People > Dr Paul J. Somerfield

Dr Paul J. Somerfield


Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Paul undertakes scientific research and disseminates information through peer reviewed papers, reports, training, student supervision and other means. He has authored and co-authored >140 peer-reviewed papers (ISI h-score 44) and >10 books and book chapters. His research investigates the distribution and functioning of biodiversity, particularly through the novel integration and analysis of compiled data to understand large-scale and long-term processes, and their implications for the ways in which we understand and model systems. His work integrates research across levels of biological organization from viruses to chordates to elucidate scales, causes and consequences of variability in space and time. Currently he is PI of the INSITE2 Programme project DREAMS, researching management options for decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure, and Theme Leader for Biological Dynamics within the national capability programme CLASS. He was science coordinator and lead PI of the NERC-Defra Marine Ecosystems Research Programme ( He is recognised as an international expert on meiofauna and on the application of non-parametric multivariate analysis, providing numerous training courses (www.primer

He has been on many international and national panels, committees and working groups, including the UK Scientific Diving Advisory Committee, the UK Biodiversity Science Committee, the Royal Statistical Society’s Panel for Statistics and Environmental Change, ICES working groups on effects of climate change on benthos and biodiversity, the Council of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom and their Education, Communication and Conservation Committee, and the UK HBDSEG Benthic Group.


FutureMARES: Climate Change and Future Marine Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity

Contact: Dr Ana M Queirós

FutureMARES is examining the relations between climate change, marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. The goal of the project is to...

Other key projects

  • FutureMARES, EU H2020 (2020-2024)
  • CLASS Theme 1.3: Biological dynamics in a changing Atlantic, NERC (2018-2021)
  • MSP demonstrator for Copernicus, ESA (2018)
  • Climate Change Risks and Marine Spatial Planning in Ireland (2018-2020)
  • MECN/HBDSEG benthic time series review. Defra (2018)
  • Benthic Sampling at L4 to monitor dredge dumping. Cefas (2017-2018)
  • Flower Garden Banks NMS Consultancy. NOAA (2016)

Selected key publications

Clarke KR, Gorley RN, Somerfield PJ, Warwick, RM. 2014. Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 3rd edn. PRIMER-E, Plymouth. 256 pp.

Somerfield PJ, Warwick RM. 2013. Meiofauna Techniques. Chapter 6 in: Eleftheriou A (ed) Methods for the study of marine benthos, 4th Edn. Wiley-Blackwell Ltd, Oxford. pp 253-284

Somerfield PJ, Clarke KR. 2013. Inverse analysis in non-parametric multivariate analyses: distinguishing groups of associated species which covary coherently across samples. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 449: 261–273. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2013.10.002

Clarke KR, Somerfield PJ, Gorley RN. 2008. Testing of null hypotheses in exploratory community analyses: similarity profiles and biota-environment linkage. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 366:56-69. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2008.07.009

Nagelkerken I, Blaber S, Bouillon S, Green P, Haywood M, Kirton LG, Meynecke J-O, Pawlik J, Penrose HM, Sasekumar A, Sivasothi N, Somerfield PJ. 2008. The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marine fauna: a review. Aquat. Bot. 89:155-185. doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2007.12.007

Clarke KR, Somerfield PJ, Chapman MG. 2006. On resemblance measures for ecological studies, including taxonomic dissimilarities and a zero-adjusted Bray-Curtis measure for denuded assemblages. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 330:55-80. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2005.12.017

Other activities

  • UK Biodiversity Science Committee
  • UK Scientific Diving Advisory Committee
  • UK Biodiversity Science Committee
  • Royal Statistical Society Panel for Statistics and Environmental Change
  • ICES Working Groups on the Effects of Climate Change on Benthos and Biodiversity
  • Council of the Marine Biological Association of the UK
  • Education, Communication and Conservation Committtee of the Marine Biological Association of the UK
  • UK Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group - Benthic Subgroup