Pavel Kratina

Senior Lecturer in Ecology

p.kratina at qmul.ac.uk

Research Interests: Climate warming, biodiversity, predation, omnivory, trophic cascades, invasive species.

Short Biography

Current Lab Members

Emma Deeks (MRes Imperial College London)

e.deeks at qmul.ac.uk

My PhD explores the trophic ecology, habitat, and survival status of the Antillean manatee in Northern Brazil. Using stable isotope analysis, I am going to assess how the diet breadths of manatees have changed through time, and how trophic feeding ecology changes along the North Brazilian coastline. Using remote sensing techniques, I am mapping the environmental variables influencing Antillean manatee distributions parametrising species distribution models. My PhD project is working in collaboration with the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity and is co-supervised by Dr. Pavel Kratina (QMUL) and Prof. Terry Dawson (KCL).

Ana Martínez-Rodríguez (MSc QMUL)

a.martinezrodriguez at qmul.ac.uk

My PhD research explores how biodegradable bioplastics impact freshwater communities and ecosystems. In particular, I’m interested how biodegradable bio-microplastics impact diets niches, gut microbiome and trophic interactions. I aim to investigate the effects of biodegradable bioplastics in the context of climate warming and eutrophication, allowing me to determine how multiple stressors impact the ecosystem structure and function. This research is funded by QMUL mini Centre for Doctoral Training and is part of the BIOdegradable Plastics as emerging Environmental Pollutants (BioPEP) multidisciplinary group. I am co-advised by Dr. Iwan Jones and Dr. Pavel Kratina.

Gabriela Zemelka (PhD Cracow University of Technology, Poland)

g.zemelka at qmul.ac.uk

My PhD focused on characterization of suspended sediment in the drinking water reservoir catchments through the development and appointment of a typical geochemical marker set (sediment fingerprints). I also defined the contamination sources of suspended sediments with the use of sediment fingerprinting approach. In the future, deployed method may support quantitative and qualitative analyzes of suspended sediment in other catchments and forecasts among others water quality and sedimentation. My postdoctoral research focuses on the project Preventing Plastic Pollution: a catchment-based approach to plastic pollution, co-advised by Dr. Ozge Eyice and Dr. Iwan Jones.

Danielle Marchant (MSc QMUL)

daniellemarchant at hotmail.co.uk

My PhD research focuses on how microplastics impact freshwater communities and ecosystems, with a specific focus on the trophic transfer of these potentially toxic pollutants. Other anthropogenic pressures, such as warming, will be incorporated into the research to determine how multiple stressors can interact and impact predation and trophic transfer in freshwater communities. The microbial communities that degrade microplastics will be of interest in this project. This research is funded by the Interreg, EU European Commission, European Regional Development Fund- Preventing plastic pollution: a catchment-based approach to plastic pollution. I am co-advised by Dr. Ozge Eyice and Dr. Iwan Jones.

Liam N. Nash (MSc QMUL)

liamnash94 at gmail.com

My PhD is exploring how aquatic-terrestrial linkages impact terrestrial arthropod communities across multiple spatial scales. Using stable isotopes, Bayesian analyses and multiple community metrics, I am tracking the flux of aquatic resources into terrestrial food webs and evaluating changes in consumer trophic and community structure. Through having a standardised method of sampling in different river catchments in Brazil and Europe, I aim to compare between temperate and tropical ecosystems. My findings will guide riparian management, and further our understanding of trophic interactions within interconnected landscapes. More details on Liam’s blog: [link] Personal website

Jens, Flick, Lowri, Curtis, Chien-Fan, Tor, Marta, Pavel (from left)

PhD and Postdoc Alumni

Orestes Gutierrez Al-Khudhairy (PhD 2021)

Orestes’ PhD research aimed to understand how foraging and predatory interactions (i.e. attack rates) are evolutionarily constrained. He mechanistically explained how predators may evolve to consume their prey whilst avoiding evolutionary suicide induced by overexploitation. He used food-web assembly models to simulate dynamics of many predators and their prey and the evolution of attack rates. The theoretical setting in which these simulations took place were designed to be as general as possible, to maximize the applicability of the mechanisms derived from them.

Mayara Pereira Neves (PhD 2020)

Characidae is a diverse family of omnivorous fishes commonly found in neotropical streams. However, the role of different ecological mechanisms that maintain diversity of these species is unknown. My PhD project studies how seasonal variation in the Iguacu basin influences the consupmption and assimilation of the food resources and hence the trophic niche breadth. Because the streams are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance, I also aim to understand the negative effects of human activities on coexistence of these omnivores and on the entire food webs. My sandwich PhD was co-funded by Brazilian Federal Foundation for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES).

Jessica Picken (PhD 2020)

The chalk streams are predominantly groundwater fed and, as a consequence, have a high base flow index. Increasing water demand and resulting abstraction from the groundwater aquifers that support chalk stream flows, coupled with reduced recharge of aquifers as a consequence of projected climate change, are prominent threats to the chalk stream ecosystems. However, the ecological implications of the potential changes in river discharge have received limited attention. Jessica’s PhD research used a large stream-scale discharge manipulation in three chalk streams within the River Itchen catchment (Hampshire, UK) to investigate the ecosystem level response to simulated drought (reduced summer discharge). Her research highlights that, despite a marked response in the recorded physical characteristics of the streams, macroinvertebrates and salmonids within these chalk streams display a remarkable resistance and resilience to short term summer discharge reduction.

Hanrong Tan (PhD 2020)

Body size is often considered a ‘master trait’ that affects many vital rates such as growth and metabolism. As metabolic rates of organisms influence various ecological processes, much research interest has been placed on understanding how metabolic rate scales with body size. My PhD investigates the factors that could explain the variations in the relationship between metabolic rate and body size. Using both aquatic and terrestrial organisms, I investigate the role of body shape and ecological factors such as lifestyle in explaining these variations. My work will test existing hypotheses and clarify the mechanisms that shape these relationships.

Jessica Marsh (PhD 2019)

Personal Website

My PhD combines field observation studies and in-river manipulation experiments to quantify the influence of a dominant lowland macrophyte, Ranunculus spp., on juvenile salmonids, both at the individual and population level. By investigating both the direct and indirect sources of Ranunculus influence (e.g. basal resources, macroinvertebrate prey assemblages, physical habitat), I aim to build a holistic picture of the role of Ranunculus in structuring lowland river habitat. These findings will contribute to strategies for promoting healthy lowland river systems and salmonid populations.

Leah Lewington-Pearce (PhD 2018)

My PhD examines the long-term responses of food webs to climate warming and species diversity loss and how these changes influence the ecosystem functioning. I am focusing on multi-trophic interactions of model zooplankton consumers feeding on diverse assemblages of phytoplankton taxa. I have received training in molecular algal techniques and phytoplankton taxonomy.

Tor Kemp (PhD 2018)

My PhD is investigating the effects of landscape fragmentation on above-below ground linkages, focusing on bat populations as the top predators. I use stable isotopes to track changes in food web architecture and stability across a fragmentation gradient. The project involves annual fieldwork at an experimental landscape in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Current position: Research Manager, Queen Mary University of London

Alumni Profile

Lowri Evans (PhD 2018)

I am taking a mechanistic approach to understanding the impact of climate change on trophic mismatch between predators and prey and on spatio-temporal distribution of marine organisms. A part of my fieldwork takes place on the RV Polarstern cruise from Germany to South Africa via Las Palmas and Cape Verde. I collect the data on physiological and functional traits related to temperature tolerances.

Current position: PostDoc, Bangor University

Jens Munk Nielsen (PostDoc 2016)

Research Interests: Aquatic ecology, stable isotopes, food web ecology, fish, plankton, marine optics, insects.

Personal Website

MSc Alumni

  • Roswitha Fiala
  • (2020) MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Thesis: The toxicity of cyanobacteria under climate warming
  • Daisy Pinn
  • (2019) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Thesis: Protozoan grazers control microbial coexistence by preferentially feeding on faster-growing bacteria
  • Current position: Microbial Analyst, Thames Water, Reading
  • Olivia McGregor
  • (2019) MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Thesis: Signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, feeding ecology: a cross habitat comparison
  • Liam N. Nash
  • (2018) MSc in Aquatic Ecology by Research
  • Thesis: Warming causes asymmetric coupling between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  • Current position: PhD student, QMUL
  • Elliott L. Price
  • (2017) MSc in Aquatic Ecology by Research
  • Thesis: Influence of catchment urbanisation on the consumption patterns and structure of stream food webs
  • Current position: PhD student, University of Liverpool
  • Tania J. Watts
  • (2017) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Thesis: The effects of microplastics and warming on the freshwater amphipod Gammarus pulex
  • Hayley Breen
  • (2016) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Thesis: Warming can disrupt plastic phenotypic responses to predation
  • Elena L. H. Martin
  • (2016) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Volunteer Project: The combined effects of body size and temperature on functional responses
  • Katherine S. Irving
  • (2015) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Thesis: Does omnivory dampen the effects of trophic cascades in freshwater ecosystems?
  • Current position: PhD student, Department of Ecosystem Research, IGB, Germany
  • Salileh S. Aleyasin
  • (2015) MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology
  • Thesis: Feeding preferences of signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) for native and invasive amphipods
  • Elvina S. Lawrence
  • (2015) MSc in Aquatic Ecology by Research
  • Thesis: Invasive and native dietary interactions, and their effects on ecosystem functioning