Plymouth, United Kingdom
Plymouth, United Kingdom

Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the city of Plymouth, England is an independent collaborative centre of the Natural Environment Research Council . PML's Chairman is Terence Lewis and PML's Chief Executive is Prof. Stephen de Mora.They focus global issues of global warming and sustainability. They monitor the effects of ocean acidity on corals and shellfish and report this information to the UK government. It also cultivates algae that could be used to make biofuels or in the treatment of waste water by using technology such as photo-bioreactors. They work alongside the Boots Group to investigate the usage of algae in skin care protects, because of their content of compounds that adapt to protect themselves from the sun.PML has a wholly owned trading subsidiary, PML Applications Ltd, which has been created to facilitate the exploitation and application of PML research and its products and to provide a more appropriate interface for working with end users, industrial and commercial partners.Core Capabilities:Biogeochemistry and systems science, Health of the environment and human health, Sustainable ecosystems and biodiversityCross-cutting capabilities:Earth observation, Modelling, Microbial ecology, Molecular science, Blue biotechnology, Technical solutions, Socio-economics, Policy advice Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: EO-1-2016 | Award Amount: 2.25M | Year: 2016

EOMORES (Earth Observation-based Services for Monitoring and Reporting of Ecological Status) aims to develop new highly efficient commercial services for operational inland and coastal ecological water quality monitoring. Inland and coastal water bodies constitute essential components of ecology and biodiversity, they buffer climate change and influence many aspects of economy (recreation, fisheries) and human welfare (e.g. drinking water supply). Knowledge about the state of these waters is therefore of great importance. This is recognized by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) requiring the EU member states to monitor and improve the status of these water bodies. EOMORES will develop fully-automated commercial, reliable and sustainable services based on the integration of Earth observation (Sentinel 1, 2 and 3), in situ monitoring using optical in situ sensors with integrated GNSS positioning, and ecological modeling. The validated data from these components will be flexibly combined into higher-level products to fit the users information needs. Three service concepts are envisaged: 1) operational water quality monitoring and forecasting for operational water management, 2) implementation of validated EO-based water quality indicators for WFD and other reporting and 3) historic compilation of data for specific ecological analysis. The target users of EOMORES are international, national and regional authorities responsible for monitoring and management of water quality and for WFD reporting. Additional targeted users are private entities dealing with water quality. Thirteen users from six countries have committed to collaborate with the consortium to define and evaluate the EOMORES services. The services are expected to result in lower operational costs, more reliable and more timely water quality datasets for water managers. By introducing these services into the worldwide market, an increase in annual turnover of 3.000.000 by 2020 is expected.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-11b-2015 | Award Amount: 6.92M | Year: 2016

Aquaculture is one of five sectors in the EUs Blue Growth Strategy, aimed at harnessing untapped potential for food production and jobs whilst focusing on environmental sustainability. TAPAS addresses this challenge by supporting member states to establish a coherent and efficient regulatory framework aimed at sustainable growth. TAPAS will use a requirements analysis to evaluate existing regulatory and licensing frameworks across the EU, taking account of the range of production environments and specificities and emerging approaches such as offshore technologies, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, and integration with other sectors. We will propose new, flexible approaches to open methods of coordination, working to unified, common standards. TAPAS will also evaluate existing tools for economic assessment of aquaculture sustainability affecting sectoral growth. TAPAS will critically evaluate the capabilities and verification level of existing ecosystem planning tools and will develop new approaches for evaluation of carrying capacities, environmental impact and future risk. TAPAS will improve existing and develop new models for far- and near-field environmental assessment providing better monitoring, observation, forecasting and early warning technologies. The innovative methodologies and components emerging from TAPAS will be integrated in an Aquaculture Sustainability Toolbox complemented by a decision support system to support the development and implementation of coastal and marine spatial planning enabling less costly, more transparent and more efficient licensing. TAPAS partners will collaborate with key industry regulators and certifiers through case studies to ensure the acceptability and utility of project approach and outcomes. Training, dissemination and outreach activities will specifically target improvement of the image of European aquaculture and uptake of outputs by regulators, while promoting an integrated sustainable strategy for development.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-02-2015 | Award Amount: 5.59M | Year: 2016

CERES advances a cause-and-effect understanding of how future climate change will influence Europes most important fish and shellfish populations, their habitats, and the economic activities dependent on these species. CERES will involve and closely cooperate with industry and policy stakeholders to define policy, environment, social, technological, law and environmental climate change scenarios to be tested. This four-year project will: 1. Provide regionally relevant short-, medium- and long-term future, high resolution projections of key environmental variables for European marine and freshwater ecosystems; 2. Integrate the resulting knowledge on changes in productivity, biology and ecology of wild and cultured animals (including key indirect / food web interactions), and scale up to consequences for shellfish and fish populations, assemblages as well as their ecosystems and economic sectors; 3. Utilize innovative risk-assessment methodologies that encompass drivers of change, threats to fishery and aquaculture resources, expert knowledge, barriers to adaptation and likely consequences if mitigation measures are not put in place; 4. Anticipate responses and assist in the adaptation of aquatic food production industries to underlying biophysical changes, including developing new operating procedures, early warning methods, infrastructures, location choice, and markets; 5. Create short-, medium- and long-term projections tools for the industry fisheries as well as policy makers to more effectively promote blue growth of aquaculture and fisheries in different regions; 6. Consider market-level responses to changes (both positive and negative) in commodity availability as a result of climate change; 7. Formulate viable autonomous adaptation strategies within the industries and for policy to circumvent/prevent perceived risks or to access future opportunities; 8. Effectively communicate these findings and tools to potential end-users and relevant stakeholders.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-08-2014 | Award Amount: 20.65M | Year: 2015

The overarching objective of AtlantOS is to achieve a transition from a loosely-coordinated set of existing ocean observing activities to a sustainable, efficient, and fit-for-purpose Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (IAOOS), by defining requirements and systems design, improving the readiness of observing networks and data systems, and engaging stakeholders around the Atlantic; and leaving a legacy and strengthened contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). AtlantOS will fill existing in-situ observing system gaps and will ensure that data are readily accessible and useable. AtlantOS will demonstrate the utility of integrating in-situ and Earth observing satellite based observations towards informing a wide range of sectors using the Copernicus Marine Monitoring Services and the European Marine Observation and Data Network and connect them with similar activities around the Atlantic. AtlantOS will support activities to share, integrate and standardize in-situ observations, reduce the cost by network optimization and deployment of new technologies, and increase the competitiveness of European industries, and particularly of the small and medium enterprises of the marine sector. AtlantOS will promote innovation, documentation and exploitation of innovative observing systems. All AtlantOS work packages will strengthen the trans-Atlantic collaboration, through close interaction with partner institutions from Canada, United States, and the South Atlantic region. AtlantOS will develop a results-oriented dialogue with key stakeholders communities to enable a meaningful exchange between the products and services that IAOOS can deliver and the demands and needs of the stakeholder communities. Finally, AtlantOS will establish a structured dialogue with funding bodies, including the European Commission, USA, Canada and other countries to ensure sustainability and adequate growth of IAOOS.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-15-2015 | Award Amount: 15.97M | Year: 2016

STEMM-CCS is an ambitious research and innovation project on geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage that will deliver new insights, guidelines for best practice, and tools for all phases of the CO2 storage cycle at ocean Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) sites. It brings together the main operator (Shell) of the worlds first commercial scale full-chain ocean demonstration CCS project (Peterhead Project) with the leading scientific and academic researchers in the field of ocean CCS. The work performed in STEMM-CCS will add value to this existing operational programme, and fill gaps in future capability by providing generically applicable definitive guides, technologies and techniques informing how to select a site for CCS operations, how to undertake a risk assessment, how best to monitor the operations, how to provide information on fluxes and quantification of any leakage; necessary for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and to guide mitigation/remediation actions. All of this information will be used to better communicate the case for offshore CCS, with a particular focus on communities directly and indirectly impacted. During STEMM-CCS we will perform a simulated CO2 leak beneath the surface sediments at the site to be used for CCS as part of the Peterhead project. This experiment will be used to test CO2 leak detection, leak quantification, impact assessment, and mitigation/remediation decision support techniques currently at the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) stage 4-5 and support their development to a higher TRL. In addition, using new geophysical approaches STEMM-CCS will develop tools to assess leakage from natural geological features (e.g. chimneys) and engineered structures such as abandoned wells. The Peterhead project will commence during the life of STEMM-CCS and so a unique aspect is the focus on a real-world ocean CCS site covering its initial phases of implementation, with direct involvement of industrial partners.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 157.74K | Year: 2017

Half a billion people directly utilise coral reefs for essential ecosystem services (ES) such as food and coastal protection, many of whom live within rural areas of the poorest developing countries. This dependence is especially pronounced across the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. Coral reefs have been experiencing major and sustained ecological degradation, exacerbated by climate change. The resultant changes to these ecosystems are potentially devastating to coastal communities. This project was co-developed with stakeholders from around the WIO and the UK, and involves a team with interdisciplinary expertise in natural science (coral reefs and ecosystem services), social science including governance and development studies, environmental economics, psychology, geography, theology, arts (a blend of fine art and design), and health. The project is ambitious in scope and is anticipated to generate novel and innovative outputs. The project aims to create a network of experts from local community, government, NGO and academic stakeholders from the UK, Mauritius, Zanzibar and other WIO islands to scope opportunities for using ES related research to define and refine strategies and priorities for building socio-ecological resilience to long-term change in coral reefs. The project will involve four interlinked activities that will draw on the diversity of expertise and disciplinary backgrounds of the project team, subcontractors and project partners: (1) Strategies that are currently used to manage coral reefs and which are often assumed to build resilience to climate change impacts will be mapped and assessed. The extent to which the ES framework is applied will be identified and assessment made of how it could be more effectively used in future to support the design of such strategies. (2) A workshop in Mauritius will involve stakeholders from Mauritius (including Rodrigues), Zanzibar, Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Kenya. This will include assessment of i) perceptions of the role of community management and institutions, and actions needed to overcome barriers; ii) opportunities to incentivise action; iii) communication strategies for building resilience. The workshop will include interactive sessions to provide an in-depth analysis of risk (including differences between public and expert framings) and a visual arts approach to participatory mapping to create experiential learning and elicit the more nuanced and intangible aspects of perception, values and identities in the context of real world ecological risk. Drawing participant experience and expertise, a protocol of these activities (involving a film) for replication elsewhere and a synthesis report will be co-developed. (3) The protocol will be piloted in Mauritius and Zanzibar to explore the socio-cultural risks associated with different community-specific resilience strategies and different groups within the community, in order to validate the synthesis report and promote further reflection and dialogue on risks and values associated with coral reefs. It is anticipated that the culturally sensitive approach will allow a better means of investigating localised knowledge, more diverse identities and the dynamics of subject formation. (4) A UK workshop will bring together partners from Mauritius, Madagascar, Zanzibar and the UK to synthesise project outputs, focusing on identifying gaps that can be addressed using the ES framework and the potential for future UK-WIO collaborations, as well as reflecting on the project activities in terms of multi-disciplinary working, engagement with stakeholders and the lessons learnt from this process. The structure for a journal article together with initial draft text and a timetable for final submission will be developed to ensure an academic legacy from the work. The workshop will also provide a platform for the non-UK partners to present their work and access a wider network of potential UK collaborators.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.08M | Year: 2016

Despite increasing recognition of connections between natural environment and human health and wellbeing, these links are still poorly understood. There is a real need to develop methodological approaches to fully elucidate natural environments for health and wellbeing. To address this need the CoastWEB project aims to holistically value the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events. The research is ambitious in its interdisciplinary scope, including art, social and environmental psychology, environmental economics, governance, policy, a suite of natural sciences, and non-academic stakeholders. It also covers a range of scales from local Welsh case study sites to UK national. We are proposing a circular 4 step process: 1. The proposed research begins with the definition of a set of real world future interventions for Welsh salt marsh ecosystems, with a particular focus on coastal defence, and set within a broader national policy context. It is critical that the outputs of this research are useful to end users, and not just academic, as such the definition of these options will be made in close collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. 2. The impact of these interventions on saltmarsh coastal defence capacity will then be explored using natural science and modelling techniques, improving our understanding of the key ecosystem processes and attributes which influence this capacity. The impact on other ecosystem services will also be documented using existing literature. A key output of this step will be the production of Wales-wide maps of changes in salt marsh coastal defence services, under differing interventions. 3. The impact of these changes in coastal defence, and broader ecosystem service delivery, will be linked to changes in human health and wellbeing at both a local community and national scale. The local wellbeing impacts will be explored through the application of qualitative dialogue based techniques, whereas the national scale impacts will be explored through quantitative (monetary and non-monetary) survey techniques. 4. Through mapping and workshops, using both an interactive artistic approach (local) and the established modelling platform, TIM (national), the health and wellbeing results will then feed directly back into the stakeholder base and the management of the salt marsh, as they will provide a unique insight into the broader health and wellbeing aspects of salt marshes, under the future interventions proposed in step 1. The mixed methods approach proposed will provide a greater understanding examining health and wellbeing in different ways, enabling our ability to handle different understandings and interpretations of value. However, the aim is not to use different disciplines to translate for each other, or to combine results into one metric, but rather to embrace the differences in the approaches and outputs and to explore how they can complement each other. Using these complementary approaches and scales is beneficial in providing managers with a diverse array of information for making decisions.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 250.25K | Year: 2017

Nitrogen-containing compounds, including glycine betaine (GBT), choline and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) are ubiquitous in marine organisms. They are used by marine organisms as compatible solutes in response to changes in environmental conditions, such as increasing salinity, because they do not interfere with cell metabolism. They also have beneficial effects in protecting proteins against denaturation due to chemical or physical damage. In the marine environment, these compounds are frequently released from these organisms directly into seawater due to changing environmental conditions, such as by viral lysis or grazing. The released nitrogenous osmolytes serve as important nutrients for marine microorganisms, which can use them as carbon, nitrogen and energy sources. It is well known that the degradation of these nitrogenous osmolytes contribute to the release of climate-active gases, including volatile methylamines. Methylamines are important sources of aerosols in the marine atmosphere, which help to reflect sunlight and cause a cooling effect on the climate. Our NERC-funded research is starting to understand the microbial metabolism of these compounds and their seasonal cycles in the coastal surface seawater, but our understanding across the worlds oceans is limited. Of particular importance to the Earths climate is the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean is an important player in the Earth climate system, and is an ideal region to study ocean-atmosphere connections because of its isolation from continental emissions and the strong circumpolar atmospheric circulation, rendering its air pristine. Opportunities to study the Southern Ocean are rare however, and it remains under sampled even for the most routine measurements compared to the rest of the Worlds oceans. We have a unique opportunity within the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) to make measurements and collect samples around the entire Southern Ocean, and near Antarctica. Twenty one other international projects will also be conducting research from the same expedition, and six of these projects have excellent links to our research. Unfortunately, there are no plans for after the expedition for the projects to collaborate and integrate data, which is a real missed opportunity. This proposal aims to develop a new international network with six ACE projects and use post-cruise activities to exploit data and knowledge generated to capitalise on our NERC-funded research on nitrogenous osmolytes and to increase its international breadth.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 366.85K | Year: 2017

ChAOS will quantify the effect of changing sea ice cover on organic matter quality, benthic biodiversity, biological transformations of carbon and nutrient pools, and resulting ecosystem function at the Arctic Ocean seafloor. We will achieve this by determining the amount, source, and bioavailability of organic matter (OM) and associated nutrients exported to the Arctic seafloor; its consumption, transformation, and cycling through the benthic food chain; and its eventual burial or recycling back into the water column. We will study these coupled biological and biogeochemical processes by combining (i) a detailed study of representative Arctic shelf sea habitats that intersect the ice edge, with (ii) broad-scale in situ validation studies and shipboard experiments, (iii) manipulative laboratory experiments that will identify causal relationships and mechanisms, (iv) analyses of highly spatially and temporally resolved data obtained by the Canadian, Norwegian and German Arctic programmes to establish generality, and (v) we will integrate new understanding of controls and effects on biodiversity, biogeochemical pathways and nutrient cycles into modelling approaches to explore how changes in Arctic sea ice alter ecosystems at regional scales. We will focus on parts of the Arctic Ocean where drastic changes in sea ice cover are the main environmental control, e.g., the Barents Sea. Common fieldwork campaigns will form the core of our research activity. Although our preferred focal region is a N-S transect along 30 degree East in the Barents Sea where ice expansion and retreat are well known and safely accessible, we will also use additional cruises to locations that share similar sediment and water conditions in Norway, retrieving key species for extended laboratory experiments that consider future environmental forcing. Importantly, the design of our campaign is not site specific, allowing our approach to be applied in other areas that share similar regional characteristics. This flexibility maximizes the scope for coordinated activities between all programme consortia (pelagic or benthic) should other areas of the Arctic shelf be preferable once all responses to the Announcement of Opportunity have been evaluated. In support of our field campaign, and informed by the analysis of field samples and data obtained by our international partners (in Norway, Canada, USA, Italy, Poland and Germany), we will conduct a range of well-constrained laboratory experiments, exposing incubated natural sediment to environmental conditions that are most likely to vary in response to the changing sea ice cover, and analysing the response of biology and biogeochemistry to these induced changes in present versus future environments (e.g., ocean acidification, warming). We will use existing complementary data sets provided by international project partners to achieve a wider spatial and temporal coverage of different parts of the Arctic Ocean. The unique combination of expertise (microbiologists, geochemists, ecologists, modellers) and facilities across eight leading UK research institutions will allow us to make new links between the quantity and quality of exported OM as a food source for benthic ecosystems, the response of the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning across the full spectrum of benthic organisms, and the effects on the partitioning of carbon and nutrients between recycled and buried pools. To link the benthic sub-system to the Arctic Ocean as a whole, we will establish close links with complementary projects studying biogeochemical processes in the water column, benthic environment (and their interactions) and across the land-ocean transition. This will provide the combined data sets and process understanding, as well as novel, numerically efficient upscaling tools, required to develop predictive models (e.g., MEDUSA) that allow for a quantitative inclusion seafloor into environmental predictions of the changing Arctic Ocean.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 109.55K | Year: 2017

Copepod species of the genus Calanus (Calanus hereafter) are rice grain-sized crustaceans, distant relatives of crabs and lobsters, that occur throughout the Arctic Ocean consuming enormous quantities of microscopic algae (phytoplankton). These tiny animals represent the primary food source for many Arctic fish, seabirds and whales. During early spring they gorge on extensive seasonal blooms of diatoms, fat-rich phytoplankton that proliferate both beneath the sea ice and in the open ocean. This allows Calanus to rapidly obtain sufficient fat to survive during the many months of food scarcity during the Arctic winter. Diatoms also produce one of the main marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that Calanus require to successfully survive and reproduce in the frozen Arctic waters. Calanus seasonally migrate into deeper waters to save energy and reduce their losses to predation in an overwintering process called diapause that is fuelled entirely by carbon-rich fat (lipids). This vertical lipid pump transfers vast quantities of carbon into the oceans interior and ultimately represents the draw-down of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), an important process within the global carbon cycle. Continued global warming throughout the 21st century is expected to exert a strong influence on the timing, magnitude and spatial distribution of diatom productivity in the Arctic Ocean. Little is known about how Calanus will respond to these changes, making it difficult to understand how the wider Arctic ecosystem and its biogeochemistry will be affected by climate change. The overarching goal of this proposal is to develop a predictive understanding of how Calanus in the Arctic will be affected by future climate change. We will achieve this goal through five main areas of research: We will synthesise past datasets of Calanus in the Arctic alongside satellite-derived data on primary production. This undertaking will examine whether smaller, more temperate species have been increasingly colonising of Arctic. Furthermore, it will consider how the timing of life-cycle events may have changed over past decades and between different Arctic regions. The resulting data will be used to validate modelling efforts. We will conduct field based experiments to examine how climate-driven changes in the quantity and omega-3 content of phytoplankton will affect crucial features of the Calanus life-cycle, including reproduction and lipid storage for diapause. Cutting-edge techniques will investigate how and why Calanus use stored fats to reproduce in the absence of food. The new understanding gained will be used to produce numerical models of Calanus life cycle for future forecasting. The research programme will develop life-cycle models of Calanus and simulate present day distribution patterns, the timing of life-cycle events, and the quantities of stored lipid (body condition), over large areas of the Arctic. These projections will be compared to historical data. We will investigate how the omega-3 fatty acid content of Calanus is affected by the food environment and in turn dictates patterns of their diapause- and reproductive success. Reproductive strategies differ between the different species of Calanus and this approach provides a powerful means by which to predict how each species will be impacted, allowing us to identify the winners and losers under various scenarios of future environmental changes. The project synthesis will draw upon previous all elements of the proposal to generate new numerical models of Calanus and how the food environment influences their reproductive strategy and hence capacity for survival in a changing Arctic Ocean. This will allow us to explore how the productivity and biogeochemistry of the Arctic Ocean will change in the future. These models will be interfaced with the UKs Earth System Model that directly feeds into international efforts to understand global feedbacks to climate change.

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