Professor Nigel Willby

Professor & Associate Dean of Research

Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Nigel Willby

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About me

About me

I am a Professor specialising in freshwater sciences. My interests are mainly in how we can manage, restore and assess freshwater ecosystems to promote their sustainable use and ecological resilience. I have particular interests in rewilding as a passive management approach and the role of beavers as ecological engineers and a nature-based solution.

Brief Biography

  • Associate Dean for Research: 2021 -
  • Professor (Freshwater Science): 2016 -
  • Associate Professor: 2014 - 2016
  • Senior Lecturer: 2005 - 2014
  • Lecturer: 2002 - 2005
  • NERC Independent Fellow (Stirling): 1999 - 2002
  • PDRA (Glasgow): 1997 - 1999
  • Freshwater Botanist (SNH): 1996-1997
  • PDRA (Glasgow): 1994 - 1996
  • PhD (Liverpool): 1989 - 1994

Research (16)

My research is in the field of ecology and management of freshwater ecosystems, principally in the areas of biomonitoring, ecosystem restoration, ecosystem processes and macroecology. Recent external funding sources (>800K since 2000) have included NERC, Environment Agency, SEPA, SNIFFER, SNH, British Waterways and Scottish Water. Research covers a number of interlinked themes:

Trait and functional group approaches to species-environment relationships Macroecology of aquatic vegetation Evaluating biomonitoring techniques based on aquatic plants, designing WFD classification tools Assessment and impacts of invasive species Application of remote sensing to early detection of environmental change in freshwaters Regenerative behaviour of riverine vegetation in relation to landscape connectivity and disturbance. Plant palatability and tissue element concentrations in relation to grazing Biological functioning of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) Ecological effects of European beaver reintroduction

Projects

Hydro-ecological consequences of beaver reintroduction
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

Design of a lakes surveillance network for England
PI: Dr Daniel Chapman
Funded by: Environment Agency

DEVELOPMENT OF AN eDNA DATA SET TO PRODUCE A WFD COMPATIBLE CLASSIFICATION TOOL FOR LAKE FISH IN SCOTLAND
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Identifying drivers of aquatic plant invasions to quantify their risk to food security
PI:
Funded by: The Carnegie Trust

Nutrient pressures and their impacts on Aquatic Ecology
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Environment Agency

Freshwater Bio-assessment and its application in catchment management
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

Dispersal and biodiversity impacts on community assembly and ecosystem services
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

A review of Broads restoration and management: history, current condition and future recommendations and restoration feasibility studies for three broads.
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Broads Authority

Monitoring of Aquatic and Semi Aquatic macrophytes of the lochs, fluvial geomorphology, river habitat and hydrology
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Scottish Natural Heritage

Recycling Biomass to Agricultural LANd: Capitalizing on Eutrophication
PI: Dr David Oliver
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

NEA Lakes Pilot Project
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Environment Agency

DARLEQ for Lakes and Rivers
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Bowburn Consultancy

Blue Skies PhD Support V Milner Geomorphological & biological validation of river typing
PI:
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council and Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Further Development of River Macrophyte WFD Tool - River Variability Module
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Environment Agency

A Functional Perspective on Long Term Changes in Macrophyte Communities in British Lakes
PI: Professor Nigel Willby
Funded by: Broads Authority, Environment Agency and Natural England

Studentship - Research based monitoring of the channel morphology & stream ecology of the River Nith rediversion at House of Water Open Coast Coal Site near New Cumnock,
PI:
Funded by: Scottish Coal Ltd

Outputs (79)

Outputs

Article

Poikane S, Kelly MG, Varbiro G, Borics G, Eros T, Hellsten S, Kolada A, Lukacs BA, Lyche Solheim A, Pahissa Lopez J, Willby NJ, Wolfram G & Phillips G (2022) Estimating nutrient thresholds for eutrophication management: Novel insights from understudied lake types. Science of the Total Environment, 827, Art. No.: 154242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154242

Article

Wilson K, Law A, Gaywood M, Ramsay P & Willby N (2020) Beavers: The original engineers of Britain's fresh waters. British Wildlife, 31 (6), pp. 403-411. https://www.britishwildlife.com/article/volume-31-number-6-page-403-411

Article

Salgado J, Sayer CD, Brooks SJ, Davidson TA, Baker AG, Willby N, Patmore IR, Goldsmith B, Bennion H & Okamura B (2019) Connectivity and zebra mussel invasion offer short-term buffering of eutrophication impacts on floodplain lake landscape biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions, 25 (8), pp. 1334-1347. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12938

Book Chapter

Fletcher J, Willby NJ, Oliver DM & Quilliam RS (2019) Phytoremediation using Aquatic Plants. In: Shmaefsky B (ed.) Phytoremediation – In-Situ Applications. Concepts and Strategies in Plant Sciences. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030000981

Article

Poikane S, Phillips G, Birk S, Free G, Kelly MG & Willby NJ (2019) Deriving nutrient criteria to support 'good' ecological status in European lakes: An empirically based approach to linking ecology and management. Science of The Total Environment, 650 (Part 2), pp. 2074-2084. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.350

Article

O'Hare MT, Aguiar FC, Asaeda T, Bakker ES, Chambers PA, Clayton J, Elger A, Ferreira TM, Gross EM, Gunn IDM, Gurnell AM, Hellsten S, Hofstra DE, Li W, Mohr S, Puijalon S, Szoszkiewicz K, Willby N & Wood KA (2018) Plants in aquatic ecosystems: current trends and future directions. Hydrobiologia, 812 (1), pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3190-7

Article

Hilt S, Nunez MMA, Bakker ES, Blindow I, Davidson TA, Gillefalk M, Hansson L, Janse JH, Janssen ABG, Jeppesen E, Kabus T, Kelly A, Kohler J, Lauridsen TL & Willby N (2018) Response of Submerged Macrophyte Communities to External and Internal Restoration Measures in North Temperate Shallow Lakes. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9, Art. No.: 194. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00194

Article

Alahuhta J, Kosten S, Akasaka M, Auderset D, Azzella M, Bolpagni R, Bove CP, Chambers PA, Chappuis E, Ilg C, Clayton J, de Winston M, Ecke F, Gacia E & Willby N (2017) Global variation in the beta diversity of lake macrophytes is driven by environmental heterogeneity rather than latitude. Journal of Biogeography, 44 (8), pp. 1758-1769. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12978

Technical Report

Willby N, Birk S, Poikane S & van de Bund W (2014) Water Framework Directive Intercalibration Manual: Procedure to fit new or updated classification methods to the results of a completed intercalibration. European Commission. JRC Technical Reports. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/111111111/31100

Technical Report

Portielje R, Bertrin V, Denys L, Grinberga L, Karottki I, Kolada A, Krasovskiene J, Leipute G, Maemets H, Ott I, Phillips G, Pot R, Schaumburg J, Schranz C & Willby N (2014) Water Framework Directive Intercalibration Technical Report: Central Baltic Lake Macrophyte ecological assessment methods. European Commission. JRC Technical Reports. Publications Office of the European Union. http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/water-framework-directive-intercalibration-technical-report-pbLBNA26514/

Article

Lyche-Solheim A, Feld CK, Birk S, Phillips G, Carvalho L, Morabito G, Mischke U, Willby N, Sondergaard M, Hellsten S, Kolada A, Mjelde M, Bohmer J, Miler O & Pusch MT (2013) Ecological status assessment of European lakes: A comparison of metrics for phytoplankton, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates and fish. Hydrobiologia, 704 (1), pp. 57-74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1436-y

Book Chapter

Wood PJ, Gilvear D, Willby N, Robertson AL, Gledhill T & Boon P (2012) Improvements in Understanding the Contribution of Hyporheic Zones to Biodiversity and Ecological Functioning of UK Rivers. In: Boon P & Raven P (eds.) River Conservation and Management. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 159-173. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470682086.html; https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119961819.ch13

Article

Hunter P, Gilvear D, Tyler A, Willby N & Kelly A (2010) Mapping macrophytic vegetation in shallow lakes using the Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20 (7), pp. 717-727. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.1144/abstract;jsessionid=9A60C3A3A526B76FA9ABCD6D7B39D6C4.d03t03; https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.1144

Article

Jones K, Gilvear D, Willby N & Gaywood M (2009) Willow (Salix spp.) and aspen (Populus tremula) regrowth after felling by the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber): implications for riparian woodland conservation in Scotland. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 19 (1), pp. 75-87. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.981

Article

Hunter P, Tyler A, Willby N & Gilvear D (2008) The spatial dynamics of vertical migration by Microcystis aeruginosa in a eutrophic shallow lake: A case study using high spatial resolution time-series airborne remote sensing. Limnology and Oceanography, 53 (6), pp. 2391-2406. https://doi.org/10.4319/lo.2008.53.6.2391

Article

Gilvear D, Willby N, Kemp P & Large A (2008) Special issue: riverine hydroecology: advances in research and applications. Selected papers from the Tenth International Symposium on Regulated Streams, Stirling, August 2006. River Research and Applications, 24 (5), pp. 473-475. https://doi.org/10.1002/rra.1126

Book Chapter

Gilvear D, Francis R, Willby N & Gurnell A (2007) Gravel bars: a key habitat of gravel-bed rivers for vegetation. In: Habersack H, Piegay H & Rinaldi M (eds.) Gravel-Bed Rivers VI: From Process Understanding to River Restoration. Developments in Earth Surface Processes, 11. Elsevier, pp. 677-700. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0928-2025%2807%2911154-8

Book Chapter

Elger A, Barrat-Segretain M & Willby N (2006) Seasonal variability in the palatability of freshwater macrophytes: a case study. In: Caffrey J, Dutarte A A, Haury J, Murphy K & Wade P (eds.) Macrophytes in Aquatic Ecosystems: From Biology to Management: Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Aquatic Weeds, European Weed Research Society. Developments in Hydrobiology, 190. Amsterdam: Springer, pp. 89-93. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4020-5390-0_13#

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