Study level


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Mathematical Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Matthew Adams
Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Many ecosystems worldwide are proposed to exhibit alternative stable states due to feedback processes that keep the ecosystem in one state or the other.

A prototypical ecosystem for studying feedback processes is seagrasses, a typically submerged plant growing in shallow waters, for which 17 different feedbacks have been identified.

Early attempts at modelling multiple interacting feedbacks in seagrass ecosystems suggest that these dynamics can be extremely complex.

This project seeks to explore the complex dynamics that might arise from multiple interacting feedbacks in seagrass ecosystems, by designing ordinary and/or partial differential equation models of these feedbacks and analysing the steady states and/or temporal dynamics of the proposed model(s).

Research activities

You will meet regularly with the supervisor to brainstorm ideas, discuss your progress and receive direction on future work.

This project will involve:

  • deriving new mathematical models of ecosystems
  • developing code in MATLAB
  • communicating your work in written and oral forms.


In this project there would also be an opportunity to collaborate with and/or present results to marine ecology and environmental engineering researchers from external institutions.

Skills and experience

This project requires:

  • excellent skills in coding, especially ordinary and/or partial differential equations
  • an interest in using mathematics to address applied and/or theoretical ecology problems
  • a potential interest in working/communicating with a multidisciplinary team of researchers.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.