To date, much research into hydrothermal vent ecology has focussed on: microbiology; spatial and temporal changes in vent communities; biogeography; and taxonomy-based vent diversity patterns. Using a functional approach to this environment, my PhD research aims to tackle questions about vent ecosystem function and the vulnerability of vents in a new way.
We will consider the functional traits of vent species (features that affect a species’ performance or role within its environment, as well as its influence on the environment itself) to map functional diversity across a range of spatiotemporal scales and to identify the most suitable areas for conservation, to promote healthy, diverse vent populations.
My research is supported by the University of Southampton and the NERC-funded SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Partnership.
I am also co-Principal Investigator of the sFDvent working group funded by the Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences (sDiv) to compile a global database of the functional traits of hydrothermal vent fauna (https://www.idiv.de/sdiv/working_groups/wg_pool/sfdvent.html).