As part of a long term, collaborative research project between BU and the FBA, PhD researcher Tadhg Carrol and BU research assistant Jack Dazley have been assisting freshwater biologist John Davy-Bowker in sampling two rivers in East Stoke, Dorset for aquatic macroinvertebrates (such as insect larvae, aquatic worms and water beetles) and diatoms (microscopic plants with a glass-like ‘shell’). The research aims to understand how environmental changes, such as increased temperature and altered riverbed composition, affect the abundance and species diversity of these groups.
Samples were collected from 5 sites at each river – the Frome and the Piddle, where a square sampling area 10m wide was set up from each bank. Macroinvertebrates were collected using the kick sampling method (pictured), whereby the person sampling would rigorously kick the river bed, exposing mud and stones, and with them the invertebrates, which flow into the net. Environmental measurements were also taken, and included width and depth of the site, percentage cover of each species of aquatic plant, and substrate composition of the riverbed (i.e. what types of rocks/stones are present). Once collected, the samples were preserved to allow identification at a later date.
Diatoms were also collected from each site, and were done so by collecting 5 large stones (one from each corner of the site and one from the centre) which had clearly visible signs of algae growing on them, such as green mats on the surface. Using a toothbrush, a section of the green mat was scrubbed off into a plastic tray to collect the diatoms, and to work out the abundance the scrubbed area was traced onto acetate. The diatoms were preserved to be analysed at the lab.
Alongside collecting macroinvertebrates and diatoms, careful note was taken in the Piddle upon the capture and rerelease of protected species, including bullhead fish and white clawed crayfish. These native crayfish are particularly monitored as they are susceptible to diseases carried by the non-native signal crayfish. Infact, the Piddle is thought to be one of the only sites in Dorset where the white clawed crayfish is relatively abundant.
This project is incredibly important to understanding the future of river communities from a bottom up perspective – diatoms and macroinvertebrates form the basis of the food chain in river ecosystems, and so support larger freshwater organisms such as fish and birds.
Bournemouth University PhD researcher Alice Hall from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (SciTech) launched a ‘Hengistbury Head Ecological Enhancement project’ last month (January 2018). In order to improve the marine life on the groynes at Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth University in connection with Hengistbury Head Visitors centre are creating artificial rockpools on the rock groynes at Hengistbury Head. The year 4 school children from St. Katharine’s Primary School, Southbourne have helped design the features which will be used to create the artificial rock pools. Once the rockpools are installed the general public and school children will have the opportunity to monitor the pools and help us monitor the marine life which comes to live in the pools.
The aims of this project are:
To engage people with marine life associated with artificial structures and to increase the frequency of visitor interactions.
To educate primary school children on the marine life associated with artificial structures and ways to enhance the ecology on the structures
Artificial rockpool construction at Hengistbury Head:
3D model designs created by students from St. Katharine’s Primary School:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.