Research Groups

Marine Protected Area management and monitoring (MarPAMM)

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MarPAMM is an environment project to develop tools for monitoring and managing a number of protected coastal marine environments in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland. It will be completed by 31 March 2022. It is a cross-border project because many marine species and habitats do not abide by administrative borders. To manage mobile species and border areas requires cooperation. MarPAMM partners will collect data on the abundance, distribution and movement of marine protected species and habitats. These data will help us produce new habitat maps and develop models for a range of species, including connectivity assessment for species with mobile life stages.

NERC Changing Arctic Oceans Project (ChAOS) CHAOS

The Arctic Ocean accounts for up to 14% of global atmospheric CO2 uptake. But only the carbon that is deposited at, and buried into, the Arctic seafloor removes it from the ocean-atmosphere system over long timescales. Hence, the Arctic seafloor, with its complex biological and biogeochemical processes, is inextricably involved in this crucial process of carbon sequestration. However, little is known about how the Arctic seafloor environment is responding to surface ocean changes. The ChAOS project will close this knowledge gap by studying an Arctic shelf seafloor system undergoing rapid environmental change using a multi-disciplinary approach.

The ChAOS project aims to better understand how changes in the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover and water mass distribution will affect biological and biogeochemical processes at the seabed. The seafloor is a highly dynamic environment that hosts a wide variety of biota, and plays a crucial role in carbon and nutrient cycling and burial. ChAOS will focus its research activities on the central and northern Barents Sea, a part of the Arctic shelf system that is strongly affected by modern climate change, and of interest to the hydrocarbon and fisheries industries.

However, changes to certain key components of Arctic ecosystems, such as benthic faunal assemblages or the extent of carbon and nutrient burial, are often ignored in political and scientific discussions of a changing Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean seafloor hosts a diverse and productive benthic ecosystem that is a crucial component of an intimately coupled benthic-pelagic system. The relative importance of benthic organisms in modulating sequestration, transformation and storage of bio-essential nutrients and carbon across the Arctic Ocean is still poorly constrained.

https://www.changing-arctic-ocean.ac.uk

Antarctic seabed carbon capture change project (ASCCC)  ASCCC Pic

The principal purpose of the ASCCC Project is to investigate and understand the role of polar and subpolar seabeds in the carbon cycle, particularly in response to climate change.
Background – The continental shelves along polar continental margins and archipelagos are wide, deep and rich in life. Most species known from polar waters live on the seabed (benthos) and recently it has been discovered that they play an important, and increasing, role in the carbon cycle. 
 
Benthos commonly comprise echinoderms (sea stars, brittlestars, sea ucrhins), molluscs (clams & snails), corals, sponges, crustaceans, bryozoans (sea mosses) and many other animal types. They eat plankton (such as microscopic plants and animals).  Carbon is transported through the system by being fixed in photosynthesis by the tiny algae, which are eaten by benthos, and then buried when the benthic animals die.  
We call this ‘carbon immobilization’ (net annual carbon accumulation) and our main aim is to attempt to measure how much carbon is held per unit area of the seabed per year, and how this varies in time and space.  To date we have focussed mainly on one group of animals (bryozoans) because they are common, easy to identify, sessile (they don’t move) and have annual growth lines in their skeletons (like tree rings) – making them easier to age.

 

https://www.asccc.co.uk/

 

 

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