Skip to content

Peter David Barfield

Peter David Barfield


The influence of a non-native species on habitat structure and functioning of benthic systems - case study of an introduced lugworm in the Solent.

Main Supervisor: Dr. Gordon Watson

Non-native species are considered to negatively impact biodiversity and ecosystems to a greater or lesser extent. Increasingly, this position is being challenged by ecologists. To what extent, if any, do non-native species help maintain ecosystem structure and function and thereby, support ecological resilience to future environmental change? The identified presence of a species of lugworm new to UK shores, in conjunction with native lugworm habitat, presents a unique opportunity to study the effect of a benthic non-native ecosystem engineer species on valuable (economically and in conservation terms) UK intertidal habitats.

I am based at the Institute of Marine Sciences.


I graduated from Stirling University in 1989 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biology. I specialised in marine biology and went on to get a Masters from Kings College, London in Aquatic Resource Management. I initially, worked for the National Rivers Authority (NRA) in two regions of the UK notably, as a marine biologist in the South West (the NRA later became part of the Environment Agency). Subsequently, I worked for the Oil Pollution Research Unit in Pembrokeshire, Wales; BMT Cordah Ltd in Edinburgh; and, most recently, EMU Ltd here in Portsmouth (now Fugro GB Ltd). I was also self-employed for eight years trading as ‘Sea-nature Studies’ and re-started that business when I took the decision to pursue research into marine non-native species.

During fieldwork in 2016 I found a new addition to the UK fauna which I subsequently published on in the Journal of Conchology*. The species in question was the poorly ribbed cockle, Acanthocardia paucicostata.

*Barfield, P. (2017). First evidence of the poorly ribbed cockle, Acanthocardia paucicostata (G. B. Sowerby II, 1834) in UK waters. Journal of Conchology,  42(6), 537-539. ISSN: 0022-0019.

Research Interests

Marine ecology of benthic soft sediment communities

Marine non-native species

Macro-faunal identification and molecular analysis

Habitat structure

Ecosystem function

Ecosystem services

ID: 8632857