Paul Somerfield

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

BA (mod), PhD

About

233
Publications
101,661
Reads
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13,141
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).
Research Experience
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 (233)
Article
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
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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...
Article
Despite increased research over the last decade, diversity patterns in Antarctic deep-sea benthic taxa and their driving forces are only marginally known. Depth-related patterns of diversity and distribution of isopods and bivalves collected in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean are analysed. The data, sampled by epibenthic sledge at 40 deep...
Research
Full-text available
Method for establishing an ecological baseline of the zooplankton at Skomer Marine Nature Reserve
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 countries. A total of 257 benthic...
Poster
Full-text available
The oligotrophic oceans are characterised by extremely low nutrient concentrations which constrain the rate and extent of primary productivity. It is likely that in these systems microbial processes associated with nutrient utilisation and regeneration are very tightly coupled and that nutrient recycling is highly efficient. A characteristic featur...
Article
In a recent letter, Thomsen and Wernberg (2015) reanalyzed data compiled for our recent paper (Lyons et al. 2014). In that paper, we examined the effects of macroalgal blooms and macroalgal mats on seven important measures of community structure and ecosystem functioning, and explored several ecological and methodological factors that might explain...
Article
The abundance of ammonia-oxidising bacterial (AOB) and ammonia-oxidising archaeal (AOA) (amoA) genes and ammonia oxidation rates were compared bimonthly from July 2008 to May 2011 in 4 contrasting coastal sediments in the western English Channel. Despite a higher abundance of AOA amoA genes within all sediments and at all time-points, rates of ammo...
Article
Full-text available
The assimilation and regeneration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and the concentration of N 2 O, was investigated at stations located in the NW European shelf sea during June/July 2011. These observational measurements within the photic zone demonstrated the simultaneous regeneration and assimilation of NH + 4 , NO − 2 and NO − 3 . NH + 4 was ass...
Article
Diverse assemblages of infauna in sediments provide important physical and biogeochemical services, but are under increasing pressure by anthropogenic activities, such as benthic trawling. It is known that trawling disturbance has a substantial effect on the larger benthic fauna, with reductions in density and diversity, and changes in community st...
Article
Statutory monitoring of the fauna of the ‘mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide’ biotope complex on St Martin’s Flats, a part of the Isles of Scilly Complex Special Area of Conservation, was undertaken in 2000, 2004 and 2009. The targets set by Natural England for “characteristic biotopes” were that “composite species, abundanc...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in the net heat flux (NHF) into the ocean have profound impacts on global climate. We analyse a long-term plankton time-series and show that the NHF is a critical indicator of ecosystem dynamics. We show that phytoplankton abundance and diversity patterns are tightly bounded by the switches between negative and positive NHF over an annual c...
Article
Sublittoral macrobenthic communities in the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve (SMNR), Pembrokeshire, Wales, were sampled at 10 stations in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2009 using a Day grab and a 0.5 mm mesh. The time series is analysed using Similarities Profiles (SIMPROF) tests and associated methods. Q-mode analysis using clustering with Type 1 S...
Article
Eutrophication, coupled with loss of herbivory due to habitat degradation and overharvesting, has increased the frequency and severity of macroalgal blooms worldwide. Macroalgal blooms interfere with human activities in coastal areas, and sometimes necessitate costly algal removal programs. They also have many detrimental effects on marine and estu...
Article
Full-text available
The assimilation and regeneration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and the concentration of N2O, was investigated at stations located in the NW European shelf sea during June/July 2011. These observational measurements within the photic zone demonstrated the simultaneous regeneration and assimilation of NH4+, NO2- and NO3-. NH4+ was assimilated at...
Article
Full-text available
Sabellaria spinulosa reefs are considered to be sensitive and of high conservation status. This article evaluates the feasibility of using remote sensing technology to delineate S. spinulosa reefs. S. spinulosa reef habitats associated with the Thanet Offshore Windfarm site were mapped using high resolution sidescan sonar (410 kHz) and multibeam ec...
Data
The assimilation and regeneration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and the concentration of N2O, was investigated at stations located in the NW European shelf sea during June/July 2011. These observational measurements within the photic zone demonstrated the simultaneous regeneration and assimilation of NH4+, NO2- and NO3-. NH4+ was assimilated at...
Article
Effects of ocean acidification on the composition of the active bacterial and archaeal community within Arctic surface sediment was analysed in detail using 16S rRNA 454 pyrosequencing. Intact sediment cores were collected and exposed to one of five different pCO2 concentrations [380 (present day), 540, 750, 1120 and 3000 μatm] and RNA extracted af...
Data
Full-text available
Background: Zooplankton play an important role in our oceans, in biogeochemical cycling and providing a food source for commercially important fish larvae. However, difficulties in correctly identifying zooplankton hinder our understanding of their roles in marine ecosystem functioning, and can prevent detection of long term changes in their commun...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Zooplankton play an important role in our oceans, in biogeochemical cycling and providing a food source for commercially important fish larvae. However, difficulties in correctly identifying zooplankton hinder our understanding of their roles in marine ecosystem functioning, and can prevent detection of long term changes in their commu...
Article
Full-text available
Bioturbation, the biogenic modification of sediments through particle reworking and burrow ventilation, is a key mediator of many important geochemical processes in marine systems. In situ quantification of bioturbation can be achieved in a myriad of ways, requiring expert knowledge, technology, and resources not always available, and not feasible...