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Prof Andrew Hirst

My research is focused on the ecology, physiology and role of aquatic organisms. I aim to explore fundamental rules and principles of biology and ecology. I often use aquatic species, as these provide exciting opportunities to gain new perspectives on universal questions on the living world. A major motivation has been to develop mechanistic approaches to understand and predict the response of organisms and ecosystems to climate change.  With on-going climate warming it is imperative that we understand and where possible mitigate associated impacts.

In developing new perspectives our methodologies include experimentation, fieldwork, conceptualisation and meta-analysis. We have experimental experience with crustaceans, jellyfish, ciliates and phytoplankton.

My publications include the first global descriptions of mortality, fecundity and growth of zooplankton; understanding the role of oxygen availability in controlling maturation size in aquatic species (apparent in the contrasting temperature-size responses and latitudinal-size patterns of air- and water-breathing ectotherms); and derivation of the equations used to measure growth and secondary production of zooplankton.

I am an Honorary Professor at the Centre for Ocean Life, Copenhagen, this is a Villum-Kahn Rasmussen Centre of Excellence, which is focused on studying life in a changing ocean.

Currently I hold a University of Tokyo Professorial Fellowship, and am working at the Atmosphere and Oceans Research Institute in Japan until April 2020.


Aquatic ecosystems have a profound impact on humankind and the biosphere, and can provide critical insight into biological questions. Using marine and freshwater organisms our research aims to mechanistically understand and predict rules of physiology and ecology. We examine physiology, vital rates and ocean biogeochemistry, including assessing the impacts of climate change. In our work we use diverse approaches including meta-analysis, experimentation, fieldwork and modelling.

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