Cornelia Simon NutbrownHeriot-Watt University · School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
Cornelia Simon Nutbrown
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Cornelia is based at the Lyell Center for Earth and Marine Science Technology in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. She is a PhD student researching 'Genetics, physiology and modeling to improve marine ecosystem conservation' in association with Royal Botanic Gardens and Scottish Natural Heritage. She is funded by the NERC iCASE Partnership and supervised by Dr. Heidi Burdett, Profs. Pete Hollingsworth, John Baxter and Teresa Fernandes. Her research interests include using molecular and genetic techniques to inform conservation strategy.
Maerl beds are vital habitats for a diverse array of marine species across trophic levels, but they are increasingly threatened by human activities and climate change. Furthermore, little is known about the genetic diversity of maerl‐forming species and the population structure of maerl beds, both of which are important for understanding the abilit...
Fjordic systems in temperate and Arctic regions often feature extensive kelp forests at their shallow coastal margins as well as extensive terrestrial forests. Detrital export from these shallow-water and terrestrial ecosystems is an important source of carbon for deep-sea communities in the form of kelp and wood falls. Benthic landers with experim...
Anthropogenic climate change presents a major challenge to coastal ecosystems. Mass population declines or geographic shifts in species ranges are expected to occur, potentially leading to wide-scale ecosystem disruption or collapse. This is particularly important for habitat-forming species such as free-living non-geniculate coralline algae that a...
Maerl beds are accretions of coralline red algae which are an important ecosystem both economically- for example in the support of fish stocks, and ecologically- providing an important habitat for many species and as a source of blue carbon. Despite all known maerl beds being classified as 'Endangered' or 'Vulnerable' and being listed as UK BAP Priority Habitat by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the west coast of Scotland is a stronghold for maerl. This project aims to combine the use of genetics, physiology and modelling to improve the knowledge base for maerl beds with the ultimate aim of informing maerl bed conservation strategies. Information such as full habitat distribution, carbon sequestration capabilities and genetic connectivity of the beds will all be of great use in determining effective conservation strategies. The project will use a combination of laboratory, field and aquarium experiments to achieve these aims.