Paul Somerfield

Paul Somerfield
Plymouth Marine Laboratory | PML · Marine Ecology and Biodiversity

BA (mod), PhD

About

255
Publications
150,730
Reads
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16,138
Citations
Introduction
I was PI of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (www.marine-ecosystems.org.uk), which looked at how to combine data, experiments and modelling to predict changes in ecosystem services in various management scenarios. I am now PI for Theme 1.3 Biological Dynamics in a Changing Atlantic in the NERC NC “CLASS” Programme (https://projects.noc.ac.uk/class-project/science). I deliver training courses associated with Primer v7 (www.primer-e.com).
Additional affiliations
June 1991 - present
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Position
  • Ecologist
September 1986 - July 1989
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Position
  • Practical Demonstrator
September 1985 - September 1989
Trinity College Dublin
Position
  • Practical Demonstrator and Examinations Invigilator
Education
September 1985 - September 1989
Trinity College Dublin
Field of study
  • Zoology
September 1981 - May 1985
Trinity College Dublin
Field of study
  • Zoology specialising in Marine Biology

Publications

Publications (255)
Article
Background Many marine man-made structures (MMS), such as oil and gas platforms or offshore wind turbines, are nearing their ‘end-of-life’ and require decommissioning. Limited understanding of MMS decommissioning effects currently restricts the consideration of alternative management possibilities, often leaving complete removal as the only option...
Preprint
Full-text available
Results from analysis of the Southwest of England recreational blue shark (Prionace glauca) fishery from 1953-2019 are presented for the purpose of the 2020 ICCAT request for data on the species. During this period, 108731 blue sharks were captured for 56650 days fished, giving an overall CPUE of 1.02 fish/trip and representing the second largest b...
Preprint
SAR11 bacteria dominate the surface ocean and are major players in converting fixed carbon back to atmospheric carbon dioxide. The SAR11 clade is comprised of niche-specialized ecotypes that display distinctive spatiotemporal transitions. We analysed SAR11 ecotype seasonality in two long-term 16S rRNA amplicon time series representing different Nor...
Article
Full-text available
The recycling of scarce nutrient resources in the sunlit open ocean is crucial to ecosystem function. Nitrification directs ammonium (NH4+) derived from organic matter decomposition towards the regeneration of nitrate (NO3-), an important resource for photosynthetic primary producers. However, the technical challenge of making nitrification rate me...
Preprint
The highly migratory Blue Shark, Prionace glauca is a seasonal migrant to waters to the southwest of England, where it can be locally abundant. The Pat Smith database, representing a collaboration between recreational anglers and scientists, currently records 99,511 P. glauca catch and release captures by recreational anglers from 1953 to 2019. The...
Article
Biological trait analysis has become a popular tool to infer the vulnerability of benthic species to trawling-induced disturbance. Approaches using multiple traits are being developed, but their generic relevance across faunal components and geographic locations remains poorly tested, and the importance of confounding effects are poorly recognised....
Article
Full-text available
Results from analysis of the United Kingdom recreational porbeagle fishery from 1960-2020 are presented for the purpose of the 2020 ICCAT request for data on the species. During this period, 1883 porbeagle were captured in UK waters for which we have records, with captures peaking during the mid-1970s before collapsing in the late 1980s to a point...
Preprint
Full-text available
Results from analysis of the United Kingdom recreational porbeagle fishery from 1960-2020 are presented for the purpose of the 2020 ICCAT request for data on the species. During this period 1883 porbeagle were captured in UK waters for which we have records, with captures peaking during the mid-1970s before collapsing in the late 1980s to a point w...
Article
Full-text available
Marine spatial planning that addresses ocean climate-driven change (‘climate-smart MSP’) is a global aspiration to support economic growth, food security and ecosystem sustainability. Ocean climate change (‘CC’) modelling may become a key decision-support tool for MSP, but traditional modelling analysis and communication challenges prevent their br...
Article
Full-text available
K. Robert Clarke is one of the most highly regarded and highly cited scientists in the field of ecology. Over the past 45+ years, He has inspired and empowered ecological researchers all across the globe by developing novel statistical methods, creating user-friendly PRIMER software, and presenting generous, spirited, personalised workshops in mult...
Preprint
The National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) provides a long-term structure for the effective spatial management of marine activities reliant upon Ireland’s marine space and resources. This assessment was co-developed to support the ambition to enable climate-adaptive spatial management through the NMPF, supporting the sustainable use of the Irish...
Preprint
Full-text available
The recycling of scarce nutrient resources in the sunlit open ocean is crucial to ecosystem function. Ammonium oxidation, the first stage of the nitrification process, directs ammonium derived from organic matter decomposition towards the regeneration nitrate, an important resource for photosynthetic primary producers. However, the technical challe...
Article
Full-text available
Analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) is a robust non-parametric hypothesis-testing framework for differences in resemblances among groups of samples. To date, the generalisation and use of ANOSIM to analyse various 2-way nested and crossed designs with unordered or ordered factors has been described. This paper describes how the 2-way tests may be ext...
Article
Full-text available
ANOSIM (Analysis of Similarities) is a robust non-parametric hypothesis testing framework for differences in resemblances among groups of samples. The generalised ANOSIM statistic RO is defined as the slope of the linear regression of ranked resemblances from observations against ranked distances in a model describing the unordered or ordered dista...
Poster
Full-text available
Numerous marine man-made structures (MMS) are now at, or nearing, the end of their intended life but we only have a limited understanding of decommissioning and its effect on ecosystems. In the North Sea, regulations restrict decommissioning options mostly to complete removal, with little consideration of alternative management options and the envi...
Article
Full-text available
In the study of multivariate data, for example of change in ecological communities, ANOSIM is a robust non-parametric hypothesis-testing framework for differences in resemblances among groups of samples. RELATE is a non-parametric Mantel test of the hypothesis of no relationship between two resemblance matrices. Details are given of the explicit li...
Article
Full-text available
Taxonomy is more than a mere exercise of nomenclature and classification of biological diversity: it profiles the identity of species by investigating their biological and ecological traits. Taxonomy is intimately related to ecology which, in turn, cannot be a mere exercise in describing ecological patterns, but instead requires deep knowledge of s...
Article
Full-text available
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is important to the global radiative budget of the atmosphere and contributes to the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Globally the ocean represents a large net flux of N2O to the atmosphere but the direction of this flux varies regionally. Our understanding of N2O production and consumption processes in the ocean remains incomp...
Article
Full-text available
Background Numerous man-made structures (MMS) have been installed in various parts of the ocean (e.g. oil and gas structures, offshore wind installations). Many are now at, or nearing, the end of their intended life. Currently, we only have a limited understanding of decommissioning effects. In many locations, such as the North Sea, regulations res...
Article
Full-text available
Results from analysis of the United Kingdom recreational porbeagle fishery from 1960-2020 are presented for the purpose of the 2020 ICCAT request for data on the species. During this period, 1883 porbeagle were captured in UK waters for which we have records, with captures peaking during the mid-1970s before collapsing in the late 1980s to a point...
Article
Full-text available
Zooplankton monitoring in shelf seas predominantly uses nets that miss the benthic boundary layer (BBL) just above the seabed. However, this boundary between pelagic and benthic assemblages can be faunistically rich, having its own distinct hyperbenthic fauna and acting as a low-light refuge for overwintering or dielly migrating zooplankton. To com...
Article
Full-text available
Size-spectral approaches quantify the efficiency of energy transfer through food webs, but theory and field studies disagree over how changes in temperature, nutrients, and extreme weather impact on this efficiency. We address this at two scales: via 6 years of weekly sampling of the plankton size spectrum at the Plymouth L4 shelf sea site, and via...
Preprint
Full-text available
Results from analysis of the Southwest of England recreational blue shark fishery from 1998-2019 are presented for the purpose of the 2020 ICCAT request for data on the species. During this period 22287 Blue Sharks were captured during 44776.5 hours fished, giving an overall CPUE of 0.497 fish/hour. CPUE varied between 0.036-0.173 during 1998-2009,...
Article
Understanding how different drivers shape relationships between abundance and body mass (size-spectra) is important for understanding trophic and competitive interactions in food webs, and for predicting the effects of human pressures. Here, we sample seabed communities from small polychaetes (< 0.001g) to large fish (> 1kg) in the Celtic Sea to ex...
Article
The response of an ecological community to a disturbance event, and its capacity to recover, are of major interest to ecologists, especially at a time of increasing frequencies and intensities of environmental change brought about by humans. Meiofauna, a group of small-sized metazoan organisms, are an abundant and ubiquitous component of seafloor c...
Article
Full-text available
Marine heatwaves have been observed worldwide and are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity due to climate change. Such events may cause ecosystem reconfigurations arising from species range contraction or redistribution, with ecological, economic and social implications. Macrophytes such as the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus and th...
Article
Full-text available
Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities, resources and services used by scientists to perform research and support innovation. A number of EU research infrastructures [e.g. e-Science and Technology European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (LifeWatch) European Research Iinfrastructures Consortium (ERIC); The European lif...
Article
Full-text available
Effects of combined rising sea temperature and increasing sea level on coral reefs, both factors associated with global warming, have rarely been addressed. In this ~40 y study of shallow reefs in the eastern Indian Ocean, we show that a rising relative sea level, currently estimated at ~11 mm y−1, has not only promoted coral cover but also has pot...
Article
Full-text available
Macroalgae drive the largest CO 2 flux fixed globally by marine macrophytes. Most of the resulting biomass is exported through the coastal ocean as detritus and yet almost no field measurements have verified its potential net sequestration in marine sediments. This gap limits the scope for the inclusion of macroalgae within blue carbon schemes that...
Article
Full-text available
Our understanding of ecological processes that lead to ecosystem services is still evolving but ecological research aims to understand the linkages between the ecosystem and services. These linkages can affect trade-offs between different ecosystem services. Understanding these linkages, by considering multiple ecosystem services simultaneously sup...
Article
While it is recognised that the nature of the sediment is a major driver of benthic macro-infaunal community structure, it is also true that diverse environmental factors determine the distribution and composition of sediments. Among those factors are depth, tidal stress and seasonal stratification of the water column. In the Celtic Sea an area of...
Article
Although many studies have investigated the effects of disturbance and environmental drivers on marine ecosystems, comparatively few have studied their interactions. Using fuzzy coded biological traits, we compared the functional composition, diversity and evenness of benthic communities in the English Channel and in the Celtic and Irish Seas acros...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities, resources and services used by the scientific community to conduct research and foster innovation. LifeWatch ERIC has developed various virtual research environments, which include many virtual laboratories (vLabs) offering high computational capacity and comprehensive collaborative platforms that supp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities, resources and services used by the scientific community to conduct research and foster innovation. LifeWatch ERIC has developed various virtual research environments, which include many virtual laboratories (vLabs) offering high computational capacity and comprehensive collaborative platforms that supp...
Article
Full-text available
In a world of declining biodiversity, monitoring is becoming crucial. Molecular methods, such as metabarcoding, have the potential to rapidly expand our knowledge of biodiversity, supporting assessment, management, and conservation. In the marine environment, where hard substrata are more difficult to access than soft bottoms for quantitative ecolo...
Article
Full-text available
Diel vertical migration (DVM) behaviour in swarms of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superbaDana, 1850) is notoriously variable, with swarms being found at a range of depths and in different shapes, sizes, and packing concentrations throughout the day-night cycle. Because social aggregation can potentially serve the same purpose as DVM in minimising pre...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities, resources and services used by the scientific community to conduct research and foster innovation. LifeWatch ERIC has developed various virtual research environments, which include many virtual laboratories (vLabs) offering high computational capacity and comprehensive collaborative platforms that supp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Long-term series are an essential resource to assess temporal changes in biodiversity and disentangle the relative role of external and internal factors on community dynamics. In the Bay of Morlaix, benthic samples were collected at one station in a sandy community over a forty-year period (1977-2016) using the same design. During this period, the...
Preprint
Full-text available
The effects of marine ecosystem changes on ecosystem services are difficult to predict because of our limited understanding of marine food-webs, how they respond to changes in pressures, and how those changes then influence services. Biogeochemical ecosystem models do a good job of representing change in groups of organisms primarily influenced by...
Preprint
Full-text available
The effects of marine ecosystem changes on ecosystem services are difficult to predict because of our limited understanding of marine food-webs, how they respond to changes in pressures, and how those changes then influence services. Biogeochemical ecosystem models do a good job of representing change in groups of organisms primarily influenced by...
Preprint
Full-text available
Long-term series are an essential resource to assess temporal changes in biodiversity and disentangle the relative role of external and internal factors on community dynamics. In the Bay of Morlaix, benthic samples were collected at one station in a sandy community over a forty-year period (1977-2016) using the same design. During this period, the...
Article
Full-text available
We review and compare four broad categories of spatially-explicit modelling approaches currently used to understand and project changes in the distribution and productivity of living marine resources including: 1) statistical species distribution models, 2) physiology-based, biophysical models of single life stages or the whole life cycle of specie...
Article
Full-text available
Invasive ecosystem engineers (IEE) are potentially one of the most influential types of biological invaders. They are expected to have extensive ecological impacts by altering the physical-chemical structure of ecosystems, thereby changing the rules of existence for a broad range of resident biota. To test the generality of this expectation, we use...
Article
The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires member states to manage their marine ecosystems with the goal of achieving Good Environmental Status (GES) of all European Seas by 2020. Member states assess GES according to 11 descriptors set out in the MSFD, and their associated indicators. An ecosystem service approach is increasingly b...
Article
Global concern over increasing CO2 emissions, and the resultant CO2 driven temperature rises and changes in seawater chemistry, necessitates the advancement of understanding into how these changes will affect marine life now and in the future. Here we report on an experimental investigation into the effects of increased CO2 concentration and elevat...
Poster
Full-text available
Marine ecosystems provide important services and benefits to human society, and these are increasingly being considered in policy applications and management contexts. The effects of ecosystem changes, particularly on ecosystem services, are difficult to predict because of our limited understanding of marine food webs, how they respond to changes i...
Article
The ecosystem services approach is widely recognised as a concept, but more attention must be given to the development of tools to facilitate practical implementation if the approach is to become more widely used to support decision-making. A key component of natural resource management is understanding the implications of changing levels of pressu...
Book
Full-text available
The European Red List of Habitats provides an overview of the risk of collapse (degree of endangerment) of marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats in the European Union (EU28) and adjacent regions (EU28+), based on a consistent set of categories and criteria, and detailed data and expert knowledge from involved countries1. A total of 257 benthi...
Article
Non-parametric multivariate analyses of complex ecological datasets are widely used. Following appropriate pre-treatment of the data inter-sample resemblances are calculated using appropriate measures. Ordination and clustering derived from these resemblances are used to visualise relationships among samples (or variables). Hierarchical agglomerati...
Poster
Full-text available
Traditionally, marine ecosystems have been described through indices of species composition, diversity and abundance. However, such studies often result in “noisy data”, which is very difficult to interpret and draw any solid conclusions. This is because marine ecosystems are incredibly complex and dynamic. “Size spectra” based approaches have ther...
Research
Full-text available
This publication comprises a synopsis of the results from the MarBEF project (2004-2008). The success of the project was made possible by the MarBEF partner institutes and associate members.
Article
Full-text available
The Paris Conference of Parties (COP21) agreement renewed momentum for action against climate change, creating the space for solutions for conservation of the ocean addressing two of its largest threats: climate change and ocean acidification (CCOA). Recent arguments that ocean policies disregard a mature conservation research field and that protec...
Article
Full-text available
Large efforts are on-going within the EU to prepare the Marine Strategy Framework Directive’s (MSFD) assessment of the environmental status of the European seas. This assessment will only be as good as the indicators chosen to monitor the eleven descriptors of good environmental status (GEnS). An objective and transparent framework to determine whe...
Poster
Full-text available
A step change is envisaged to improve our understanding of the whole ecosystem, rather than just parts of it. A mechanism was needed to bring existing data and targeted new data together for further integration with models and ecosystem services within a common framework. The Marine Ecosystems Research Programme will provide this framework in a for...