Jackson Lab
Aquatic Ecology

Jackson Lab
Aquatic Ecology

About the Lab

We are interested in how anthropogenic stressors alter aquatic environments. How do stressors, such as heatwaves, species invasions, and habitat loss interact to affect individuals, communities and entire ecosystems?

Nature is under increasing threat from anthropogenic activity – human population growth and economic development impose increasing pressure on the planet’s ecosystems. The planet is warming, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and, at the same time, habitats are being destroyed and polluted.

These stressors rarely occur in isolation, so the traditional focus on single stressors will inevitably miss key information on their interactive, and often counterintuitive, impacts. We aim to derive generalities in how aquatic ecosystems respond to multiple stressors by focusing on both multiple levels of organisation (from genes to ecosystems) and multiple scales (from laboratory experiments to field studies).

If you are interested in joining the lab, please get in touch. Prospective PhD students interested in aquatic ecology and global change biology are encouraged to apply through Oxford’s Doctoral Training Programme here. Please contact Michelle to discuss projects (michelle.jackson@zoo.ox.ac.uk). Postdoc, Technician, and Research Assistant posts will be advertised on the People section of this website. We also can support fellowship applications (NERC, Marie-Curie etc) to join the lab. 


photo (c) John Cairns

Dr Michelle C Jackson


I joined Oxford from Imperial College London in 2019. I am broadly interested in the effects that humans have on aquatic ecosystems. In particular, I am interested in how multiple stressors interact, and the implications for trophic interactions.


Adriana Mordente

PhD Student

I joined the Jackson Lab after studying at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and building up experience in Germany. My main area of interest relies on community-to-ecosystem level responses to environmental change in aquatic ecosystems. I’m particularly interested in using genomic tools for biomonitoring environmental change.

Dania Albini

Dr Dania Albini


I have a broad interest in aquatic ecology, being particularly fascinated by the effects of stressors on planktonic communities. I have worked on several projects, mainly performing ecological, chemical and physiological analysis to investigate the effects of predation, pollution and other environmental factors on plankton. 

NERC job

James Orr


James is joining the lab in March 2021

Dr Sanders Picture

Dr Phil Sanders


I joined the Jackson Lab from Queen Mary University of London where the majority of my research was based around stable isotope analysis of aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem linkage. Other research topics include paleolimnology and invasive species.

Current Projects

Geothermal Gradients as Natural Experiments in Polar Regions


Funders: NERC, Spanish Polar Authority

Advancing understanding of food web responses to global change through high-throughput flow microscopy


Funders: John Fell Fund, Wessex Water

Cumulative impacts of multiple stressors: improving temporal and biological realism


Funders: NERC


Controlled experiments

We use indoor aquaria and outdoor ‘mesocosm’ ponds to manipulate stress conditions and quantify how communities respond.

One major project – “Cumulative impacts of multiple stressors: improving temporal and biological realism” – has recently been funded by NERC (2020-2023). We are interested in how the sequence of stressor events alters their cumulative effects on river food webs. This project is in collaboration with Jocelyne Hughes, Paul Whitehead, and Rob Salguero-Gómez, all at the University of Oxford. 

We also work with Guy Woodward and Emma Ransome at Imperial College London on a large scale mesocosm warming experiment (pictured). 

Field research

Our field research spans from pole to pole. To complement our experiments (which have high control but lack realism) we measure gene to ecosystem responses across natural and anthropogenic stress gradients. For instance, we use natural geothermal temperature gradients in Antarctica to quantify how intertidal and lake communities respond to warming (pictured). In South Africa, we have a project which is investigating how stream food webs vary across land use gradients.


Study Sites

Deception Island



South Africa

Thames Catchment

United Kingdom

Disko Island



Please see here to access these publications. If you don’t have access to any of the journals, please email us and we will happily share a pdf of the paper.

*corresponding author

33. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2020) Land use and climate drive variation in stream food webs in South Africa. Functional Ecology. Online first.

32. Orr, J. et al. (2020) Towards a Unified Study of Multiple Stressors: Divisions and Common Goals Across Research Disciplines. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Accepted.

31. Novoa, A. et al. (2020) Invasion syndromes: A systematic approach for predicting biological invasions and facilitating effective management. Biological Invasions. Online first.

30. McCue, M.D. et al. (2020) Using stable isotope analysis to answer fundamental questions in invasion ecology: Progress and prospects. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. Online first.

29. Perkins, D.M. et al. (2018) Bending the rules: a widespread top-predator exploits allochthonous resources and modifies size-abundance scaling in stream food webs. Ecology Letters21: 1771-1780.

28.  Bohan, D. et al. (2018) Next Generation Biomonitoring Editorial. Advances in Ecological Research 58: xv-xviii.

27. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2017) Between-lake variation in the trophic ecology of an invasive crayfish. Freshwater Biology 62: 1501–1510.

26. Taylor, G. et al (2017) Estimating δ15N fractionation and adjusting the lipid correction equation using Southern African freshwater fishes. PLOS ONE 12: e0178047.

25. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2017) Novel and Disrupted Trophic Links Following Invasion in Freshwater Ecosystems. Advances in Ecological Research 57: 55-97.

24. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2016) Linking key environmental stressors with the delivery of provisioning ecosystem services in the freshwaters of southern Africa. Geo Geography and Environment 3: e00026.

23. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2016) Recommendations for the Next Generation of Global Freshwater Biological Monitoring Tools. Advances in Ecological Research 55: 615-636.

22. Jackson, M.C. et al. (2016) Dietary niche constriction when invaders meet natives: evidence from freshwater decapods. Journal of Animal Ecology 85: 1098-1107.

21. O’Gorman. et al. (2016) Higher trophic transfer efficiency supports greater fish production in warmer waters. Global Change Biology 22: 3206-3220.
20. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2016) Trophic overlap between fish and riparian spiders: potential impacts of an invasive fish on terrestrial consumers. Ecology and Evolution 6: 1745-1752.

19. Jackson, M.C. et al. (2016) Do non-native pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus affect the growth, diet and trophic niche breadth of native brown trout Salmo trutta? Hydrobiologia 772: 63-75.

18. Hamidan, N. at al. (2016) Diet and trophic niche of the endangered fish Garra ghorensis in three Jordanian populations. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 25: 455-464.

17. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2016) Net effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors in freshwater ecosystems: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology 22: 180-189.

16. Jackson, M.C.* (2015) Interactions among multiple invasive animals. Ecology 96: 2035-2041.

15. Tran, T.N.Q. et al. (2015) Patterns of trophic niche divergence between invasive and native fishes in wild communities are predictable from mesocosm studies. Journal of Animal Ecology 84: 1071-1080.

14. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2015) Population density modifies the ecological impacts of invasive species. Oikos 124: 880-887.

13. Bašić, T. et al. (2015) Angling baits and invasive crayfish as important trophic subsidies for a large cyprinid fish. Aquatic Sciences 77: 153-160.

12. Ruiz Navarro, A. et al. (2015) Reproductive ecology and diet of a persistent Ameiurus melas population in the UK. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 31: 201-203.

11. Jackson, M.C.* et al. (2014) Niche differentiation among invasive crayfish and their impacts on ecosystem structure and functioning. Freshwater Biology 59: 1123-1135.

10. Jackson, M.C. and Britton, J.R. (2014) Divergence in the trophic niche of sympatric freshwater invaders. Biological Invasions 16: 1095-1103.

9. Jackson, M.C. et al. (2014) Do trophic subsidies affect the outcome of introductions of a non-native freshwater fish? Freshwater Biology 58: 2144-2153.

8. Jackson, M.C. and Britton, J.R. (2013) Variations in the trophic niche overlap of invasive Pseudorasbora parva and sympatric cyprinid fishes. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 22: 654-657.

7. Jackson, M.C.* and Grey, J. (2013) Accelerating rates of freshwater invasion in the catchment of the River Thames. Biological Invasions 15: 945-951.

6. Ellis, A. et al. (2012) A Review of Present Distribution and Future Spread of Louisiana Red Swamp Crayfish in Britain; Implications for Conservation of Native Species and Habitats. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 406: 05.

5. Grey, J. and Jackson, M.C. (2012) ‘Leaves and Eats Shoots’: Direct Terrestrial Feeding Can Supplement Invasive Red Swamp Crayfish in Times of Need. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42575.

4. Jackson, M.C. et al. (2012) Population-level metrics of trophic structure based on stable isotopes and their application to invasion ecology. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31757.

3. Trimmer, M. et al. (2009) Evidence for the role of methane-derived carbon in a free-flowing, lowland river food web. Limnology & Oceanography 54: 1541-1547.

2. Britton, J.R. et al. (2009) Ligula intestinalis (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidae) in Kenya: a field investigation into host specificity and behavioural alterations. Parasitology 136: 1367-1373.

1. Britton, J.R. et al. (2009) Status, ecology and conservation of Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis, an endemic species of Lake Baringo, Kenya. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 19: 487-496.