Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protecting fish nurseries

21.03.2002


A University of Plymouth lecturer and his PhD student are putting Plymouth on the world map for research in a specialist field of marine biology: the importance of seagrass meadows.



Seagrass can grow prolifically in outer estuarine areas and is the only flowering plant fully adapted for life in the marine environment. As well as being home to a wide variety of animal life including fish such as sea horses, its dense beds offer some protection against wave buffeting and the ensuing coastal erosion.

The South West coastline boasts some of the UK’s largest and most important seagrass meadows, so it is fitting that Dr Martin Attrill, Senior Lecturer in Marine and Estuarine Ecology, and his PhD student Emma Jackson are carrying out world-leading research in this field.


Emma, who is in the final stages of her research project, is giving a presentation on the subject at an international conference in Florida from 21-24 March.

Dr Martin Attrill commented: “Plymouth is already known for the excellence of its research in marine science, and I am delighted that Emma will present her research on the world stage. Florida, like Plymouth, is also home to vast areas of seagrass, so our research in this field will be of real interest there."

Although much work has been done elsewhere on the ecological importance of seagrass beds, particularly in the tropics, little had been done in NW Europe until Dr Attrill started the research project with Dr Ashley Rowden (now in New Zealand) and a group of marine biology undergraduate students in 1997. One group of students discovered a large seagrass bed outside Looe that no-one had previously been aware of. Research into seagrass ecology has since become one of Dr Attrill’s areas of special interest, and Plymouth is now the UK centre of expertise on the subject.

Seagrass beds are of commercial as well as ecological interest, since they act as a nursery, feeding area and shelter for many commercially-fished species such as bream and pollack. As Emma explains, her PhD project is part-funded by Jersey’s Department of Fisheries: “The fishing industry is important to Jersey’s economy, and they are keen to do everything they can to protect it. I have been working with them to establish the importance of seagrass beds as nursery areas. The links with the fisheries department has been really helpful. They have their own legislative system, and are able to act quickly to protect the beds, for example by preventing the use of mobile fishing gear.”

Professor Les Ebdon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Plymouth, added: “It is research projects like this which bring Plymouth’s maritime connections into the 21st Century, and which are proof of our ability to create a National Centre for Marine Science and Technology in Plymouth. As partners in the MARINEX bid, we hope to build on this tradition of excellence and develop more world-leading marine research in future.”

Tammy Baines | alphagalileo

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>