Mr Will Reid

My research interests lie in the structure and driving forces behind polar and deep sea communities. For the most part I’ve focused on food webs; examining stomach contents of fish to identify patterns of omnivory, ontogenetic and size based shifts in diet and resource partitioning. I’m now moving into the field of stable isotope analysis as an alternative technique to understanding some of these processes. Will Reid

Current Research

Macro-consumer food web structure of mid-ocean ridges: The fate of chemosynthetic and photosynthetic energy input at contrasting sites in the North Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

Project summary:

I am currently undertaking a PhD using stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur to investigate trophodynamics in various deep sea habitats funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC). The study areas span the entire Atlantic from the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, along with seamounts and continental slopes in the northern hemisphere to chemosynthetic environments on the Scotia Arc in the Southern Ocean. The aims of the work are to examine how different energy sources affect the trophodynamics of each of these habitats, to see whether these systems show signs of trophic size structuring and if there are habitat/ spatial differences in trophic size structuring at both species and community levels.

The PhD is part of two NERC funded consortium projects: Ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Sub-Polar Front and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (ECOMAR) and Chemosynthetically driven ecosystems south of the Polar Front (ChEsSo). The study sites for these projects are on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR), in the North Atlantic Ocean, and East Scotia Ridge (ESR), in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. The biological communities at the two study sites are driven by two different sources of energy; photosynthetic energy via bentho-pelagic coupling on the MAR and chemosynthetic energy. I have also received funding from the Census of Marine Life on Seamounts (CenSeam) to undertake further research on the deep water fish communities of the Rockall Trough and Rosemary Seamount, in collaboration with Fisheries Research Services.


Dr Ben Wigham and Prof Nick Polunin [Newcastle University]

Collaborators and web links to project pages

  • ChEsSo
  • Censeam
  • Fisheries Research Services

Grants and awards

  • Deep sea macro-consumer food web structure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge under varying primary productivity regimes (2008); NERC £11,815.20.
  • Spatial differences in size structure and niche space of a seamount and its adjacent continental slope fish community: a stable isotope approach (2009); CenSeam £1200.

Publications and reports

Ramirez-Llodra E, Reid W D K, Billett D S M (2005) Long-term changes in reproductive patterns of the holothurian Onierophanta mutabilis from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. Marine Biology 146: 683-693.

Reid W D K, Watts J, Clarke S, Belchier M, Thatje S (2007) Egg development, hatching rhythms and moult patterns in Paralomis spinosissima (Decapoda: Anomura: Paguroidea: Lithodidae) from South Georgia waters (Southern Ocean). Polar Biology 30: 1213-1218.

Reid W D K, Clarke S, Collins M A, Belchier M (2007) Distribution and ecology of Chaenocephalus aceratus (Channichthyidae) around South Georgia and the Shag Rocks (Southern Ocean). Polar Biology 30: 1523-1533.

Clarke S, Reid W D K, Collins M A, Belchier M (2008) Biology and distribution of South Georgia icefish (Pseudochaenichthys georgianus) around South Georgia and Shag Rocks. Antarctic Science 20: 343-353.

Billett DSM, Bett BJ, Reid WDK, Boorman B, Priede IG (in press) Long-term change in the NE Atlantic: The 'Amperima Event' revisited. Deep Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography