Environmental Innovation Hub planned for Dorset coast

Plans to create a world-class Environmental Innovation Hub on the Dorset coast have taken a step forward with the announcement today that Government funding has been approved (20 September).

The Hub at Durley Chine, Bournemouth will be funded by £2.4M from the Coastal Communities Fund. 

Early plans for the Hub are a signature eco-build, formed in part from ocean-harvested plastics and recycled tropical hardwoods. The Hub, dedicated to achieving a step change in the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics along the seafront, will feature interactive, imaginative and engaging displays. Further interactive touchpoints will be located across 10 miles of coastline.

Visitor waste is currently a huge problem for coastal resorts. Over 1,300 tonnes of waste are removed from Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch beaches annually. The Hub aims to encourage behavioural change with visitors taking away a new awareness around plastic use and recycling; both in resorts and at home. Over 7 million annual visitors to the area would have an opportunity to explore and understand the environmental impacts of packaging waste and climate change on our fragile coasts and seas.

The Environmental Innovation Hub will incorporate a centralised beach management facility for the bay, waste transfer facility, public toilets, a catering kiosk and lifeguard control point. Alongside the Hub, are planned improvements to leisure facilities and public realm, combined with energy reduction and environmental stewardship improvements across 10 miles of coast.

It is estimated that combined, these coastal projects would deliver £6M in additional visitor spend, sustaining and creating 120 new tourism jobs across the resort as a result of increased visitor footfall and spend.

BLOODHOUND LAND SPEED RECORD THE STORY SO FAR

Join the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for an exciting presentation on the latest developments in the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project, presented by Mike Ford. The Bloodhound project is a ten year attempt to break the land speed record for a car. This is a real, modern day story of design challenges, funding woes and the will to ultimately succeed.

Mike Ford has worked in many different engineering sectors. These sectors include, marine engineering, nuclear power and food manufacturing. He is now working alongside Bloodhound LSR, the land speed record team who are designing and building the first 1000 mph car. Mike has worked for major blue chip companies culminating in positions up to director level and has also run his own successful engineering consultancy business.

This lecture free and open to the public with Tea & Coffee available on arrival. Free parking is also available.

Tuesday 12th November 2019

6.30pm for 7pm

Share Lecture Theatre, The Fusion Building, Bournemouth University Talbot Campus Poole. BH12 5BB

For more information please contact: John Kent Tel: 01202693279 Mob: 07715050310 kentjekent@btinternet.com

To register attendance: http://nearyou.imeche.org/near-you/UK/Wessex/Bournemouth-Area

For more information about the Bloodhound project: http://www.bloodhoundlsr.com/

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

World Ocean Day 2019

Happy World Ocean Day! 🌍🌊 All rivers lead to the sea, which is why it is important to consider the health of both our rivers and oceans. Yesterday,Bournemouth University department of Life and Environmental Sciences staff, with help from Thomas Hardye 6th form students showed Prince of Wales year 1 pupils how to study the invertebrates indicators of clean water, by kick sampling! Not only is it an important sampling method, it’s great fun too! 

BU Photo of the week

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Peeping Capuchin,’ is by Aaron Hart, an Ecology and Wildlife conservation student from the faculty of Science and Technology.

“Going on the international field trip to Costa Rica as part of my course (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation) was truly inspiring. I found myself immersed in the whole experience, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife of which I took a keen interest to the white-faced Capuchin monkeys that roamed within the forests on Montezuma. Their behaviours and relationship with the local residents  fascinated me and I left wanting to study them further.

This led me to want to base my dissertation on them looking at observed differences found in behaviour between the wild and captive populations and how enrichment techniques can reduce stereotypical behaviour and preserve natural behaviours, essential for successful reintroduction’s. This involves working closely with local zoo’s and implementing a variety of enrichment techniques to test their effectiveness against stereotypical behaviour and then possibly going back to Costa Rica to volunteer in a monkey sanctuary of which I can observe natural behaviours in my time off. This also provides an opportunity to investigate further into the relationship between monkey and man and if their change of relationship over the years has led to a change in natural behaviours.”

Copyright: Research blog

BUtiful Bees

Spring has finally sprung, and we are seeing lots of bees on Bournemouth University (BU) campus. Dr Kathy Hodder photographed these yesterday. All the bees in the photos are female spring flying mining bees nesting within a very small area near the student village. She believes that all three 3 are collecting from dandelions.

How many species have you seen in your garden? Share your photos with us!

Fusion Inaugural Lecture – Limits of space and time: predicting how environmental change affects coastal birds

Ecological systems throughout the world are increasingly coming under threat from environmental changes, primarily caused by human actions. Understanding and predicting the effects of future change has proved a long-running problem for ecologists.

Coastal habitats, such as Poole Harbour, provide a vital habitat for many bird species but are particularly vulnerable to environmental change such as rising sea levels, habitat loss and disturbance from human activities. However, predicting the effect of such changes on these birds has proved difficult and has led to long-running conflicts between conservationists and other coastal groups.

Research by Professor Richard Stillman aims to reduce these conflicts by providing tools which enable the consequences of change to be accurately predicted. It does this by understanding the ways in which individual animals behave, the types of food they consume, how much they need to eat each day, and the ways in which human activities affect them.

During this inaugural lecture, Professor Stillman will explain how his research in this area has helped to predict the effects of changes in the UK and internationally and what it has meant for wildlife populations.

Doors open at 6:30pm and the lecture will begin at 7pm – tickets are free but booking is essential.

Ecological systems throughout the world are increasingly coming under threat from environmental changes, primarily caused by human actions. Understanding and predicting the effects of future change has proved a long-running problem for ecologists.

Coastal habitats, such as Poole Harbour, provide a vital habitat for many bird species but are particularly vulnerable to environmental change such as rising sea levels, habitat loss and disturbance from human activities. However, predicting the effect of such changes on these birds has proved difficult and has led to long-running conflicts between conservationists and other coastal groups.

Research by Professor Richard Stillman aims to reduce these conflicts by providing tools which enable the consequences of change to be accurately predicted. It does this by understanding the ways in which individual animals behave, the types of food they consume, how much they need to eat each day, and the ways in which human activities affect them.

During this inaugural lecture, Professor Stillman will explain how his research in this area has helped to predict the effects of changes in the UK and internationally and what it has meant for wildlife populations.

Doors open at 6:30pm and the lecture will begin at 7pm – tickets are free but booking is essential.

Book your tickets here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/limits-of-space-and-time-predicting-how-environmental-change-affects-coastal-birds-tickets-59037963137?_eboga=1629113216.1495458698

Nature Volunteers

A new project has been launched in the Life and Environmental Sciences Department within the Faculty of Science and Technology at Bournemouth University.

The NatureVolunteers website links people interested in nature volunteering  with conservation organisations offering project opportunities that help nature.  Opportunities range from student placements to family fun and can be one-off or regular events. There are now over 100 projects to view and there will be lots more advertised soon. 

For more information visit the NatureVolunteers website:
 https://www.naturevolunteers.uk/ .Upcoming opportunities will be showcased on the News section on this website.

Ben Parker

PhD student at Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences

Microplastics, particles 1 µm-5 mm, are a relatively recent global stressor instigated by rapid human population growth and a consequent reliance on plastics. Particles originate from cosmetic products and the gradual breakdown of larger plastics and eventually reach water courses through surface runoff, wind dispersal and waste outflows. Microplastics are known to impact a range of aquatic organisms, impairing feeding, physiological and reproductive functions, with potentially detrimental consequences for biodiversity and conservation. Whilst many plastics pass through freshwaters, and then pass on to marine systems, the dynamics and consequences of freshwater microplastic are currently poorly understood. This FSBI funded project will therefore address existing knowledge gaps by quantifying the impacts of microplastics on focal freshwater fish and invertebrate taxa. Using novel field research (year 1) and laboratory experiments (years 2-3), I will investigate the individual and community impacts of microplastics on fish, including their disruptions to host-parasite systems. 

Supervisors: Demetra Andreou, Robert Britton, Iain Green

Research Links: LinkedIn, Twitter