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Durban, South Africa

Alongside three professional divers from the NERC National Facility for Scientific Diving, hosted by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), a team took to the Eastern Med and delved to depths of up to 55 metres, which are challenging levels to reach because of physiological limitations including the requirement for decompression stops. The team, led by Oceanlab's Professor Frithjof Kuepper and Dr Martin Sayer, from the NERC National Facility for Scientific Diving in Oban, alongside Aberdeen PhD Student Vivian Louizidou, explored communities of maerl – coralline red algae and associated organisms. The biodiversity and ecology of such communities in the Eastern Mediterranean has rarely been explored and, besides exploring their native animal and algal inhabitants, the surveys revealed the presence of a number of alien invasive species, including fireworms, the red seaweed Womersleyella and three Caulerpa species (several of which are considered among the worst invaders of the Mediterranean). While these invaders were previously known to impact shallow-water communities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the surveys conducted by the team suggest that their impacts are also likely profound in the low-light and colder-water, deeper communities. This could have a huge impact on the seabed community as they can displace native species, which could potentially lead to major changes in ecosystem functioning and loss of local biodiversity. Professor Kuepper said: "Observing these communities is a quite a challenge, because the depth of the water limits your working time and can make clear thinking difficult. "I am delighted that not only have we accessed these communities but we have also generated substantial findings from our expedition which will allow us to not only understand what lives there, but also how they function and to what extent they might be threatened by human activities." The work was conducted at such depths that it required careful planning with larger than usual air cylinders, independent bail-out cylinders and extra air staged for the decompression stops. All diving was conducted using a bottom-reel to ensure that the divers always found their way back to the decompression lines. Dr Martin Sayer said: "It was rewarding to make use of the knowledge and experience of our team to provide a platform for the scientific exploration of parts of the sea that are poorly understood."

Porter M.,SAMS | Inall M.E.,SAMS | Green J.A.M.,Bangor University | Simpson J.H.,Bangor University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Marine Systems | Year: 2016

During the summer of 2012, 20 surface drifters drogued at 50 m depth were deployed on the continental slope to the north of the Bay of Biscay. Initially after release the drifters all crossed the slope, with 14 continuing equatorward, parallel to the slope following an absolute dynamic topography feature and 6 returning to the slope, in an eddy, visible in chlorophyll-a maps. Lagrangian statistics show an anisotropic flow field that becomes less tied to the absolute dynamic topography and increasingly dominated by diffusion and eddy processes. A weaker tie to the absolute dynamic topography allowed for total of 8 of the drifters crossed from the deep water onto the shelf, showing pathways for flow across the slope. A combination of drifter trajectories, absolute dynamic topography and chlorophyll-a concentration maps has been used to show that small anticyclonic eddies, tied to the complex slope topography provide a mechanism for on shelf transport. During the summer, the presence of these eddies can be seen in surface chlorophyll-a maps. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Source

Guidozzi F.,University of Witwatersrand | Alperstein A.,Kingsbury House | Bagratee J.S.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Dalmeyer P.,University of Cape Town | And 12 more authors.
South African Medical Journal | Year: 2014

The South African Menopause Society (SAMS) consensus position statement on menopausal hormone therapy (HT) 2014 is a revision of the SAMS Council consensus statement on menopausal HT published in the SAMJin May 2007. Information presented in the previous statement has been re-evaluated and new evidence has been incorporated. While the recommendations pertaining to HT remain similar to those in the previous statement, the 2014 revision includes a wider range of clinical benefits for HT, the inclusion of non-hormonal alternatives such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors for the management of vasomotor symptoms, and an appraisal of bioidentical hormones and complementary medicines used for treatment of menopausal symptoms. New preparations that are likely to be more commonly used in the future are also mentioned. The revised statement emphasises that commencing HT during the 'therapeutic window of opportunity' maximises the benefit-to-risk profile of therapy in symptomatic menopausal women. Source

Adams T.P.,SAMS | Miller R.G.,SAMS | Aleynik D.,SAMS | Burrows M.T.,SAMS
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2014

Summary: Offshore renewable energy provides an increasing component of our electricity supply. We have limited understanding of the potential environmental impacts of these developments, particularly in the move to larger scales. Surfaces provided by devices offer novel habitat to marine organisms, which may allow species to spread to new areas. We used coupled biological and hydrodynamic models to investigate the spread of intertidal marine organisms with pelagic larvae (such as barnacles or gastropods) in the region around south-western Scotland. We assessed the impact of novel habitat on dispersal and its role in allowing transgression of physical barriers. Model renewable energy device sites provided habitat for pelagic larval particles that would otherwise have been lost offshore. They also provided a source of larvae for existing coastal sites. Many offshore devices fulfilled source and destination (or intermediate connection) roles, creating new dispersal pathways, and allowing previously impossible northward dispersal from the Northern Irish coast to Scotland. Synthesis and applications. New habitat close to biogeographical barriers has implications for existing species' distributions and genetic population structure. It also affects the spread of non-native species and 'climate migrants'. Monitoring these sites for the presence of such species will be important in determining the future ecology of coastal habitat and in maintaining economic aquaculture and marina operations. Future model studies should focus on particular species of importance, taking account of their biology and current distribution. © 2013 British Ecological Society. Source

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