Elliott Price is an aquatic ecologist with an interest in exploring the impacts of stressors on the structure and dynamics of food webs using stable isotope and genetic biomarkers. As part of the ARISE team, Elliott is working towards his PhD looking at how contemporary climate change is affecting mesozooplankton assemblages, primarily copepods, in the Arctic Ocean, and the consequences this may have across the food web.
Project title: The impact of climate change on Arctic food webs: a molecular approach.
Supervisors: Dr Rachel Jeffreys and Dr Claire Mahaffey (University of Liverpool), Dr Rowena Stern (SAHFOS), Dr Claudia Castellani (PML)
The central hypothesis of this PhD project is that environmental change has significantly altered the size structure and feeding habits of Arctic zooplankton over the past decade. This hypothesis will be tested by using time-series (2008 to present) zooplankton samples from the northern most route of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) from Tromsø to Svalbard).
A novel dual biomarker approach will be used to determine if the food source of Arctic zooplankton has changed and if their trophic position has changed over the past decade. Molecular analysis of gut contents will be carried out to determine prey composition of zooplankton, whilst compound-specific 15N-amino acids in zooplankton will be used to estimate trophic position. This will be complimented by analysis of zooplankton species composition and abundance. Zooplankton data sets will be compared to variations in phytoplankton biomass, productivity and sea ice from remote sensing datasets giving insight into how Arctic zooplankton communities are affected by environmental change.