Imperial College London

Professor Guy Woodward - Deputy Head of Department

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Ecology







MunroSilwood Park




Research areas

My main research areas are focused on the impacts of environmental stressors - across scales in time and space and over the spectrum of organisational levels - from molecules to ecosystems.  This is primarily centred upon aquatic systems, and freshwaters in particular, but it also covers the terrestrial realm and agro-ecosystems too.  

The five major stressors I have focused on to date include:

1. Acidification 

2. Climate change

3. Land-use and habitat loss and fragmentation

4. Chemical pollutants, including biocides (e.g., antimicrobials and pesticides)

5. Invasive species

Increasingly, I am also interested in not just how these operate in isolation, but how they interact with one another and how these pressures are also then mediated through species interactions in the food web - which can lead to outcomes that cannot be predicted from trasdtional lab-based ecotoxicoilogy or biomonotoring approaches.  Examples of such "ecological surprises" include the unexpected boosting of freshwater fish production under warming; the depression of invertebrate abundance as systems recover from acidification; algal blooms triggered by pesticide spills; plus newly emerging evidence that biocide impacts are strongly contingent on the thermal regime within which they operate.  These "surprises" and non-additive effects create huge challenges for both basic and applied science, and also for policy - where such synergies and indirect effects are effectively ignored, even though they may be the dominant ways by which stressors are manifested in the real world.  Much of my work is now focused on trying to bridge the "reality gap" between traditional approaches and what is actually occurring in natural systems, with a view to developing a more predictive framework for anticipating and managing multiple stressors in a rapidly changing world.  Part of that also underpins my interest in developing a more evidence-based and informed approach to conservation, rewilding and restoration ecology - most of which is still done with little to no consideration of the ecosystem-level consequences of such interventions - which can often lead to undesirable outcomes.

Guest Lectures

Limnologia 2012 Plenary Lecture, Iberian Limnological Society, Portugal, 2012

Plant Litter Processing in Freshwaters - Plenary Lecture, PLPF, Cracow, Poland, 2011

Nordic Benthological Society - Plenary Lecture, Nordic Benthological Society, Aalborg, Denmark, 2011

Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences - Plenary Lecture, Girona, Spain, 2011

North American Benthological Society Annual Meeting - Invited Talk, NABS, Santa Fe, USA, 2010

Research Staff













Research Student Supervision

Adams,G, Developing individual-based approaches to assess size-structure in commercial fisheries

Clegg,T, Metabolic constraints on species interactions

Cotter,S, Impacts of watercress farming on chalk streams

Dossena,M, Predicting climate change impacts in complex ecosystems: a mesocosm approach

Forster,J, Metabolic constraints on zooplankton life-history

Gallo,B, Developing Molecular-Based Food Webs

Gray,C, Developing a novel network-based approach to biomonitoring

Hayes,RB, Impacts of exotic invasive crayfish in U.K. rivers


Huddart,J, River Restoration: Challenging Ecological Theory with Real-World Data

Jenkins,GB, Recovery from acidification and trout invasion of a complex stream food web

Johansson,L, Global warming and freshwater food webs

Lauridsen,RB, Consumer-resource stoichiometry in stream food webs

Layer,K, Food web responses to changing acidity in freshwaters

Lu,X, Applying Information Theory to Ecological Networks

Perkins,DM, Climate change impacts on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relations

Pichler,DE, Climate change in Icelandic geothermal streams

Samson,A, Methane as a carbon source in stream food webs

Stewart,R, Protist assemblages under simulated global warming scenarios

Thompson,M, The decline of riverflies in chalk rivers

Warren,V, Environmental warming impacts on biogeochemical cycles in freshwater mesocosms

Yvon-Durocher,G, Climate change impacts on nutrient cycling and ecosystem metabolism in mesocosms

Zhao,L, Developing Network Approaches to Bioassessment in Chinese Freshwaters