Monitoring macroinvertebrates and diatom populations in East Stoke, Dorset

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.

PhD opportunity: Predicting the Implications of Changes in Migration Phenology for the Conservation of Atlantic Salmon

Bournemouth University (www.bournemouth.ac.uk) and The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (www.gwct.org.uk) are recruiting a high calibre PhD researcher to work on a three year fully funded studentship investigating changes in the migrations of Atlantic salmon in relation to factors including climate change, with an emphasis on how changes in smolt migrations are impacting survival to spawning adults.

The study will develop flexible multistate state-space mark-recapture models to quantify and then investigate correlates of Atlantic salmon marine survival using data collected on the river Frome, Dorset UK, with the intention of generalising findings to other rivers in Europe.

The successful candidate will have a strong numerical background and some knowledge of salmonids.

Although the student will be registered at Bournemouth University, they will spend up to 2/3 of their time at the FBA River Laboratory in rural Dorset: https://www.fba.org.uk/the-river-laboratory

Deadline: 11th March 2018

Entry requirements: A 1st class honours degree and/or a relevant Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent

Apply: https://www1.bournemouth.ac.uk/study/courses/phd-studentship-predicting-implications-changes-migration-phenology-conservation-atlantic-salmon

(This PhD opportunity is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Channel VA Programme and is part of project SAMARCH (www.samarch.org))

PHSG 2nd Annual Conference: Poole Harbour Environment and Econmics

PHSG Marine Protected Areas Conference 2017

‘Poole Harbour provides both for a diverse ecology and a productive maritime economy. The Harbour is exceptional in the extent to which it illustrates the interface between environment and economics in the coastal zones of North West Europe. Positioned at the eastern end of the “Jurassic Coast” World Heritage Site, the entire Harbour has various conservation designations while at the same time providing for commercial shipping, motor yacht manufacture, fishing & aquaculture, tourism, a military base, and a range of other significant maritime industries. It also lies over an oil field, receives effluent from both a large conurbation and an agricultural catchment, and supports a variety of recreational activities, not least sailing and angling. These features along with the intensity with which they interact make Poole Harbour a powerful case study for the elucidation of sustainable development in practice.

Thirteen years ago the Poole Harbour Study Group held a conference which resulted in the book The Ecology of Poole Harbour. This 2018 conference aims to expand the scope of that and last year’s Marine Protected Areas conference, by examining the relationship between the environment and the economy which it supports.

The conference is part of the Poole Maritime Festival and among the events during the day Borough of Poole council will present key findings from their forthcoming marine supply chain mapping report.

Presentations (15 minutes), mini-presentations (3 minutes) and posters may examine any aspect of the Harbour environment and/or its maritime economy. Particularly welcome are contributions which engage with the interactions between the two, whether from business, policy, or conservation perspectives. Presentations may also cover aspects of the river catchment or Poole Bay which have direct implications for the Harbour itself. Contributions subsequently written up will be published in proceedings

For further general information please contact the Conference Secretary Dr Alice Hall A.Hall@bournemouth.ac.uk.

To submit, a presentation or poster proposal, please send a 50 word summary to PHSG Chair, John Humphreys (email jhc@jhc.co), who would also be happy to provide advice on any early stage presentation idea.

Poole Harbour Study Group has been encouraging and disseminating objective research on Poole Harbour for over twenty-five years. Members include all the main statutory organisations along with universities, NGOs and commercial enterprises.’

(Environment Agency, Dorset Wildlife Trust, IFCA, Phc)  

SAMARCH (SAlmoid MAnagement Round the CHannel) team brave the cold to find and tag sea trout

On Tuesday 6th February, Bournemouth University Research Associate Katie Thompson from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (SciTech) joined the SAMARCH (Salmonid Management round the Channel) team in search of sea trout in the river Frome. The five year EU Interreg Channel Programme funded project (2017-2022) will track juvenile salmon and juvenile and adult sea trout through four English and French estuaries to fill the gaps in our knowledge of how quickly fish migrate through intertidal habitat, their migration pathways and where adult sea trout spend time at sea. Currently, 95% of our salmon and sea trout die at sea, compared to only 75% in the 1970s. The project aims to answer the question of what proportion of this mortality occurs in estuaries and coastal waters compared to the open sea by using small acoustic and data storage tags. The project includes 10 partners from France and England who are a blend of research and regulatory organisations, and key stakeholders (Bournemouth University, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, University of Exeter, INRA Science & Impact, Environment Agency, Salmon and Trout Conservation, Agro Campus, Agence française pour la biodiversité, Normandie grands migrateurs, Obersvatoire des poissons migrateurs Bretagne).
If you would like to know more about the project then you can follow online via:http://samarch.orghttp://www.wessexportal.co.uk/category/samarch-salmonid-management-round-the-channel or contact Katie Thompson on thompsonk@bournemouth.ac.uk or Genoveva Esteban gesteban@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Marine Life of Poole Bay event at Hengistbury Head

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.

Exploring Plankton Diversity in Southampton Water

Exploring Plankton Diversity in Southampton Water

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.

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.