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@biology.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. 


See past lab members and visitors here

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. 


James Orr


I study how anthropogenic stressors impact the diversity, stability and functioning of ecosystems. A lot of my research focuses on the interactions between stressors (antagonism or synergism), but I am also interested in ecological networks, community dynamics and contemporary evolution

Dr Sam Macaulay


My research focuses on the effects of anthropogenic stressors associated with land use change, chemical contamination and climate change in aquatic ecosystems. I am interested in understanding how multiple stressors interact to affect ecosystem diversity and functioning.

Ramesh photo

Ramesh Wilson

PhD Student

I joined the Jackson Lab after completing a BSc at Queen Mary, University of London. My DPhil explores multiple stressor effects on global marine intertidal and benthic communities, using a combination of passive in situ and experimental methods. I am also interested in ecological policy and evidence-led litigation in aquatic and terrestrial systems.

Buntu Fanteso

PhD Student

I joined the Jackson Lab after completing an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. My research involves fieldwork in South Africa and experiments in the UK to understand the effects of multiple stressors and their interactions on aquatic ecosystems.

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.

James Evans

MBiol Student

The interacting effects of temperature and wastewater effluent on stream ecosystem processes 

Katie Driver

MBiol Student

Recruitment of intertidal communities under multiple stressors: a comparison between northern and southern hemispheres


Controlled experiments

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

We have three mesocosm facilities:

1. Oxford mesocosms: 32 large mesocosm ponds – long term experiment on warming and drought running since 2020

2. InterStressor: 128 small mesocosm ponds for short term pulsed stressor experiments

3. ExStream: 128 small transportable stream mesocosms for short term experiments

We also work with Guy Woodward and Emma Ransome at Imperial College London on a large scale mesocosm warming experiment (pictured). Read more about our current projects here.

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. Read more about our current projects here.

Recent photos


Please find our labs publications on our Oxford Biology website or Google Scholar. If you don’t have access to any of the journals, please email us and we will happily share a pdf of the paper.


Publication word cloud created here