Dr Steve Widdicombe

Dr Stephen Widdicombe Dr Steve Widdicombe is a marine benthic ecologist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) with 20 years experience in using field observations and manipulative experiments to address issues relating to benthic ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem function. He is particularly interested in quantifying the effects of disturbance on the structure, diversity and function of marine benthic communities.

Much of his recent research has concentrated on the ecological impacts of ocean acidification and elevated temperatures. Apart from ocean acidification, Steve is also involved in a number of UK and EU funded projects studying the ecological risks associated with the release of CO2 from geological storage sites.

He has regularly provided advice to UK government departments (e.g. Defra, DECC), environmental NGOs (e.g. Natural England) and has provided evidence on the ecological implications associated with geological storage of CO2 to the London Convention.

Steve currently leads the PML strategic science area Marine Life Support Systems. The research he oversees aims to develop novel approaches for measuring and describing biodiversity across a range of biological scales, investigate the relationships between biodiversity and the provision of key biogeochemical processes, and thus develop the understanding necessary to predict the impact of biodiversity change on the structure and function of marine ecosystems.

As coordinator of the benthic acidification consortium, Steve’s role will be to oversee the scientific delivery of the project. He will also carry overall responsibility for project reporting and implementing the project’s knowledge exchange plan. His main scientific interests will be in predicting ocean acidification impact on biodiversity within Objective 3. He will also participate specifically in establishing the intertidal CO2 exposure systems based at PML.

Steve is a member of the UK Ocean Acidification Programme Advisory Group, a PI in the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA), and in January 2011 he will contribute to the IPCC Workshop on Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biology and Ecosystems, taking place in Okinawa, Japan.