Episode 10 – Human Interactions, Environmental Variation and Climate Change, Responsible for Altering Biodiversity, Biomass and Productivity to Marine Ecosystems
With Dr Ian Hendy
About Ian Hendy
Part-time bodybuilding champion and gym owner, senior lecturer at Portsmouth University School of Biological Sciences Ian Hendy is a professional marine conservation ecologist, whose main goal for his research is to understand how human interactions, environmental variation and climate change are responsible for altering biodiversity, biomass and productivity.
His aim is to facilitate the rewilding of marine ecosystems in an effort to restore the natural ecology, biodiversity and energy flow. Ian looks for unusual patterns within his data and strives to understand diminishing aquatic ecosystems and how best to improve, restore and manage those impacts.
Predominantly focusing on the structure and function of mangrove ecosystems, Ian is now looking at all marine based bioengineering technologies: Mangroves, as ecosystem engineers in the tropics, vs salt marsh habitats, seagrass ecosystems and kelp forests in the northern hemispheres, covering these vital habitat complexities fighting climate change, and reduce coastal erosion. Ecological and applied research, and the optimism for long term ecological biodiversity through adaptation, as well as how these ecosystems can sequester carbon but also increase coastal biodiversity around them.
Having traveled the world to study these ecosystems incorporating the odd surf trip in the tropics, Ian conducts a lot of multi-varies analysis, control-impact studies, with his research based around the understanding and study of complexities within the natural elements. Relaying back to shifting baselines, peeling back conceptions, Ian studies, measures and quantifies the health of an ecosystem’s DNA, looking at carbon content, carbon stocks and the drawdowns quantifying the productivity through habitat complexities.
Ian is now moving back to Cornwall to work in collaboration with the Eden Project on a large UK restoration project on the south coast restoring 300,000 square kms of kelp. The study looks at the spread of warm water species of kelp from the west to the east. What is fascinating to find out is that this new kelp species adapted to warmer water is bringing with it a completely new community of underwater animals and organisms. Although the regime changes are tracked, generalists species also remain.
‘John Muir, one of the world’s greatest naturalists, once said that ‘If you tug at a single thing in nature, you’ll find that it’s connected to the rest of the world.’ It’s so true, isn’t it? When one ecosystem comes back, all other vital ecosystems will just explode back to life again. I see so much optimism in science and ecology for the future.’– Dr Ian Hendy