Catalogue of Environmental Research Expertise in Ireland

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This is an Individual Researcher Profile

Researcher Contact Details

Research Title: Prof.

Contact First Name: James

Contact Surname: Wilson

Contact Address:

Zoology Dept TCD Dublin 2 Ireland

Telephone Contact Number: 353 1 8961640

Fax Contact Number: 353 1 6778094

Email Address:

Organisation Details

Organisation Type: Higher Education Organisation

Higher Education Organisation Name: University of Dublin, Trinity College

Other Organisation Name(s) if appropriate:

Research Organisation or Company/Corporate Website:

Organisation or Individual Expertise:
Prof. Wilson\'s research interests are directed to the interactions between organisms and their environment and the implications for the short-term and long-term fitness of individuals, of populations and of ecosystems. The determination of fitness proceeds in three steps: 1. Investigations toward an understanding of the particular habitat and of the critical environmental stresses; 2. Quantification through bioenergetics and cost/benefit analysis of life strategies; 3. Construction and verification of process models and system models. The focus of these researches has been, on the system side, estuarine and coastal marine systems, and on the organism side, bivalves and particularly the Tellinidae. In estuarine and coastal systems, the major stresses are imposed by environmental factors such as temperature and salinity, and by anthropogenic factors such as the different kinds of pollution. Quality indices and bioindicators provide an integrated synopsis of the degree of perturbation, providing both scientific information as to the fitness of the target organism(s) and also the performance of management and economic strategies on the systems. As well as many articles in this area, Prof. Wilson has written a book chapter on indices; he has edited a symposium volume on Estuarine Management and Quality Assessment; he was one of the authors of the inter-governmental Irish Sea Study Group Report and he has written a book on the Biology of Estuarine Management. The most recent volume on this topic is The Intertidal Ecosystem (RIA, 2006), and he is currently writing a major review on the topic. Bioenergetics is the study of what Darwin saw as the driving force of evolution, the struggle for food. Energy acquisition and partitioning is central to the survival of individuals, of populations and ultimately of the species themselves. Bioenergetics can also quantify the short-term costs and benefits of an organism’s life strategy as well as the impact of environmental and anthropogenic stresses. Prof. Wilson has published widely on various aspects of bioenergetics, which have been used to quantify the fitness of individuals, of populations, and of systems. The models include conceptual models which are implicit in many of the ideas in the preceding two sections, but the primary focus is mathematical models which can then be developed for predictive capability. These models can be formulated, and integrated, at process level, for example oxygen consumption and metabolism, at individual and population level with energy partitioning, and at system level with energy and nutrient budgets. As well as individual articles, this philosophy forms the basis of the symposium volume edited for the Royal Irish Academy Eutrophication in Irish Waters. It also forms the basis for other mathematical treatments such as multivariate analysis or systems analysis. The systems analysis approach is also at the core of his work in Dublin Bay and on the biodiversity of the Irish Sea. Prof. Wilson is currently testing the use of bioindicators and biomarkers for the assessment of ecological quality status under the WFD and MSFD.

Organisation or Individual Expertise Keywords:
ecological quality status biomarkers evolutionary fitness bioenergetics and trophic transfers Ecological network analysis Eutrophication

National Research Funding

EPA Research Programme

This researcher or research organisation has expressed interest in the following areas:

 EPA Water Research Pillar
 Climate Change Research

Involvement in Relevant National Expert Groups

EU Research Partnerships

This researcher or research organisation has expressed interest in the following areas of EU Research Partnerships:

Climate Change

Interests indicated in the Climate Change Joint Programming Initiative

 Improving Tools for Decision-Making under Climate Change

Relevant information in relation to Participation relevant experts groups

No information specified

Details of any previous or current EU-funded projects the individual or organisation were involved in.

No information specified


Interests indicated in the Water Joint Programming Initiative

 Maintaining Ecosystem Sustainability

Details of any previous or current EU-funded projects the individual or organisation were involved in.

Experience of participation in expert groups in this area

Any relevant information in relation to Participation in WssTP or other relevant experts groups

Involvement in EU-funded research projects

Other areas of expertise:

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 website

Challenge 5 (Climate Action, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials)

This researcher or research organisation has outlined their interests in Challenge 5 as follows:

Fighting and adapting to climate change

 Assess impacts, vulnerabilities and develop innovative cost-effective adaptation and risk prevention and management measures

Sustainably managing natural resources and ecosystems

 Further our understanding of biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems, their interactions with social systems and their role in sustaining the economy and human wellbeing

Focus Areas

 Blue growth: unlocking the potential of the oceans

Societal Challenges 5 Priority Areas

This researcher/organisation has interest(s) in Societal Challenges 5 Priority Areas as outlined as follows

None specified.

Expertise in Societal Challenges 5 Cross-cutting Areas

This researcher has indicated interest(s) and expertise in Societal Challenges 5 Cross-cutting areas as follows:

No cross-cutting areas specified

Details of Participation in European Innovation Partnerships and European Technology Platforms:

The details of any ETPs or EIP this researcher/organisation have participated in or are currently participating in is outlined as follows.

No participation information provided.

Relevant EU Research Experience

Information in relation to Participation in relevant experts groups

FP7 Evaluation panels

Involvement in EU-funded research projects: Please outline details of any previous or current EU-funded projects the individual or organisation was involved in.

FP7 Aquaphage (

LIFE and COST Actions

Go to the LIFE website
Go to the COST website

Interest in LIFE subprogrammes:

 Environment and Resource Efficiency


COST Actions/LIFE programmes the researcher is currently or has participated in:

Contact the EPA:

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053-916 0600
Other EPA locations