Genoveva Esteban and Katie Thompson are excited to announce the launch of a new website, Snapshot Science. They developed this website to virtually showcase the fantastic work of staff and students within the Life and Environmental Science Department (LES) in SciTech. They are will also use this platform as part of a public engagement and outreach event on 9th March 2021 during the British Science Week 2021 along with the WildlifeCraftClub. You can follow The Wessex Portal to keep updated on this new project…and give us a like on Facebook!
Thank you to LES staff and students that contributed to the website.
Across the world, natural ecosystems are becoming increasingly degraded and fragmented. As a consequence, preservation of remaining intact habitats is likely to be insufficient for many species. Instead, the United Nations has identified restoring wild places as a global priority in its upcoming decade on ecosystem restoration.
In response to this, former Bournemouth Life and Environmental Sciences alumnus, Lindsay Biermann, has helped found the Little Environmental Action Foundation (LEAF for short) alongside thirteen fellow young conservationists. LEAF’s mission is to restore some of the most threatened ecosystems across the tropics, whilst using research-driven approaches and 100% native species.
LEAF’s first project is focused on cultivating and planting indigenous trees in coastal Kenya. Situated in the East African Coastal Forest Biodiversity hotspot, this project aims to save the region’s endemic trees that are all predicted to go extinct by 2050 without intervening action. LEAF is working in partnership with Pwani University to recover seeds, grow seedlings and plant out these threatened endemic species around fragments of ancient forest sites called relics. These relics are incredibly important to the future of this region, as currently 96% of native trees have been lost to monoculture plantations and farming.
Using research and expertise, LEAF has begun by employing local graduates and implementing ex situ conservation on the university grounds. From here, we plan to expand our efforts to plant trees close to pre-existing relict sites, educate local people on how to protect these forests and show why their ecosystem services are invaluable. By focusing on native tree species, we aim to increase the survival rates of planted trees and also the long-term recovery of these forests. Collaborative research with university students is also helping to maximise survival rates by studying salt and drought tolerance, as well as optimal planting times.
LEAF is set to officially launch in National Tree week running from 28th November to 6th December. As part of the launch, LEAF is aiming to raise funds to build a new seedling nursery that can propagate and grow rare and endangered tree species. From these donations, LEAF hope to transform the nursery to provide sufficient capacity for future forest restoration projects.
The LEAF charity is remains in its infancy but has ambitious plans to expand its restoration work into ten countries by 2030. Potential projects in Rwanda and India have already been identified, whilst a UK-based school outreach programme is being developed. If you would like to learn more about LEAF’s work, visit their website – www.theleafcharity.com – or follow them on social media @wearetheleaf.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
To register attendance: http://nearyou.imeche.org/near-you/UK/Wessex/Bournemouth-Area
For more information about the Bloodhound project: http://www.bloodhoundlsr.com/
Hunter N. Hines posts photos and footage of the organisms he studies during his PhD research under his microscope, including single-celled organisms like ciliates and micro-animals like worms and tardigrades (known as water bears).
Hunter said: “The videos and photos on my Instagram show these awesome creatures in their natural state as they are behave and move, rather than just drawings from a textbook.”
Hunter is currently studying for his PhD at Bournemouth University, conducting research in Florida on single-celled organisms called ciliates, looking at their biodiversity and biogeography in freshwater ecosystems.
Alongside ciliates, his Instagram account @microbialecology shows microscopic creatures including worms, larvae and micro crustaceans doing everything from laying eggs to eating each other.
At one point the account received over 1.4 million views in a single week.
Hunter said: “These are organisms at the foundation of foodwebs and important for ecosystem health. I collect them from freshwater habitats, such as ponds, in Florida, and some are from soil.
“For many viewers this is the first time they are seeing these creatures from the micro world as living things.
“I hope that my posts can reach a global audience, and show microbiology in a positive light, while inspiring interest in science to anyone with internet access.”
BU’s Department of Life and Environmental Science (LES) has received a Gold award for Green Impact, after taking part in the Green Impact challenge back in 2015.
Green Impact Universities and Colleges is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme delivered by the NUS, in partnership with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).
It aims to empower people and their departments to take action on sustainability and reward them for their environmental efforts within their workplace.
The award covers measurable actions relating to topics around sustainability – including communication, travel, recycling, and energy – and the number of actions completed correlates to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
Main activities included promoting the opportunities that BU offers staff to enhance sustainability, such as water saving, Green Week, and sustainable travel; and the identification and documentation of the five most significant negative environmental impacts and suggestions for solutions in the coming year.
We would like to congratulate the team and the department on this for their hard work and persistence over the last 4 years.
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 (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.
‘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
To submit, a presentation or poster proposal, please send a 50 word summary to PHSG Chair, John Humphreys (email email@example.com), 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.’
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).
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.