Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University

Promoting research across the Science and Technology Department

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Plastic Parsnip Peril at Sainsbury’s and Tesco

Both Sainsbury’s (Wareham store) and Tesco (Fleetsbridge store) are charging people more for not having their veg wrapped in single-use plastic bags, as seen in the photo. Recent research has shown that Britain’s leading supermarkets create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waster every year. Top supermarket chains have to declare the amount of plastic packaging they sell to consumers and whether they would commit to a plastic free aisle in their stores.

People are becoming increasingly aware of how plastic is endangering life on our planet, both on the land and in the sea. Soon there will be more plastic than life in the sea. A National Awareness day is part of the answer; a day on which all anti-plastic in the sea organisations could come together to maximise awareness. Sign the petition now to show your support to reduce plastics!: Introduce a national awareness day specifically against plastic in our seas.

 

Marine Life of Poole Bay event at Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head visitor centre will be hosting a free presentation on the 3rd February, 19:00-20:30, showcasing the diverse marine life within Poole Bay. This event will display footage collected through Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) surveys conducted over the past 3 years. The presentation will also discuss the impacts artificial structures such as coastal defences (seawalls, groynes, breakwaters) can have on marine life and showcase ways in which we can improve the habitats provided for marine life on artificial structures.

PhD researcher Alice Hall from Bournemouth University who studies the ecology and enhancement of artificial structures. She has spent the last 3 years researching the marine life associated with artificial structures on the south coast of England and will be showcasing some of her work at the presentation.

 

 

Booking is essential – please call 01202 451618 to reserve your place.

LES undergraduate receives grant for the restoration of marine protected area in Bali

A second year Environmental Science student at Bournemouth University has received funding from the prestigious Society of Conservation Biology to continue his placement work into the restoration and protection of the marine environment on the Indonesian Island of Bali.

Zach Boakes has successfully co-founded an NGO with Balinese locals and established a marine protected area, designed to help with the problems of pollution and overfishing. Some of this work has involved the construction of artificial sections of reef (pictured), designed to restore structural complexity and encourage recruitment of coral, fish and other marine organisms.

The funding will allow us to create 50 more artificial reef sections and to help restore the area to how it was before it became so damaged. The project is ongoing and volunteers continue to monitor the reef and contributing to the education of the local community.

New Ichthyosaur Display at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Photo credit: Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre will be opening a new display (14th January 2018) of the incredible ichthyosaur that starred in the BBC documentary ‘Attenborough and the Sea Dragon’. The fossil was discovered by local fossil collector Chris Moore. The centre has free entry and is on the beach at Charmouth, one of the best areas to collect fossils on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.  Visit the centre and discover how the pieces of this 200 millions year old murder mystery were pieces together, and take part in guided fossil hunting walks.

Biodome carnivorous plants reveal hidden microbial diversity

Some carnivorous plants hold ‘pools’ within the plant consisting of rainwater and secreted substances such as sugars, used to lure and trap insect prey. Microscopic analysis of this fluid collected from pitcher plants (Sarracenia sp.) and bromeliads (Brocchinia sp.) growing in BU’s Biodome has revealed a rich diversity of single-celled microorganisms. These microbes, less than half a millimetre in length, are known as ciliates and distinguished by hair-like cilia that they use for locomotion and feeding.

Ciliates are incredibly important grazers, feeding on bacteria, algae and organic matter, and are a crucial part of the microecosystem within the bromeliad and pitcher plant pools, which also includes algae, bacteria and insect larvae, such as mosquitoes. In turn, they are also fed upon by mosquito larvae and copepods that also grow in such pools, playing an important role in energy transfer from microbes to animals.

One of the microbes found within the pools was the ciliate Euplotes, pictured above. © J.Dazley
Exploring Plankton Diversity in Southampton Water

Exploring Plankton Diversity in Southampton Water

Undergraduate students in the department of Life and Environmental Sciences investigated the diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton in Southampton water as part of their third-year Biological Oceanography module. Using the research vessel RV Callista at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), samples were collected at 5 locations, or “stations”, between Calshott and the Itchen River.

Environmental data was collected at each station using an array of sensors, measuring parameters such as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and oxygen concentration. Phytoplankton were collected at two depths at each site, representing deep and shallow water. Zooplankton was caught using a plankton net, with a 120µm mesh to catch zooplankton in the net. These samples were subsequently analysed back at the university.

Trawls and grab samples were also used to investigate the benthic (bottom dwelling) communities living on the seabed and to analyse the oxygen content of the sediment. Benthic animals found included starfish, fish such as gobies and flounders, cuttlefish, crabs and ‘moss animals’ (bryozoans).

Back at BU, the phyto- and zooplankton samples were analysed using microscopy. A variety of diatoms and dinoflagellates were found in the phytoplankton samples, and barnacle larvae, copepods and the larvae of marine worms were found in the zooplankton samples. Microbes too small to be seen under the microscope were counted using flow cytometry, a technique used to identify cyanobacteria and other minute cells.

The study demonstrated the great diversity of planktonic and benthic life in Southampton water, and highlighted the importance of monitoring and understanding the microscopic life of the sea since the microscopic life , as the base of the food web, is crucial in sustaining the larger and better understood forms of marine life.

British Science Association are looking for Volunteers in new Bournemouth Branch

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: British Science Association

The British Science Association are currently in the process of launching a new volunteer branch in Bournemouth, and we are looking for enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers to be part of the branch!

This is a perfect opportunity to get involved in organising innovative and exciting events which engage the public with science. If you’re interested, please use the contact link below:

Volunteer form

‘Signs of hope for the environment’ – Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has stated that he is more encouraged about the future health of the Earth. This is due to a “worldwide shift” in attitudes about concern for the natural world and the damage humans are causing.

He states “The effect human beings are having on the natural world is profound. We are having a great damaging effect. Because we are out of touch with the natural world in a way that we weren’t 2oo years ago that means most of us don’t see the effect we are having. What is more, we don’t understand the processes of the natural world, which makes natural history broadcasting of crucial importance to the future of humanity.”

Bournemouth University Life and Environmental Sciences Collaboration

Bournemouth University Life and Environmental Sciences Collaboration

Promoting Scientific Knowledge and Understanding at Bournemouth University and beyond!

Within Bournemouth University’s Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, students and staff work in partnership to collaborate new knowledge and understanding in many ways, including placements, research assistantships, conference participation and outreach events.

We often collaborate with professional practitioners and this fusion fosters potential for the work having immediate practical benefits as well as being an inspiring way to learn. A new website development showcases this collaboration work and allows you to look at the work the university does and be able to connect with the people involved.