Bournemouth University MSc Student Placements South Africa Research Internship with Global Volunteers International (GVI) Working closely with a team of dedicated conservationists within the South African bushveld, I partook in conducting valuable research on the dynamics of a relatively small game reserve. This involved developing tracking skills, where dominant predators were tracked using radio telemetry, […]
Ash trees and antelopes on the brink of extinction Published on 14/09/2017 Scientists warn once-common species are disappearing faster than they can be counted as North America’s ash trees join the IUCN’s list of endangers species due to the threat of an invasive beetle species. The IUCN list now included more than 25,000 species at […]
Life and Enviromental Science research in Kenya: Sustainable Green Toilets and Wildlife Conservation Blog written by Wessex Portal Katie Thompson: “In April 2017, I visited Kenya with the charity ACEF. I worked alongside a team of engineers to develop a green toilet project at the Brainhouse Academy School, which this charity supports. The school hosts […]
Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, the British Council, in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation, will be holding a three day workshop on the above theme in the premises of the Oceanographic Research Institute, uShaka Marine World in Durban South Africa, on 19-21 June 2018. The workshop is being coordinated by Dr Luciana Esteves (Bournemouth University, UK), Prof Trevor Hill (University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA), Bronwyn Goble (Oceanographic Research Institute, SA) and Katie Smyth (University of Hull, UK) and will have contributions from leading researchers from the UK and SA (Prof Mike Elliot, Prof Andrew Cooper, Dr Ursula Scharler and Dr Louis Celliers). We are now inviting Early Career Researchers from the UK or South Africa to apply to attend this workshop. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Newton Researcher Links programme. The application form, with more details on the initiative, is attached and should be sent to email@example.com before the deadline of 16th March 2018. The successful applicants will be notified by 23rd March 2018.
Coastal and estuarine ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from population growth, urbanisation and other land-based and marine activities. In the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa (SA), coastal areas greatly contribute to the local and national economy by supporting key urban centres and industries (tourism, fisheries, ports). Climate change tends to exacerbate existing problems, including but not limited to flooding, erosion, water quality and resource availability, which can have implications on environmental quality, food production, water supply and human health. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has emerged as an integrated approach for the sustainable management of the trade-offs between socioeconomic development and nature conservation. EBM requires a transdisciplinary understanding of the natural system, nature-human interactions, and how they change through time. The workshop will bring together researchers from SA and the UK to discuss how they can collaborate to support EBM through the development of long-lasting UK-SA collaboration and government-research partnerships. The workshop aims to attract researchers from the social and natural sciences to create the required combination of expertise to co-construct, advance and share knowledge to support estuarine and coastal EBM. The integration of scientific and practical knowledge will be facilitated by the participation of NGOs and government practitioners.
Activities will include a mix of scientific and technical discussions to stimulate capacity building opportunities through mentorship and sharing of experiences and knowledge. The workshop will focus on: identifying skills and knowledge required to enable research on EBM; the dissemination of good practice for the development of collaborative research (including equity and diversity in multicultural teams); and sharing information concerning funding opportunities. A key objective is to create long-lasting cross-sector (government-research) and UK-SA collaboration that facilitates research impact on policy and decision-making (i.e. to improve environmental health in estuaries and coasts and related economy). It is envisaged that participants, mentors and coordinators will identify opportunities for visiting fellowships, co-supervision and mobility of postgraduate students and stimulate the creation of formal training/degrees in SA universities in collaboration with UK researchers and SA practitioners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.