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Lydia Bach

Lydia Bach - PhD student

2013 - ongoing      Queen’s University Belfast: Scaling biodiversity & food webs in intertidal coastal areas      

 2008 - 2013         University of Glasgow: MSci with 1st class Honours Marine and Freshwater Biology          


Research Interests

Anthropogenic impacts threaten biodiversity, with species disappearing at rates much greater than even during mass extinction events recorded in the fossil record. Marine coastal ecosystems are highly diverse and of significant importance in terms of ecosystem processes and functions. However, these may be comprised in with anthropogenic impacts in the future.

I am interested in research investigating the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem function and services, as well as understanding the role spatial scale (a proxy for biodiversity) on topological food web properties. The body of research of the BEF relationship focuses on small spatial scales in artificial or random communities such as grassland plants or aquatic microbial systems. My research focuses on characterizing food webs in intertidal coastal areas around the UK at different spatial and temporal scales and linking food web properties to ecosystem processes and function. I am quantifying resources and patterns of energy flow at four spatial scales using data collected in Essex and Morecambe Bay mudflats, as well as in Northern Ireland.

Gaining a greater understanding of the properties of food webs in relation to spatial scale may reveal universal principles, which may enable us to understand fundamental properties of ecosystems. I have a great interest in science communication and public engagement.




April 2014: Society of Biology Engagement Award

February 2014: Sarah Emily Montgomery Scholarship

December 2013: FSBI Travel Scholarship

November 2013: Glasgow Natural History Society Grant (£400) – all of the above to attend the International Conference on Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies in Perth, Western Australia.

May 2013: Society of Biology Top Student Award of the University of Glasgow.

May 2013: Graham Kerr Memorial Award – awarded by the board of examiners at the University of Glasgow based on performance on the Marine & Freshwater course and the final examination.


Research Grants

March 2014: British Ecological Society Outreach award – Funding to engage early career artists and scientists.

September 2013: NERC Stable isotope funding (EK218-12/13) –£40 000 to analyse macrofaunal samples at the NERC stable isotope facility East Kilbride.

June 2013: University of Glasgow Egypt Marine Research Expedition - I lead a research expedition investigating the impact of human pressures on coral reefs, secured £15 000 from various NGOs, including ZSL, RGS, RSGS and Carnegie trust.


Professional Experience

Student Mentor coordinator                                                       September 2014

Coordinating PhD peer mentoring programme at the School of Life Sciences and I am mentoring eight new PhD students.

IsoEcol, Perth                                                                            August 2014: 

Attended and presented a poster at the International Stable Isotope Conference in Ecology in Perth, Western Australia.

University of Glasgow Egypt Marine Research Expedition              June-July 2013

Lead a research expedition investigating the impact of human pressures on coral reefs. environmental change.

Ontogeny of black tail morphology                                           July-September 2012

An internship from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles investigating the Ontogeny of “black tail” pathology in Brown Trout caused by Chronic Heavy Metal Toxicity at Institute of Biomedical and Animal Health of the University of Glasgow.

Work placement at the University of Western Australia              October 2011-July 2012

Assessed temporal and spatial changes in community structures of demersal fish assemblages using baited remote underwater video systems.



  • Variation in δ13C and δ15N isotopes across space and time, Coastal Ecology Workshop, St Malo, October 2014.
  • Context dependency of δ15N and δ13C in intertidal areas around the UK, invited talk organised by Prof Euan Harvey at the Fish Ecology Group, University of Western Australia, August 2014.
  • Spatial variation in food webs in intertidal areas in the UK, Invited talk organized by Prof Ross Coleman, The University of Sydney, July 2014.
  • Anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs and implications, Erasmus Darwin Barlow Conservation Reception, Zoological Society of London, August 2013


Contact Information

Mobile: +44 (0) 7551954420


Room: Queen's University Marine Laboratory, Portaferry - 208

Contact Information

Queen's University Marine Laboratory (QML)
12-13 The Strand, Portaferry
Co. Down, Northern Ireland, BT22 1PF
Phone: +44 (0)28 427 28230

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