AquaTT

Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland
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Lynam C.P.,Center for Environment | Llope M.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Llope M.,University of Oslo | Mollmann C.,University of Hamburg | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2017

Climate change and resource exploitation have been shown to modify the importance of bottom-up and top-down forces in ecosystems. However, the resulting pattern of trophic control in complex food webs is an emergent property of the system and thus unintuitive. We develop a statistical nondeterministic model, capable of modeling complex patterns of trophic control for the heavily impacted North Sea ecosystem. The model is driven solely by fishing mortality and climatic variables and based on time-series data covering >40 y for six plankton and eight fish groups along with one bird group (>20 y). Simulations show the outstanding importance of top-down exploitation pressure for the dynamics of fish populations. Whereas fishing effects on predators indirectly altered plankton abundance, bottom-up climatic processes dominate plankton dynamics. Importantly, we show planktivorous fish to have a central role in the North Sea food web initiating complex cascading effects across and between trophic levels. Our linked model integrates bottom-up and top-down effects and is able to simulate complex long-term changes in ecosystem components under a combination of stressor scenarios. Our results suggest that in marine ecosystems, pathways for bottom-up and top-down forces are not necessarily mutually exclusive and together can lead to the emergence of complex patterns of control. © 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Cleary J.,Dublin City University | McCaul M.,Dublin City University | Diamond D.,Dublin City University | Garcia M.B.G.,DropSens S.L | And 23 more authors.
2014 IEEE Sensor Systems for a Changing Ocean, SSCO 2014 | Year: 2014

The COMMON SENSE (CS) project aims to develop cost-effective, multi-functional innovative sensors to perform reliable in-situ measurements in the marine environment. The COMMON SENSE sensors will focus on key parameters including eutrophication, heavy metals, marine litter (microplastics) and underwater noise. The project will focus on increasing the availability of sensor data and observations through the development and implementation of the Common Sensor Web Platform (CSWP), a software platform that will integrate the COMMON SENSE sensor data and observations and deliver them to the Web, in standard formats and through standard interfaces. © 2014 IEEE.


Eleftheriou M.,AQUALEX Multimedia Consortium Ltd | Reuver M.,AQUATT | Bostock J.,University of Stirling | Sorgeloos P.,Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center | Dhont J.,Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center
Aquaculture International | Year: 2015

The long-running higher education network AQUA-TNET, a tightly-knit collaboration of university departments, research institutes and other stakeholders from the aquaculture industry, was established in 1996 by AQUATT, a coordinating partner in the SOCRATES-ERASMUS Thematic Network DEMETER led by ICA (Association for European Life Sciences Universities). Later, AQUA-TNET activities continued under an umbrella organisation, the AFANET Thematic Network. Previous work on accreditation in European aquaculture courses carried out by AQUA-TNET’s first coordinator, the UETP (University Enterprise Training Partnership) AQUATT enabled the fledging network of 15 partners to publish details of aquaculture courses in all its 15 member countries and to focus on issues soon to be raised as part of the emergent Bologna Process (1999). AQUA-TNET’s ground-breaking work in educational reforms led to its steady expansion, with the result that in 2005 it was established as a stand-alone ERASMUS Thematic Network. Its achievements from 2005 to 2011 under the coordination of Gent University (Belgium) and from 2011 to 2014 of the University of Stirling (UK), demonstrate the incremental impact of AQUA-TNET’s long-term activities. AQUA-TNET played a leading co-operative role between higher education institutions, further education providers, research institutions and industry, defining and developing a high-quality European dimension within its academic disciplines. Activities included contributions to Bologna priorities such as student and staff mobility (M.Sc. and Ph.D. online portals detailing all members’ courses); development of innovative M.Sc., Ph.D., HE/VET and Lifelong Learning (LLL) programmes; organisation of hands-on workshops on new technologies (e-learning, ICT); identification of flexible pathways for lifelong learners (EQF and ECVET); developing diversified language learning for HE; excellent online forum (www.aquatnet.com) disseminating comprehensive information to all stakeholders, including industry. © 2014, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Barton J.,Tyndall National Institute | Cheallachain C.N.,AquaTT | Magni P.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Cleary J.,Dublin City University | And 12 more authors.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Sensing Technology, ICST | Year: 2014

COMMON SENSE is a new project that supports the implementation of European Union marine policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The project, which was launched in November 2013, is funded by the EC Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and has been designed to directly respond to requests for integrated and effective data acquisition systems by developing innovative sensors that will contribute to our understanding of how the marine environment functions. COMMON SENSE is coordinated by the Leitat Technological Centre, Spain, and its consortium brings together 15 partners from seven different countries, encompassing a wide range of technical expertise and know-how in the marine monitoring area.


Tediosi A.,Aeiforia Srl | Fait G.,Aeiforia Srl | Jacobs S.,Ghent University | Verbeke W.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2015

Food safety assessment and communication have a strong importance in reducing human health risks related to food consumption. The research carried out within the ECsafeSEAFOOD project aims to assess seafood safety issues, mainly related to non-regulated priority environmental contaminants, and to evaluate their impact on public health. In order to make the research results accessible and exploitable, and to respond to actual stakeholders' demands, a consultation with international stakeholders was performed by means of a survey. The focus was on policy and decision makers, food producers and processors, and agencies (i.e. EU and National or Regional agencies related to Food Safety or Public Health) and consumer organisations. The survey considered questions related to: seafood safety assessment and mitigation strategies, availability of data, such as the level of information on different contaminants, and communication among different stakeholder groups. Furthermore, stakeholders were asked to give their opinion on how they believe consumers perceive risks associated with environmental contaminants. The survey was distributed to 531 key stakeholders and 91 responses were received from stakeholders from 30 EU and non-EU countries. The main results show that communication between different groups of stakeholders needs to be improved and that there is a deficit of information and data in the field of seafood safety. This pertains mainly to the transfer of contaminants between the environment and seafood, and to the diversity of environmental contaminants such as plastic additives, algal toxins and hormones. On-line tools were perceived to be the most useful communication channel. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Jacobs S.,Ghent University | Sioen I.,Ghent University | Pieniak Z.,Ghent University | Pieniak Z.,Consumer and Sensory Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2015

This research classifies European consumers into segments based on their health risk-benefit perception related to seafood consumption. The profiling variables of these segments are seafood consumption frequency, general attitude toward consuming fish, confidence in control organizations, attitude toward the marine environment, environmental concern and socio-demographics. A web-based survey was performed in one western European country (Belgium), one northern European country (Ireland) and three southern European countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain), resulting in a total sample of 2824 participants. A cluster analysis was performed based on risk-benefit perception related to seafood and the profiles of the segments were determined by a robust 2-way ANOVA analysis accounting for country effects. Although this study confirms consumers' positive image of consuming seafood, gradients are found in health risk-benefit perception related to seafood consumption. Seafood consumption frequency is mainly determined by country-related traditions and habits related to seafood rather than by risk-benefit perceptions. Segments with a higher benefit perception, irrespective of their level of risk perception, show a more positive attitude toward consuming seafood and toward the marine environment; moreover, they report a higher concern about the marine environment and have a higher involvement with seafood and with the marine environment. Consequently, information campaigns concentrating on pro-environmental behavior are recommended to raise the involvement with seafood and the marine environment as this is associated with a higher environmental concern. This research underpins that in such information campaigns a nationally differentiated rather than a pan-European or international information strategy should be aimed for because of significant cultural differences between the identified segments. © 2015.


Jacobs S.,Ghent University | Sioen I.,Ghent University | De Henauw S.,Ghent University | Rosseel Y.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2015

Given the potential of Perceived Consumer Effectiveness (PCE) in shaping pro-environmental behavior, the relationships between PCE, awareness of causes of contaminants in the marine environment, and concern about marine environmental contamination were investigated using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). PCE is the belief that an individual has in being able to make a difference when acting alone. A web-based survey was performed in one western European country (Belgium), one northern European country (Ireland) and three southern European countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain), resulting in a total sample size of 2824 participants. The analyses confirm that European citizens are concerned about marine environmental problems. Participants from the southern countries reported the highest concern. In addition, the study participants did not have a strong belief in themselves in being capable of making a difference in tackling marine environmental problems. However, a higher awareness, which was associated with a higher degree of concern, enhanced the belief that an individual can make a difference in tackling marine environmental problems, though only when a concrete action was proposed. Consequently, information campaigns focusing on pro-environmental behavior are recommended to raise public awareness about marine environmental problems and at the same time explicitly refer to concrete possible actions. The findings indicate that when only awareness and concern are raised without mentioning a concrete action, PCE might even decrease and render the communication effort ineffective. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


PubMed | Rovira i Virgili University, Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, Ghent University, AquaTT and Aeiforia Srl
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental research | Year: 2015

Given the potential of Perceived Consumer Effectiveness (PCE) in shaping pro-environmental behavior, the relationships between PCE, awareness of causes of contaminants in the marine environment, and concern about marine environmental contamination were investigated using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). PCE is the belief that an individual has in being able to make a difference when acting alone. A web-based survey was performed in one western European country (Belgium), one northern European country (Ireland) and three southern European countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain), resulting in a total sample size of 2824 participants. The analyses confirm that European citizens are concerned about marine environmental problems. Participants from the southern countries reported the highest concern. In addition, the study participants did not have a strong belief in themselves in being capable of making a difference in tackling marine environmental problems. However, a higher awareness, which was associated with a higher degree of concern, enhanced the belief that an individual can make a difference in tackling marine environmental problems, though only when a concrete action was proposed. Consequently, information campaigns focusing on pro-environmental behavior are recommended to raise public awareness about marine environmental problems and at the same time explicitly refer to concrete possible actions. The findings indicate that when only awareness and concern are raised without mentioning a concrete action, PCE might even decrease and render the communication effort ineffective.


PubMed | Rovira i Virgili University, Ghent University, Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, AquaTT and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental research | Year: 2015

This research classifies European consumers into segments based on their health risk-benefit perception related to seafood consumption. The profiling variables of these segments are seafood consumption frequency, general attitude toward consuming fish, confidence in control organizations, attitude toward the marine environment, environmental concern and socio-demographics. A web-based survey was performed in one western European country (Belgium), one northern European country (Ireland) and three southern European countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain), resulting in a total sample of 2824 participants. A cluster analysis was performed based on risk-benefit perception related to seafood and the profiles of the segments were determined by a robust 2-way ANOVA analysis accounting for country effects. Although this study confirms consumers positive image of consuming seafood, gradients are found in health risk-benefit perception related to seafood consumption. Seafood consumption frequency is mainly determined by country-related traditions and habits related to seafood rather than by risk-benefit perceptions. Segments with a higher benefit perception, irrespective of their level of risk perception, show a more positive attitude toward consuming seafood and toward the marine environment; moreover, they report a higher concern about the marine environment and have a higher involvement with seafood and with the marine environment. Consequently, information campaigns concentrating on pro-environmental behavior are recommended to raise the involvement with seafood and the marine environment as this is associated with a higher environmental concern. This research underpins that in such information campaigns a nationally differentiated rather than a pan-European or international information strategy should be aimed for because of significant cultural differences between the identified segments.


Bramanti L.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Bramanti L.,CSIC - Institute of Marine Sciences | Bramanti L.,University of Pisa | Vielmini I.,AquaTT | And 6 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2014

The demographic and reproductive structure of populations represents the main data set needed for conservation and management plans. Mediterranean red coral Corallium rubrum has been exploited for 2,000 years, but only recently management plans have been solicited by the international community. We examined and compared the demographic features of two red coral shallow populations located in distinct geographic locations: Portofino (Italy) and Cap de Creus (Spain). Adults and juveniles density, growth rates, population size and age structure, fecundity and fertility were examined. Juveniles were the dominant class (33 %) in both populations. The analysis of the gamete content of 653 colonies revealed that the populations have balanced sex ratios and similar fertility and polyp fecundity. The average annual growth rate, determined on 119 colonies by annual growth rings count, was similar in both populations (0.24 mm year-1), decreasing with colony age. Maximum life span of 99 % of the colonies was 60 and 40 years at Portofino and Cap de Creus, respectively. Minimum harvestable size (7 mm basal diameter) was reached in 30-35 years, and the percentage of colonies above it was 6.7 % at Portofino and 2.1 % at Cap de Creus, where juvenile and adult colony densities were significantly lower and the percentage of commercial-sized colonies reduced by 25 % in just a few years. Notwithstanding similar growth and fecundity, the two populations showed different densities and size/age structures suggesting local factors, together with different fishing pressures, have to be taken into account in the management plans for this species. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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