MRes student at Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences
Lagoons are a rare ecosystem in the UK and occur on just 5.3% of Europe’s coastline. The lagoonal environment is highly variable and salinity and temperature can change dramatically over a small spatial scale. Consequently, the fauna associated with lagoons is well adapted to surviving such extreme conditions.
When lagoons are man-made and within an urban setting, there is a need for careful management to reduce issues that affect the local public and their attitudes towards the lagoon. Poole Park boating lake is one such example, and has suffered macroalgal blooms that interfere with boat use, swarms of midges, and persistent eggy smells. This research will comprehensively map the distribution of Poole Park lagoon’s benthic invertebrates and determine the environmental factors influencing their distribution, including salinity, particle size and organic matter content. The lagoon specialist starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis will be focused on given its protected and cryptic status within the UK. The spatial distribution of the non-native Australian tubeworm Ficopomatus enigmaticus will be mapped and the interaction of its calcareous reef structure with the native fauna will be investigated using sampling of the reef itself and in-situ video footage.
The results from this data will inform an overall assessment of Poole Park lagoon’s ecosystem health and inform suggested management measures. It will also add to the current data for the non-native Australian tubeworm’s distribution in the UK, its effect in one it’s rarest ecosystems, and its interaction with its equally rare fauna.
Research links: Linkedin
Supervisor: Dr Roger Herbert