In March this year, SAMARCH featured at the Family Science Fair at the Dorset Museum in Dorchester as part of British Science Week. Genoveva Esteban, Katie Thompson and students from Bournemouth University ran interactive activities on the life cycle of Atlantic salmon and showed participants how to determine the age of a fish! There was a fantastic turnout and involvement (interaction with >1,000 people!) from all visitors. If you want to know more or take part in next year’s event, please email Genoveva on email@example.com or Katie on firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to visit the SAMARCH website for more details on the EU Interreg project!
Dr Luciana Esteves will be at Cafe Scon Tuesday 2 November from 7.00pm until 8.30pm.
For an increasing number of people, coastal flooding and erosion are a real threat to property, the local economy and, in some cases, life. With the effects of climate change, this threat is quickly growing. Should coastal communities at risk be relocated before they are forced from their homes? Or could engineering and nature-based solutions provide the defences they need?
Join Café Scientifique to discover the challenges faced by coastal communities in an uncertain climate future, and what society could do to address them.
What is the SAMARCH project about?
SAMARCH is a five-year project with a grant of €5.8m from the EU’s France Channel England Interreg Channel programme.
The SAMARCH project will provide new transferable scientific evidence to inform the management of salmon and sea trout (salmonids) in the estuaries and coastal waters of both the French and English sides of the Channel. It will provide new information to further improve the models used in England and France to manage their salmonid stocks. Although the project involves working on a number of rivers in the Channel area, the majority of the data collection and research will focus on the five salmon and sea trout “Index” rivers in the Channel area. These are the rivers Frome and Tamar in the south of England and the Scorff, Oir and Bresle in northern France. SAMARCH is a five-year project with a grant of €5.8m from the EU’s France Channel England Interreg Channel programme. It involves 10 partners from France and England who are a blend of research and regulatory organisations, and key stakeholders:-
- Lead Partner: Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK)
- University of Exeter (UK)
- Bournemouth University (UK)
- Environment Agency (UK)
- Salmon and Trout Conservation (UK)
- Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (France)
- Agrocampus Ouest (France)
- Agence Française pour la Biodiversité (France)
- Normandie Grands Migrateurs (France)
- Bretagne Grands Migrateurs (France)
There are four technical work-packages (WP T), a summary of their aims are:-
- Technical WP T 1, uses acoustic tracking technology to follow sea trout and salmon smolts through the estuaries of the rivers Frome, Tamar, Scorff and Bresle in the spring of 2018 and 2019 to apportion the mortality rate of smolts between the estuary and the sea. Using both acoustic and data storage tags in sea trout kelts in the Frome, Tamar and Bresle in the winters of 2017 and 2018, to track their movements through the estuary and around the coast.
- Technical WP T 2, collects samples of juvenile brown trout from rivers in northern France and the south of England and adult sea trout across the Channel to build a common genetic data base of trout and sea trout to facilitate the identity of the river of origin of sea trout caught at sea. Genetic analysis to identify the sex of large numbers of juvenile and adult salmon and sea trout will feed into models used in the UK and France to manage salmonid stocks. To develop a transferable map based on sea scape in the Channel area to predict which coastal areas are important for sea trout.
- Technical WP T 3, involves collecting data on the marine survival of salmonids and modelling this and historic data from the five Index rivers to develop a predictive model for the abundance of returning salmonids. Analysing large numbers of historical adult salmonid scales for changes in growth rates and sex ratio over time and assessing the fecundity of salmonids; these will all feed into the models used to manage salmonid stocks in England and France.
- Technical WP T 4, will be used to ensure the results produced by the project inform, improve and develop new policies for the management of salmonids in estuaries and coastal waters. It will engage with stakeholders in both England and France and further afield to maximise the impact of the results generated by the project
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.
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.
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.
A monthly meet up on first Tuesday of the month 7.30pm-9.30pm at Cafe Boscanova (650 Christchurch Road, BH1 4BP).
A chance to listen to interesting talks from a different guest speaker each month and join in with mentally stimulating discussion about a range of topics from robotics to maritime archaeology to local conservation.
April’s talk will be discussing research at Bournemouth University using fruit flies to investigate the genetics behind schitzophrenia. For a taste of what to expect go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPxSReMVIXQ or check out the CafeSciBournemouth YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CafeSciBournemouth