Alan MacDonaldResearch Student
LT801 Livingstone Tower
TEL : +44 (0)141 548 3809 (Ext. 3809)
After graduating at Strathclyde University with a BSc in Mathematics I went on to complete a masters degree in Mathematics with Biological and Ecological Modelling at Heriot-Watt University, with a project on ‘Vegetation Patterns in Semi-Arid Environments’.
My work is focused on the modelling of sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) population dynamics in the North Sea. Sandeels are a vital food source for many seabirds and marine mammals, however there has recently been a marked decline in sandeel abundance . This decline in abundance has coincided with and has been implicated in higher incidences of seabird breeding failures. Previous research at Strathclyde produced a process-based spatial model, i.e. a model incorporating biological processes such as growth and reproduction. The target of the current project will be to enhance this existing model in order to test the effects of drivers such as climate change and fishing on sandeel population dynamics. The model will assist in identifying reasons for the recent decline in abundance in parts of the North Sea and forecasts will aid conservation efforts.