Fusion Professorial Lecture: Addressing the environmental crisis

With so many reports and news stories about the environmental issues we currently face, including climate change, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution, which problems should cause us most concern and how can we tackle them?

A Bournemouth University (BU) academic will talk at RNLI College on Thursday 13 February to address these issues in the first of a series of free public lectures. BU’s Professor of Marine Biology and Conservation, Rick Stafford, will launch the Fusion Professorial Lecture Series with his talk, ‘Addressing the environmental crisis: from reusable coffee cups to political reform, what really works?’

Rick, from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, said: “It’s vital we address the environmental crisis properly in the very near future. This talk will bring together my research over the last two years and present a timely message that it’s not too late to act, and give a positive vision of what the future could be like if we do.”

Using his research, Rick will demonstrate that plastic pollution is a real threat, but has been overemphasised in order to maintain the economic and political status quo. His findings also show that climate change and biodiversity loss need large systematic changes in economic and political thinking to be successfully tackled, although nature-based solutions such as tree planting and a respect for nature are also important.

Rick will demonstrate the benefits to biodiversity and society of changing our approach to economics, and show that necessary changes will be advantageous to most people, both in developed and developing countries.

Rick added: “It’s very timely, and hopefully it will inspire people to support the necessary changes we need at local, national and international levels.”

The Fusion Professorial Lecture Series is free and open to the public, with six planned throughout the year, and cover a wide range of topics from BU academics.

Rick Stafford’s research began studying rocky shores, and developed into mathematical and computer models of animal behaviour. He currently works on topics as diverse as marine protected areas, fisheries, artificial reefs, as well as climate change and biodiversity loss.

The free to attend lecture takes place on Thursday 13 February, 6:30pm, and is ticketed. You can register for tickets on Eventbrite.

Article source: BU Research Blog

Super news for Snakes in the Heather

Photo credit: ARC

‘Snakes in the Heather’ is a new and exciting ARC project which has been awarded support from the National Lottery. The project aims to conserve Britain’s rarest reptile, the smooth snake, by bringing together key partners including Amphibian and Reptile Groups, Wildlife Trusts and other non-governmental and governmental organisations.

Over the past two centuries there has been an extensive decline in the smooth snake’s primary habitat, lowland heathland. The species is now only found on the heaths of Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, with a special introduction site in Devon. It is a very secretive creature, choosing to bask within heather vegetation and burrowing out of sight. For this reason, its ecology, behaviour and distribution have been difficult to study and therefore its status and conservation needs are poorly understood.

The £412,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will develop partnerships between organisations and community volunteers, and harmonize conservation efforts across southern England.

The project will raise awareness and “ownership” of reptiles among local communities through the media and events, greater community awareness of smooth snakes as a unique component of our biological heritage. We will use a “citizen science” approach to help us conserve the smooth snake by training new and existing volunteers to carry out targeted reptile surveys. This will provide valuable data to better understand the smooth snake’s needs in order to support and inform conservation decisions. Volunteers will also carry out practical tasks to improve the species’ heathland habitats across Southern England.

The project’s legacy will ensure better managed, more resilient smooth snake populations through a greater, shared understanding of the conservation needs of the species.

The project will build on the strong local partnerships that are already in place and runs until 2023.

For more information on Snakes in the Heather contact:

smooth.snakes@arc-trust.org

Article source: https://www.arc-trust.org/snakes-in-the-heather

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.