directly observed feeding interactions across 14 naturally heated stream ecosystems11,12,13,14,15. We found that higher temperature simplified food-web structure and shortened the pathways of energy flux between consumers and resources. A simple allometric diet breadth model10,16 predicted 68–82% of feeding interactions and the effects of warming on key food-web properties. We used model simulations to identify the underlying mechanism as a change in the relative diversity and abundance of consumers and their resources. This model shows how warming can reduce the stability of aquatic ecosystems by eroding the structural integrity of the food web. Given these fundamental drivers, such responses are expected to be manifested more broadly and could be predicted using our modelling framework and knowledge of how warming alters some routinely measured characteristics of organisms.

Journal article

Brose U, Archambault P, Barnes AD, Bersier L-F, Boy T, Canning-Clode J, Conti E, Dias M, Digel C, Dissanayake A, Flores AA, Fussmann K, Gauzens B, Gray C, Haeussler J, Hirt MR, Jacob U, Jochum M, Kefi S, McLaughlin O, MacPherson MM, Latz E, Layer-Dobra K, Legagneux P, Li Y, Madeira C, Martinez ND, Mendonca V, Mulder C, Navarrete SA, O'Gorman EJ, Ott D, Paula J, Perkins D, Piechnik D, Pokrovsky I, Raffaelli D, Rall BC, Rosenbaum B, Ryser R, Silva A, Sohlstroem EH, Sokolova N, Thompson MSA, Thompson RM, Vermandele F, Vinagre C, Wang S, Wefer JM, Williams RJ, Wieters E, Woodward G, Iles ACet al., 2019, Predator traits determine food-web architecture across ecosystems, Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 3, Pages: 919-927, ISSN: 2397-334X

Predator–prey interactions in natural ecosystems generate complex food webs that have a simple universal body-size architecture where predators are systematically larger than their prey. Food-web theory shows that the highest predator–prey body-mass ratios found in natural food webs may be especially important because they create weak interactions with slow dynamics that stabilize communities against perturbations and maintain ecosystem functioning. Identifying these vital interactions in real communities typically requires arduous identification of interactions in complex food webs. Here, we overcome this obstacle by developing predator-trait models to predict average body-mass ratios based on a database comprising 290 food webs from freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems across all continents. We analysed how species traits constrain body-size architecture by changing the slope of the predator–prey body-mass scaling. Across ecosystems, we found high body-mass ratios for predator groups with specific trait combinations including (1) small vertebrates and (2) large swimming or flying predators. Including the metabolic and movement types of predators increased the accuracy of predicting which species are engaged in high body-mass ratio interactions. We demonstrate that species traits explain striking patterns in the body-size architecture of natural food webs that underpin the stability and functioning of ecosystems, paving the way for community-level management of the most complex natural ecosystems.

Journal article

Patrick CJ, McGarvey DJ, Larson JH, Cross WF, Allen DC, Benke AC, Brey T, Huryn AD, Jones J, Murphy CA, Ruffing C, Saffarinia P, Whiles MR, Wallace JB, Woodward Get al., 2019, Precipitation and temperature drive continental-scale patterns in stream invertebrate production, Science Advances, Vol: 5, Pages: eaav2348-eaav2348, ISSN: 2375-2548

Secondary production, the growth of new heterotrophic biomass, is a key process in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that has been carefully measured in many flowing water ecosystems. We combine structural equation modeling with the first worldwide dataset on annual secondary production of stream invertebrate communities to reveal core pathways linking air temperature and precipitation to secondary production. In the United States, where the most extensive set of secondary production estimates and covariate data were available, we show that precipitation-mediated, low-stream flow events have a strong negative effect on secondary production. At larger scales (United States, Europe, Central America, and Pacific), we demonstrate the significance of a positive two-step pathway from air to water temperature to increasing secondary production. Our results provide insights into the potential effects of climate change on secondary production and demonstrate a modeling framework that can be applied across ecosystems.

Journal article

Aspin TWH, Hart K, Khamis K, Milner AM, O'Callaghan MJ, Trimmer M, Wang Z, Williams GMD, Woodward G, Ledger MEet al., 2019, Drought intensification alters the composition, body size, and trophic structure of invertebrate assemblages in a stream mesocosm experiment, Freshwater Biology, Vol: 64, Pages: 750-760, ISSN: 0046-5070

Predicted trends towards more intense droughts are of particular significance for running water ecosystems, as the loss of critical stream habitat can provoke sudden changes in biodiversity and shifts in community structure. However, analysing ecological responses to the progressive loss of stream habitat requires a continuous disturbance gradient that can only be generated through large‐scale manipulations of streamflow.In the first experiment of its kind, we used large artificial stream channels (mesocosms) as analogues of spring‐fed headwaters and simulated a gradient of drought intensity that encompassed flowing streams, disconnected pools, and dry streambeds. We used breakpoint analysis to analyse macroinvertebrate community responses to intensifying drought, and identify the taxa and compositional metrics sensitive to small changes in drought stress.We detected breakpoints for >60% of taxa, signalling sudden population crashes or irruptions as drought intensified. Abrupt changes were most pronounced where riffle dewatering isolated pools. In the remnant wetted habitat, we observed a shift to larger body sizes across the community, primarily driven by irruptions of predatory midge larvae and coincident population collapses among prey species (worms and smaller midges).Our results suggest that intense predation in confined, fragmented stream habitat can lead to unexpected changes in body sizes, challenging the conventional wisdom that droughts favour the small. Pool fragmentation might thus be the most critical stage of habitat loss during future droughts, as the point at which impacted rivers and streams begin to exhibit major shifts in fundamental food web properties.

Journal article

Sampson A, Ings N, Shelley F, Tuffin S, Grey J, Trimmer M, Woodward G, Hildrew AGet al., 2019, Geographically widespread C-13-depletion of grazing caddis larvae: A third way of fuelling stream food webs?, FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Vol: 64, Pages: 787-798, ISSN: 0046-5070

Journal article

Ma A, Lu X, Gray C, Raybould A, Tamaddoni-Nezhad A, Woodward G, Bohan DAet al., 2019, Ecological networks reveal resilience of agro-ecosystems to changes in farming management, NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, Vol: 3, Pages: 260-+, ISSN: 2397-334X

Journal article

Tiegs SD, Costello DM, Isken MW, Woodward G, McIntyre PB, Gessner MO, Chauvet E, Griffiths NA, Flecker AS, Acuna V, Albarino R, Allen DC, Alonso C, Andino P, Arango C, Aroviita J, Barbosa MVM, Barmuta LA, Baxter CV, Bell TDC, Bellinger B, Boyero L, Brown LE, Bruder A, Bruesewitz DA, Burdon FJ, Callisto M, Canhoto C, Capps KA, Castillo MM, Clapcott J, Colas F, Colon-Gaud C, Cornut J, Crespo-Perez V, Cross WF, Culp JM, Danger M, Dangles O, de Eyto E, Derry AM, Diaz Villanueva V, Douglas MM, Elosegi A, Encalada AC, Entrekin S, Espinosa R, Ethaiya D, Ferreira V, Ferriol C, Flanagan KM, Fleituch T, Shah JJF, Frainer A, Friberg N, Frost PC, Garcia EA, Lago LG, Garcia Soto PE, Ghate S, Giling DP, Gilmer A, Goncalves JF, Gonzales RK, Graca MAS, Grace M, Grossart H-P, Guerold F, Gulis V, Hepp LU, Higgins S, Hishi T, Huddart J, Hudson J, Imberger S, Iniguez-Armijos C, Iwata T, Janetski DJ, Jennings E, Kirkwood AE, Koning AA, Kosten S, Kuehn KA, Laudon H, Leavitt PR, Lemes da Silva AL, Leroux SJ, Leroy CJ, Lisi PJ, MacKenzie R, Marcarelli AM, Masese FO, Mckie BG, Oliveira Medeiros A, Meissner K, Milisa M, Mishra S, Miyake Y, Moerke A, Mombrikotb S, Mooney R, Moulton T, Muotka T, Negishi JN, Neres-Lima V, Nieminen ML, Nimptsch J, Ondruch J, Paavola R, Pardo I, Patrick CJ, Peeters ETHM, Pozo J, Pringle C, Prussian A, Quenta E, Quesada A, Reid B, Richardson JS, Rigosi A, Rincon J, Risnoveanu G, Robinson CT, Rodriguez-Gallego L, Royer TV, Rusak JA, Santamans AC, Selmeczy GB, Simiyu G, Skuja A, Smykla J, Sridhar KR, Sponseller R, Stoler A, Swan CM, Szlag D, Teixeira-de Mello F, Tonkin JD, Uusheimo S, Veach AM, Vilbaste S, Vought LBM, Wang C-P, Webster JR, Wilson PB, Woelfl S, Xenopoulos MA, Yates AG, Yoshimura C, Yule CM, Zhang YX, Zwart JAet al., 2019, Global patterns and drivers of ecosystem functioning in rivers and riparian zones, Science Advances, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2375-2548

River ecosystems receive and process vast quantities of terrestrial organic carbon, the fate of which depends strongly on microbial activity. Variation in and controls of processing rates, however, are poorly characterized at the global scale. In response, we used a peer-sourced research network and a highly standardized carbon processing assay to conduct a global-scale field experiment in greater than 1000 river and riparian sites. We found that Earth’s biomes have distinct carbon processing signatures. Slow processing is evident across latitudes, whereas rapid rates are restricted to lower latitudes. Both the mean rate and variability decline with latitude, suggesting temperature constraints toward the poles and greater roles for other environmental drivers (e.g., nutrient loading) toward the equator. These results and data set the stage for unprecedented “next-generation biomonitoring” by establishing baselines to help quantify environmental impacts to the functioning of ecosystems at a global scale.

Journal article

Aspin TWH, Khamis K, Matthews TJ, Milner AM, O'Callaghan MJ, Trimmer M, Woodward G, Ledger MEet al., 2019, Extreme drought pushes stream invertebrate communities over functional thresholds, Global Change Biology, Vol: 25, Pages: 230-244, ISSN: 1354-1013

Functional traits are increasingly being used to predict extinction risks and range shifts under long‐term climate change scenarios, but have rarely been used to study vulnerability to extreme climatic events, such as supraseasonal droughts. In streams, drought intensification can cross thresholds of habitat loss, where marginal changes in environmental conditions trigger disproportionate biotic responses. However, these thresholds have been studied only from a structural perspective, and the existence of functional nonlinearity remains unknown. We explored trends in invertebrate community functional traits along a gradient of drought intensity, simulated over 18 months, using mesocosms analogous to lowland headwater streams. We modelled the responses of 16 traits based on a priori predictions of trait filtering by drought, and also examined the responses of trait profile groups (TPGs) identified via hierarchical cluster analysis. As responses to drought intensification were both linear and nonlinear, generalized additive models (GAMs) were chosen to model response curves, with the slopes of fitted splines used to detect functional thresholds during drought. Drought triggered significant responses in 12 (75%) of the a priori‐selected traits. Behavioural traits describing movement (dispersal, locomotion) and diet were sensitive to moderate‐intensity drought, as channels fragmented into isolated pools. By comparison, morphological and physiological traits showed little response until surface water was lost, at which point we observed sudden shifts in body size, respiration mode and thermal tolerance. Responses varied widely among TPGs, ranging from population collapses of non‐aerial dispersers as channels fragmented to irruptions of small, eurythermic dietary generalists upon extreme dewatering. Our study demonstrates for the first time that relatively small changes in drought intensity can trigger disproportionately large functional shifts in stream communities, sugg

Journal article

Perkins DM, Durance I, Edwards FK, Grey J, Hildrew AG, Jackson M, Jones JI, Lauridsen RB, Layer-Dobra K, Thompson MSA, Woodward Get al., 2018, Bending the rules: exploitation of allochthonous resources by a top-predator modifies size-abundance scaling in stream food webs, Ecology Letters, Vol: 21, Pages: 1771-1780, ISSN: 1461-023X

Body mass–abundance (M‐N) allometries provide a key measure of community structure, and deviations from scaling predictions could reveal how cross‐ecosystem subsidies alter food webs. For 31 streams across the UK, we tested the hypothesis that linear log‐log M‐N scaling is shallower than that predicted by allometric scaling theory when top predators have access to allochthonous prey. These streams all contained a common and widespread top predator (brown trout) that regularly feeds on terrestrial prey and, as hypothesised, deviations from predicted scaling increased with its dominance of the fish assemblage. Our study identifies a key beneficiary of cross‐ecosystem subsidies at the top of stream food webs and elucidates how these inputs can reshape the size‐structure of these ‘open’ systems.

Journal article

Isaac NJB, Brotherton PNM, Bullock JM, Gregory RD, Boehning-Gaese K, Connor B, Crick HQP, Freckleton RP, Gill JA, Hails RS, Hartikainen M, Hester AJ, Milner-Gulland EJ, Oliver TH, Pearson RG, Sutherland WJ, Thomas CD, Travis JMJ, Turnbull LA, Willis K, Woodward G, Mace GMet al., 2018, Defining and delivering resilient ecological networks: Nature conservation in England, JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, Vol: 55, Pages: 2537-2543, ISSN: 0021-8901

Journal article

Thompson MSA, Brooks SJ, Sayer CD, Woodward G, Axmacher JC, Perkins DM, Gray Cet al., 2018, Large woody debris "rewilding" rapidly restores biodiversity in riverine food webs, JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, Vol: 55, Pages: 895-904, ISSN: 0021-8901

Journal article

Andujar C, Arribas P, Gray C, Bruce C, Woodward G, Yu DW, Vogler APet al., 2017, Metabarcoding of freshwater invertebrates to detect the effects of a pesticide spill, Molecular Ecology, Vol: 27, Pages: 146-166, ISSN: 0962-1083

Biomonitoring underpins the environmental assessment of freshwater ecosystems and guides management and conservation. Current methodology for surveys of (macro)invertebrates uses coarse taxonomic identification where species‐level resolution is difficult to obtain. Next‐generation sequencing of entire assemblages (metabarcoding) provides a new approach for species detection, but requires further validation. We used metabarcoding of invertebrate assemblages with two fragments of the cox1 “barcode” and partial nuclear ribosomal (SSU) genes, to assess the effects of a pesticide spill in the River Kennet (southern England). Operational taxonomic unit (OTU) recovery was tested under 72 parameters (read denoising, filtering, pair merging and clustering). Similar taxonomic profiles were obtained under a broad range of parameters. The SSU marker recovered Platyhelminthes and Nematoda, missed by cox1, while Rotifera were only amplified with cox1. A reference set was created from all available barcode entries for Arthropoda in the BOLD database and clustered into OTUs. The River Kennet metabarcoding produced matches to 207 of these reference OTUs, five times the number of species recognized with morphological monitoring. The increase was due to the following: greater taxonomic resolution (e.g., splitting a single morphotaxon “Chironomidae” into 55 named OTUs); splitting of Linnaean binomials into multiple molecular OTUs; and the use of a filtration‐flotation protocol for extraction of minute specimens (meiofauna). Community analyses revealed strong differences between “impacted” vs. “control” samples, detectable with each gene marker, for each major taxonomic group, and for meio‐ and macrofaunal samples separately. Thus, highly resolved taxonomic data can be extracted at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional nonmolecular methods, opening new avenues for freshwater invertebrate biodiversity monitoring and molecular ecolo

Journal article

O'Gorman EJ, Zhao L, Pichler DE, Adams G, Friberg N, Rall BC, Seeney A, Zhang H, Reuman DC, Woodward Get al., 2017, Unexpected changes in community size structure in a natural warming experiment, NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 7, Pages: 659-+, ISSN: 1758-678X

Journal article

Bohan D, Dumbrell A, Raybould A, Vacher C, Tammadoni-Nezhad A, Woodward Get al., 2017, Next-generation global biomonitoring: large-scale, automated reconstruction of ecological networks, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 32, Pages: 477-487, ISSN: 1872-8383

We foresee a new global-scale, ecological approach to biomonitoring emerging within the next decade that can detect ecosystem change accurately, cheaply, and generically. Next-generation sequencing of DNA sampled from the Earth’s environments would provide data for the relative abundance of operational taxonomic units or ecological functions. Machine-learning methods would then be used to reconstruct the ecological networks of interactions implicit in the raw NGS data. Ultimately, we envision the development of autonomous samplers that would sample nucleic acids and upload NGS sequence data to the cloud for network reconstruction. Large numbers of these samplers, in a global array, would allow sensitive automated biomonitoring of the Earth’s major ecosystems at high spatial and temporal resolution, revolutionising our understanding of ecosystem change.

Journal article

Palinkas Z, Kiss J, Zalai M, Szenasi A, Dorner Z, North S, Woodward G, Balog Aet al., 2017, Effects of genetically modified maize events expressing Cry34Ab1, Cry35Ab1, Cry1F, and CP4 EPSPS proteins on arthropod complex food webs, Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 2286-2293, ISSN: 2045-7758

Four genetically modified (GM) maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids (coleopteran resistant, coleopteran and lepidopteran resistant, lepidopteran resistant and herbicide tolerant, coleopteran and herbicide tolerant) and its non-GM control maize stands were tested to compare the functional diversity of arthropods and to determine whether genetic modifications alter the structure of arthropods food webs. A total number of 399,239 arthropod individuals were used for analyses. The trophic groups’ number and the links between them indicated that neither the higher magnitude of Bt toxins (included resistance against insect, and against both insects and glyphosate) nor the extra glyphosate treatment changed the structure of food webs. However, differences in the average trophic links/trophic groups were detected between GM and non-GM food webs for herbivore groups and plants. Also, differences in characteristic path lengths between GM and non-GM food webs for herbivores were observed. Food webs parameterized based on 2-year in-field assessments, and their properties can be considered a useful and simple tool to evaluate the effects of Bt toxins on non-target organisms.

Journal article

Yvon-Durocher G, Hulatt CJ, Woodward G, Trimmer Met al., 2017, Long-term warming amplifies shifts in the carbon cycle of experimental ponds, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 7, Pages: 209-213, ISSN: 1758-678X

Lakes and ponds cover only about 4% of the Earth’s non-glaciated surface1, yet they represent disproportionately large sources of methane and carbon dioxide2, 3, 4. Indeed, very small ponds (for example, <0.001 km2) may account for approximately 40% of all CH4 emissions from inland waters5. Understanding how greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic ecosystems will respond to global warming is therefore vital for forecasting biosphere–carbon cycle feedbacks. Here, we present findings on the long-term effects of warming on the fluxes of GHGs and rates of ecosystem metabolism in experimental ponds. We show that shifts in CH4 and CO2 fluxes, and rates of gross primary production and ecosystem respiration, observed in the first year became amplified over seven years of warming. The capacity to absorb CO2 was nearly halved after seven years of warmer conditions. The phenology of greenhouse gas fluxes was also altered, with CO2 drawdown and CH4 emissions peaking one month earlier in the warmed treatments. These findings show that warming can fundamentally alter the carbon balance of small ponds over a number of years, reducing their capacity to sequester CO2 and increasing emissions of CH4; such positive feedbacks could ultimately accelerate climate change.

Journal article

Jackson M, Weyl O, Altermatt F, Durance I, Friberg N, Dumbrell A, Piggott J, Tiegs S, Tockner K, Krug C, Leadley P, Woodward Get al., 2016, Chapter twelve - recommendations for the next generation of global freshwater biological monitoring tools, Advances in Ecological Research, Vol: 55, Pages: 615-636, ISSN: 0065-2504

Biological monitoring has a long history in freshwaters, where much of the pioneering work in this field was developed over a hundred years ago – but few of the traditional monitoring tools provide the global perspective on biodiversity loss and its consequences for ecosystem functioning that are now needed. Rather than forcing existing monitoring paradigms to respond to questions they were never originally designed to address, we need to take a step back and assess the prospects for novel approaches that could be developed and adopted in the future. To resolve some of the issues with indicators currently used to inform policymakers, we highlight new biological monitoring tools that are being used, or could be developed in the near future, which (1) consider less-studied taxonomic groups; (2) are standardised across regions to allow global comparisons, and (3) measure change over multiple time points. The new tools we suggest make use of some of the key technological and logistical advances seen in recent years – including remote sensing, molecular tools, and local-to-global citizen science networks. We recommend that these new indicators should be considered in future assessments of freshwater ecosystem health and contribute to the evidence base for global to regional (and national) assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services: for example, within the emerging framework of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Journal article

Zhao L, Moore J, O'Gorman EJ, Borett S, Tian W, Ma A, Zhang Het al., 2016, Weighting and indirect effects identify keystone species in food webs, Ecology Letters, Vol: 19, Pages: 1032-1040, ISSN: 1461-0248

Species extinctions are accelerating globally, yet the mechanisms that maintain local biodiversity remain poorly understood. The extinction of species that feed on or are fed on by many others (i.e. ‘hubs’) has traditionally been thought to cause the greatest threat of further biodiversity loss. Very little attention has been paid to the strength of those feeding links (i.e. link weight) and the prevalence of indirect interactions. Here, we used a dynamical model based on empirical energy budget data to assess changes in ecosystem stability after simulating the loss of species according to various extinction scenarios. Link weight and/or indirect effects had stronger effects on food-web stability than the simple removal of ‘hubs’, demonstrating that both quantitative fluxes and species dissipating their effects across many links should be of great concern in biodiversity conservation, and the potential for ‘hubs’ to act as keystone species may have been exaggerated to date.

Journal article

Lu X, Gray C, Brown LE, Ledger ME, Milner AM, Mondragón RJ, Woodward G, Ma Aet al., 2016, Drought rewires the cores of food webs, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 6, Pages: 875-878, ISSN: 1758-678X

Droughts are intensifying across the globe with potentially devastating implications for freshwater ecosystems. We used new network science approaches to investigate drought impacts on stream food webs and explored potential consequences for web robustness to future perturbations. The substructure of the webs was characterized by a core of richly connected species surrounded by poorly connected peripheral species. Although drought caused the partial collapse of the food webs, the loss of the most extinction-prone peripheral species triggered a substantial rewiring of interactions within the networks’ cores. These shifts in species interactions in the core conserved the underlying core/periphery substructure and stability of the drought-impacted webs. When we subsequently perturbed the webs by simulating species loss in silico, the rewired drought webs were as robust as the larger, undisturbed webs. Our research unearths previously unknown compensatory dynamics arising from within the core that could underpin food web stability in the face of environmental perturbations.

Journal article

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