Simplicity on the other side of complexity: understanding how natural ecosystems operate in a changing world

By Dr. Guy WoodwardDr. Guy woodWard

Dr. Guy Woodward from Imperial college in London gave a lecture on his rich history of research involving freshwater ecosystems. A recent study he performed focused on food web ecology and metabolic theory and guy gave us a lecture on it.

Guy was not hesitant about delving straight into his content as his lectures went from a rough introduction into freshwater ecosystems to his recent work on food web ecology and metabolic theory.

He listed the effects of introduction and removal of certain key species (Species of trout) on a freshwater habitats health. He mentioned how the information was supported by the DURESS (Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service and Sustainability) project which conducted the research to back up these statements. Here’s a link to their page for more information (


Guy used this example to explain his point on how we need to have a clearer understanding of how our ecosystems work to predict current climate change effects. Evidence indicates that the effects of climate change are already occurring, for example; there is an increase in surface water temperature across Europe and a reduction in ice-cover. To change the course of these effects and improve any negative impacts we need to, as Guy already pointed out, have a clearer level of understanding into the needs and requirements of these habitats.

My Opinion

I enjoyed this lecture as it again solidifies the fact that climate change and other factors that may alter the food chain, habitat structure or natural balance of freshwater ecosystems around the world. We must take away from this that even habitats such as these are quite delicate and require more attention.

The lecture did not alter my career path but it does increase my interest in working with local conservation’s to help protect and maintain ecosystems such as this one. Dr Guy Woodward’s work is interesting and insightful, although, I would previously have disregarded a lecture such as this one as I would have thought it was going to be boring or uninteresting. ‘I was wrong and suspect that I might be saying that quite a lot in the following blog entries.’  

Thanks for reading!



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