ESR 9: Niamh O'Connor

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Host institution: University of Sheffield


About me

Niamh is an Environmental Scientist holding a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of York and an MSc in Earth and Environment from Wageningen University and Research.

While studying for her MSc, Niamh developed an interest in environmental modelling and the field of environmental risk conducting both her internship and thesis work in the Environmental Risk Assessment group at Wageningen Environmental Research. Her Master thesis, in collaboration with the University of Kiel, looked at the ecological risk of herbicides in the Kielstau watershed: modelling the effect time-variable exposure to herbicides on lemna spp. (duckweed) growth with scenarios of differing environmental conditions.

Niamh is enrolled as a PhD ESR in the Department of Plant and Animal Science at the University of Sheffield. Her Research within the PRORISK project focusses on linking individual and community level effects.


Project title: Linking individual and community level effects

Use energy-budget, population and food-web models to extrapolate chemical-induced changes in feeding rate to population and community-level responses that underpin key ecosystem functions and service.
Identify effect thresholds for each level of biological organization.
Apply modelling framework to case study chemicals.

Expected results:

Empirical evidence of individual-based threshold effect levels for study chemicals.
Application of energy-budget and population models to translate individual-level effects to changes in populations.
Relationships between individual-level effects and community processes and response to chemical exposure.
Understanding of how chemical-induced effects on the feeding rate translates into changes in population growth and community-level processes and the ecosystem functions and services they drive.
Elucidation of the association between individual-level physiological responses and changes in molecular markers (with ESR7).
Inter-specific comparison of the translation function linking individual-level effects and population-level responses (with ESR10).

Place: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Planned secondments:
RIVM, M19, 1 month, learn about trait-based approaches
AU, M25, 2 months, to collaborate with ESR10
EI, M30, 1 month, field methods and exposure assessment
Work packages: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)

Lorraine Maltby, USFD
Philip Warren, USFD

Host institution and enrolment:

University of Sheffield