Room: 408 Westbury Mount Phone: 01248 383846
Web: Google Scholar
I did a BSc (1st Class Hons) in marine biology with Bangor University in 1996, which followed by a PhD in mangrove ecology with Liverpool University in 2001. My postdoctoral career took me through a two year research fellowship with Lisbon University in Portugal, studying crustacean recruitment dynamics, a one year postdoc with Bangor University on phytoplankton research, and a 3 year postdoctoral fellowship with Southampton University, in which I used intertidal snails and biofilms to test model predictions related to resource distribution and habitat fragmentation. I returned to Bangor University in 2009 for a Research Lectureship, which in January 2013 led to a permanent lectureship and later a Senior Lectureship with the School of Ocean Sciences.
I am an experimental ecologist with particular interests in the ecological functioning and ecosystem services of coastal salt marshes, mangroves and seagrasses. My research focuses particularly on regulators of landscape-scale functioning, such as examining what determines the delivery of natural coastal protection and carbon sequestration by marshes and mangroves, and explaining and predicting long- and medium-term changes in marsh and mangrove area cover. I have a strong interest in the human interactions with coastal wetlands, including wellbeing associations and how ecosystem management impacts on ecosystem service delivery. My work includes fundamental experimentation with ecosystem simulations in the field and hydrological flumes, use of historical data, records and systematic observations for understanding long-term processes in coastal systems.
Marine Conservation and Resource Management
Sediment Dynamics and Morphology
I teach a series of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules, and Direct the MSc in Marine Environmental Protection with Ocean Sciences. I am an External Examiner for the Marine Biology BSc course of Swansea University.
Past and present PhD students
Mr Mark Chatting (co-supervised with Prof. Lewis le Vay) researches the landscape scale functioning of arid mangroves in Qatar and addresses the question ‘What drives mangrove existence in low rainfall regions of the world’. The research focuses on mangrove production, carbon sequestration, nutrient inwelling/outwelling and faunal composition and biomass, including fish.
Ms Mollie Duggan-Edwards (co-supervised with Prof. Stuart Jenkins) is studying the patterns and changes in salt marshes in the United Kingdom and whether marsh vulnerability can be explained by physical contextual determinants, including sea-level rise. Mollie uses a variety of techniques, from flume to field based experiments, photogrammetry and historical remote sensing images.
Mr Cai Ladd (doctoral degree pending) worked on the long-term changes in the salt marshes of Great Britain, exploring existing photographic, satellite and map records to reconstruct marsh changes over 150 years, and linking these to datasets of environmental-change, to identify the long-term causes for marsh change.
Dr Elwyn Sharps (PhD 2015) was co-supervised with Prof Jan Hiddink. Elwyn studied trade-offs between livestock grazing and saltmarsh habitat provisioning for birds.
Dr Rachel Kingham Harvey (PhD 2014) examined the impacts of livestock grazing on saltmarsh carbon stocks and the carbon cycle in Welsh and English salt marshes. She detected no impact of grazing on carbon across 23 marshes, despite strong evidence of above-ground effects.
Mr Angus Garbutt. Angus studied various aspects of saltmarsh managed realignment in the UK. Angus has worked as a professional mangrove consultant and researcher for more than 20 years; he put his PhD studies on hold in 2017 for personal reasons.
External PhD Advisory for:
Ms Kate Davison, Swansea University. Kate is studying the impact of grazing management on saltmarsh functioning, including as a habitat for pollinators.
Dr Selena Gress (PhD 2016) studied carbon storing by East African mangroves.
C-SIDE - Carbon Storage in Intertidal Environments (2018-2021). Research grant (£784,112). Funding body: NERC: NE/RO10846/1. Team: Austin W (lead), Skov MW, Barlow N, Payne R, Gehrels W, Paterson D, Burden, A, Garbutt AR, Jones ML
CoastWEB - Valuing the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and Wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards (2016-2019). Research grant (£1,077,209). Funding body: NERC: NE/N013573/1. Team: Beaumont N (lead), Skov MW, Garbutt A, and others.
RESILCOAST - Integrating ecosystem resilience into coastal planning for the persistence of natural flood protection and wetland ecosystem services (2014-2018). Research Consortia grant (£568,000). Funding body: NRN-LCEE (National Research Network for Low carbon Energy and the Environment, Wales. http://www.nrn-lcee.ac.uk/). Team involves 7 research institutions in UK and Netherlands: Skov MW (lead), Ballinger R, Beaumont N, Bouma T, Emmer L, Fowler M, Garbutt A, Griffin J, Jenkins SJ, and Lazarus E.
Arid Mangroves - Ecological function of arid mangroves (2014-2018). Research grant (£157,276 to Bangor). Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). NPRP 7-1302-1-242. Team: le Vay L (lead), Walton MEM, Skov MW, Kennedy H, Al-Maslamani IAMJ.
CESEA - Governance, trading and stores of carbon in seagrass to mangrove systems (2013-2016). Research grant (£235,000). Funding body: NERC-ESPA programme: NE/L001535/1Team: Huxham M, Skov MW, Kairo JG et al.
CBESS - A hierarchical approach to the examination of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem service flows across coastal margins (2012-2016). Consortia grant (£401,869). Funding body: NERC-BESS programme: NE/J015350/1. Team: Paterson D (lead), Skov MW, Garbutt A, Hockley N, and others.
Swahili Seas - Payment for Ecosystem services involving mangroves (2010-2014). - This project set up the world’s first carbon-trading project involving mangroves, called Mikoko Pamoja – it was the first to do this for ‘blue-carbon’ ecosystems. Research grant (£250,000). Funding body: NERC-ESPA programme: NE/I003401/1. Team: Huxham M (lead), Skov MW, Kairo JG and others.
THESEUS - Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate (2009-2014). This project had a strong emphasis on researching natural coastal protection. Zanuttigh B (lead), Hawkins SJ, Bouma TJ, and others.
CAMARV - Capacity Building for Mangrove Assessment, Restoration and Valuation in East Africa (2009-2010). Capacity-building grant with a focus on Payment for Ecosystem Services, PES (£85,000). NERC ESPA programme: NE/G008078/1. Team: Huxham M (lead), Skov MW and Kairo JG.
WINKLES - Consumer responses to habitat depletion: food-refuge interactions in periwinkles. (2004-2008). I was a postdoc on this project. We examined how resource distribution would affect populations threatened by extinction. Team: Doncaster P, Hawkins SJ, Thompson RG.
PUMPSEA - Peri-Urban Mangrove forests as filters and potential Phyto-remediators of domestic Sewage in East Africa (2004-2008). Research grant (£1.2 mill). Funding body: EU FP-6. Team: Skov MW (composed grant), Guerreiro J (lead), Paula J, et al.
Postgraduate research on Climate change and estuarine ecosystems. Estuarine species are changing their global distributions in response to emergent climate change. How will these shift in species affect the functioning of estuarine ecosystems? It is, for instance, likely that high-latitude saltmarshes will see an increase in species diversity. What will this mean to processes that regulate landscape shape, such as sediment flux and particle trapping. Will it alter the resilience to disturbance and the provision of habitat for fish and birds? Will estuarine ecosystems expand or contract as a consequence?
How resilient are mangroves to disturbance? How does change to the mangrove ecosystem, be that through forest cutting, land conversion or climate change, affect the key things that mangroves do as a system, including providing carbon storing, coastal protection, habitat for biodiversity and fisheries habitat? I welcome postgraduate research studies to address this question. Projects can be field based and/or desktop and modelling directed, and focus on any part of the world.
Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. It is, by now, clear that biodiversity is an important regulator of environmental processes, including ecosystem and landscape resilience to change. I welcome any postgraduate research studies, in particularly those of a practical and experimental nature, to investigate relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Studies that have a restoration angle to understanding how biodiversity regulates environmental processes are very welcome. The subject can be addressed for almost any intertidal or coastal ecosystem of interest.
Resilience of salt marshes or seagrass beds to environmental change. Salt marshes and seagrass beds undergo rapid changes in area cover, with both expansion and erosion recorded around the world. What causes these shifts in cover? Some are natural others are human-induced, for instance through changing the shoreline landscape. I welcome research student studies that try to understand the processes behind such changes in marsh and seagrass bed systems, and to investigate the cause for spatial variation in the resilience of these systems to change. Studies can be field based, remote sensing and/or modelling based.