Dr Mark Bulling

Position: Lecturer in Biological Sciences

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Biosciences

Subject area: Biological Sciences

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Lecturer in Biological Sciences

Teaching responsibilities

I'm module leader for the undergraduate modules 'Essential Practical Skills for Bioscience 1', 'Ecosystems' and 'Comparative Animal Physiology', and the MSc module 'Conservation Biology in Principle and Practice'.

Research interests

  1. A consistent theme in my research is the effects of the spatial configurations of the environment and the organisms within it, and how these impact on ecological processes and I have used a mixture of experimental and modelling approaches to this research. For example, I have used an individual-based spatial stochastic simulation that allows us to investigate how the territoriality of badger groups can affect the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Whereas my research into the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem processes has used an experimental mesocosm system which has allowed us to see how environmental heterogeneity can affect movement of individuals and lead to changes in ecosystem processes. With the increasing concern over the effects on ecosystem services with changing climatic conditions, this mesocosm system has allowed us to identify interactive effects between temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations on nutrient flux in a marine benthic environment.
  2. The continuing impact of humans on ecosystems and their consequences present a myriad of challenges that must be understood and met. A key factor in deciding on the most appropriate policy is accounting for levels of uncertainty associated with predictions. We are currently utilising the experimental data from the mesocosms to assess how variation in the data affects levels of uncertainty in predictions of levels of ecosystem process under different climatic scenarios. The management of ecosystem services involves a complex net of people and organizations over a broad range of spatial scales leading to great difficulties in deciding the most appropriate policy to adopt.
  3. Forest degradation is an often under-recognised in comparison with deforestation. I've recently collaborated with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in a study that investigated patterns of forest degradation eminating from the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam. This has led to further collaboration investigating how sampling regimes can lead to biases in biodiversity indices.


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Zoology, University of Manchester

Postgraduate qualifications

  • MSc Biological Computation, University of York

Research qualifications

  • PhD (Spatial Modelling of Plant Population Dynamics), University of Southampton

Recent publications

  • Hicks N, Bulling MT, Solan M, Murray L, Raffaelli D, White PCL, Paterson DM (in review) Impact of biodiversity-climate futures on primary production and metabolism in a marine ecosystem.Biomed Central Biology.
  • Zetsche E, Bulling MT, Witte U (in review) Permeability of intertidal sandflats: II. Effects of temporal variability on sediment metabolism.Estuarine Coastal and Self Science.
  • James PAS, Smart JCR, Smith J,Bulling MT, Beed F, Luwandagga D (in review) The Effect of Participation in the Uganda National Agricultural Advisory Service on Willingness to Pay for Extension Services. African Journal for Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Godbold, J.A., Bulling, MT., Solan, M (in press) Habitat structure mediates biodiversity effects on ecosystem properties. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
  • Ahrends A, Rahbek C, Bulling MT, Burgess ND, Lovett JC, Kindemba VW, Owen N, Fanning E, Sangu AN, Marshall AR, Mbago F, Meshak C, Hall JB, Pohill R, Mhoro BE, Marchant R (in press) Conservation and the botanist effect. Biological Conservation.
  • Ahrends A, Burgess ND, Gereau RE, Marchant R, Bulling MT, Lovett JC, Platts PJ, Kindemba VW, Owen N, Fanning E, Rahbek C (in press) Funding begets biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions
  • Maire O, Merchand J, Bulling MT, Teal L, Grémare A, Duchȇne JC, Solan M (in press) Indirect effects of non-lethal predation on bivalve activity and sediment reworking. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.
  • Ahrends A, Burgess ND, Bulling MT, Milledge SAH, Clarke GP, Lewis SL (2010) Predictable waves of forest degredation spreading from an African city. Prceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 107, 14556-14561.
  • Langenheder S, Bulling MT, Solan M, Prosser JI (2010) Bacterial biodiversity-function relations are modified by habitat complexity. PLoS ONE 5(5)
  • Bulling MT, Hicks N, Murray L, Paterson DM, Raffaelli D, White PCL, Solan M (2010) Marine biodiversity-ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.365, 2107-2116
  • Vergeer P, van den Berg LLJ, Bulling MT, Ashmore MR, Kunin WE (2008) Geographical variation in the response to nitrogen deposition in Arabidopsis lyrata petraeaNew Phytologist.
  • Bulling MT, Solan M, Dyson KE, Hernandez-Milan G, Luque P, Pierce GJ , Raffaelli DG, Paterson DM, White PCL (2008) Species effects on ecosystem processes are modified by heterogeneity. Oecologia 158, 511-520.
  • Teal LR, Bulling MT, Parker ER, Solan M (2008) Global patterns of bioturbation intensity and the mixed depth of marine soft sediments. Aquatic Biology 2, 207-218.
  • Solan, M., Batty, P., Bulling, MT, Godbold, J.A. (2008) How biodiversity affects ecosystem process: implications for ecological revolutions and benthic ecosystem function.Aquatic Biology 2: 289-301.
  • Dyson KE, Bulling MT, Solan M, Hernandez-Milian G, Raffaelli DG, White PCL, Paterson DM (2007) Influence of macrofaunal assemblages and environmental heterogeneity on microphytobenthic production in experimental systems. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 247, 2547-2554.
  • Bulling MT, White PCL, Raffaelli DG, Pierce GJ (2006) Using model systems to address the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning process. Marine Ecology Progress Series 311: 295-309.

Recent conferences

  • Hicks N, Bulling MT, Solan M, White PCL, Raffaelli D, Paterson DM (2010) Interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide, fluctuating temperatures and biodiversity on primary production in estuarine systemsOcean Sciences Meeting, Portland, Oregon.
  • Godbold J, Bulling MT, Solan M (2009) Effects of biodiversity and habitat structure on bioturbation intensity and nutrient generation. Diversitas: Biodiversity and society understanding connections, adapting to change.
  • Bulling MT, Hicks N, Murray L, Paterson DM, Raffaelli D, White PCL, Solan M (2008) Marine biodiversity-ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures. World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Valencia.
  • Godbold JA, Bulling MT, Solan M (2008) Effects of biodiversity and habitat structure on benthic ecosystem properties. World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Valencia.

Experience in industry

Research posts

  • University of York: Badgers and bovine tuberculosis: a proactive strategy for the control of bovine. August 1998 - April 2000;
  • University of York: Integrated modelling of M. bovis transmission in badgers and between badgers and. April 2000 - April 2004;
  • University of York / Aberdeen / St. Andrews: Biodiversity-ecosystem processes in heterogeneous environments. April 2004 - April 2007;
  • University of York / Aberdeen / St. Andrews: Marine biodiversity-ecosystem processes under uncertain environmental futures. April 2007 - April 2010.

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