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Academic Staff


Dr Rupert Perkins

My principle research interests are photophysiology and coastal sediment systems. I am currently working on analysis of microalgal and cyanobacterial photophysiology in estuarine and rocky shore systems, sea grass beds and stromatolites. I also am interested in coastal erosion and have a project working on sediment dynamics and concomitant nutrient fluxes in the Severn estuary. Research collaborations include:-

  • Dr Bruno Jesus, Institute of Oceanography, Lisbon, Portugal - coastal microalgal photophysiology
  • Prof. P Reid, RSMAS, Miami University - RIBS stromatolite survey project.Dr J-L. Mouget, Université du Maine, Dr S. Lefebvre, Université du Caen –-microalgal photophysiology.
  • Prof. G. Gust, TUHH, Germany coastal sediment dynamicsCCW -coastal sediment dynamics small project (CCW/Cardiff Univ. funding)
  • Dr Martin Skov, Dr Patrick Doncaster, Southampton University -rocky shore algal photophysiology and ecology.
  • Dr Bryan Spears, CEH, Edinburgh - freshwater nutrient dynamics
  • Prof. Sonny Gruber, Bimini Biological Field Station - Lemon Shark population dynamics and ecology

I am the Director of Research at Archipelagos, Institute of Marine & Environmental Research of the Aegean Sea. Leonardo and Erasmus funding has been used to fund 14 students from Cardiff University to carry out work on coastal habitat biodiversity and conservation quality for establishment of a Natura 2000 site.

Research background

My previous work included using chlorophyll fluoresecence and radiolabelled carbon to investigate estuarine microphytobenthic photophysiology and primary production; a NERC funded project working with Prof. Graham Underwood at Essex University. A high resolution imaging system, enabled analysis of individual algal cell photophysiology, in combination with conventional PAM-fluorescence methods. Patterns in primary production were investigated in Essex and in the Tagus Estuary, Portugal (in collaboration with Prof. Vanda Brotas, Lisbon).

I have also worked on estuarine sediment erosion using In-line Laser Holography, high-speed video, csm and microcosm measurements of critical stress and LTSEM; a NERC funded post doc at St Andrews University with Prof. David Paterson. This work extends upon previous studies by investigating the nature of eroded sediment using laser holography. A ruby red laser is passed through a microcosm erosion chamber in which artificial and natural sediments are eroded. The fine scale structure of the sediments is investigated using LTSEM. This combined approach gives new information on mechanisms of biogenic stabilisation by polymer secretions. This was a joint NERC project, working with Prof. Dave Paterson at St Andrews and Prof. John Watson at Aberdeen University.

I obtained a 1st class degree in Environmental Biology at Essex University and was then funded by Anglian Water to do my PhD with Dr. Graham Underwood also at Essex. Cyanobacterial blooms occurred in Alton Water reservoir, Suffolk until 1992, when the reservoir switched to a macrophyte-dominated system. Top-down (growth of Elodea, fish kill) and bottom-up (phosphorus limitation) control, were both identified as contributing to this switch.

Teaching

I am the Lecturer in marine Biosciences within the Marine Geography degree scheme and teach the following modules:-Marine Biology (as part of Life and Earth History) – Year 1Marine Ecosystems (Module Leader) Year 2Geographical Research Methods and Field skills (Module Leader) Year 2, includes local boat work around the Cardiff area and the residential field course in MaltaMarine Conservation (Module Leader) Year 3Marine Geography Greece Field Course (Module Leader) –Year 3

I also supervise placements at Archipelagos, Institute of Marine & Environmental Research of the Aegean Sea, Greece and the Bimini Biological research Station, Bimini, Bahamas.

I have completed and passed the PCUTL teaching qualification and am applying for Fellow membership to the HEA.

Funding

  • National Environment Research Council March 2010 – 77.4K GBP approx. PI supervising a NERC Ocean Acidification Directed PhD studentship in collaboration with Bristol University and Natural History Museum, London.
  • FP7 – International Research FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES: BIOVADIA (269294) – 185K EURO (10.7K to Cardiff). Co-I, work package leader regarding cell photophysiology.
  • CEFAS January 2010 – 29.3K GBP. PI supervising research on Corallina temperature response.
  • CEFAS July 2010 – 10.7K GBP. PI researching ecotoxicological effects of chlorine on Corallina macroalgae.
  • Leonardo Mobility Grant from the British Council to fund 14 student placements with Archipelagos, Institute for marine and ecological research, Aegean Sea, Greece. 54,220 Euros.
  • CEH Edinburgh PhD grant. Investigating forced recovery from eutrophication in shallow lakes. 25K GBP plus student stipend.
  • CEH Edinburgh PhD grant. Photophysiology of rocky shoreepilithic biofilms. 10K GBP (plus School NERC funding).