Coastal soft-sediment habitats are regularly disturbed by a variety of natural processes and human activities, and the effects of these disturbances vary with spatial and temporal scale. Such scale dependence of patterns and processes in ecological communities is receiving increased attention. Using field experiments deployed along a gradient of wind-wave exposure this project aims at investigating the interactions between spatial scale, habitat and life-history characteristics of colonising species in the recovery of soft-sediment macrofaunal communities following disturbance. At each site different sized patches (0.25-16 m2) will be defaunated and subsequent macrofaunal recovery followed over two recruitment seasons. Wave-climate, sediment transport, characteristics, and rates of dispersal of post-settlement juvenile benthic invertebrates will be monitored at the sites. This will increase our understanding of how the relative contributions of larvae, juveniles and adults are modified by changes in the spatial scale of disturbance and what the consequences are for the rates and patterns of community succession.
At the same time it will elucidate how benthic communities in contrasting habitats recover from disturbance of varying spatial extent. The aim is thus to fill an important knowledge gap on the scale dependence of colonisation and succession in marine soft-sediment systems, with implications both for ecological theory and for environmental management and protection.I believe a post doc at KMRS would provide the appropriate intellectual setting for me to not only advance my own career but also to advance theory in the area of disturbance ecology. A post doc position would provide me with a unique opportunity to develop my own research profile in Europe and mature as a scientist in a stimulating environment. Through a Marie Curie post doc position I would also get more experience in supervising, as I expect to involve students at the MSc level. Thus a post doc position would provide me with the necessary training needed for becoming a successful scientist and science leader and help me qualify for higher academic positions. The host institution would benefit from the good contacts I have made with leading scientists in the field of spatial ecology and also have access to my acquired skills in this area. KMRS would also benefit from me being actively involved in the supervision of students.