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Carbon in kelp

27 July 2016

As part of module 2, Dr Ana M Queiros and colleagues at PML have run a 30 pulse-chase experiment in the mesocosm to quantify potential trophic and physical routes mediated by sediment dwelling organisms. These organisms are involved in the exchange of kelp-derived carbon between the water column and the sediment and the potential trapping of carbon within the sediment. Through a...

British Science Week

27 July 2016

With help from the MERP British Science Week bursary, PML and local partners ran a week long BSW exhibition at the Plymouth Museum called ‘What’s on the Menu? Life & death in the food web’. Targeted at KS2 students and based around the key MERP themes of food-webs and ecological trade-offs, a record 921 students took part in the interactive activities and received a packed...

PEMSEA Webinar on Valuation of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services

10 June 2016

The term “Ecosystem Services” is increasingly used throughout the domains of both academia and management. However, it is easy to lose sight of both the meaning and purpose of this term. This webinar aims to clarify the cutting edge thinking on what Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services are, and to provide the most recent examples of their application. To provide context the origins...

Aquatic Macroecology Meeting - September 2016

30 March 2016

MERP is supporting the Aquatic Macroecology Meeting which is taking place in London on the 30th September 2016. The main focus of the meeting is to foster the integration of macroecological approaches into the study of aquatic ecosystems. Most predictions about how aquatic systems respond to environmental change require a deep understanding of patterns and processes at different scales. A great...

The Autumn 2015 issue of Fishing Focus

30 October 2015

Fishing Focus is a marine newsletter published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Autumn 2015 issue is now available and can be viewed here.

Density dependence of seabirds

15 October 2015

Managing the effects of environmental change and anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems requires an understanding of how the population dynamics of species are influenced by different types of environmental variation and disturbance. This is particularly important for species that exert considerable influence on system stability and resilience, such as top predators like seabirds...

What's new in 'Linking macroecology and models to ecosystem services' (module 5)

15 October 2015

The last few months have flown by for Module 5 with lots of different activities. After our return from Drymen we firstly collated all the information we gathered into the workshop report (on SharePoint in the ‘Meetings’ folder). Many thanks again to all those present for their useful contributions. One big output was the information we gained about processes and how they feed into...

Understanding biological checks and balances

15 October 2015

At Queen’s University Belfast we have been running experiments and conducting surveys to better understand biological checks and balances. To further our understanding of the determinants of ecosystem stability within marine ecosystems, we have been running two separate experiments at the large mesocosm facility at Queen’s Marine lab. The first set of experiments looks at how the...

Origins of ecosystem services: From Plato to MERP

15 October 2015

Confusion regarding ecosystem service (ES) terminology is broadly acknowledged, both within the MERP community and beyond. Given its infancy and interdisciplinary nature this is not surprising, but it is problematic when working in this field. To overcome this confusion it is worth taking a few minutes to consider the history of ES. The roots of the ES concept are found much further back in...

Size matters! Investigating benthic size spectra

15 October 2015

Studying marine ecosystems is a messy job. For instance, if you were to head out on a survey vessel and haul up some of the seabed, you would be presented with a sample of sediment containing thousands of different species of worms, molluscs and other tiny critters. However, if you were to move just a kilometre away and repeat this, you would likely end up with a very different sample, perhaps...

Rockpool Roadshow blows minds

15 October 2015

Here at Queen’s University Belfast we recently obtained a small grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) with which to do a bit of outreach and science communication—or #scicomm if you’re into Twitter. A big part of our remit was to communicate the work of MERP, as one of several NERC-funded projects Queen’s is involved in. Given that...

Protecting top predators

15 October 2015

Understanding the factors determining the spatial and temporal distribution of marine top-predators (cetaceans and seabirds) remains a key research area, in particular with regard to predicting responses of these communities to both climate change and anthropogenic activities. However, the recent interest in marine protected area (MPA) initiatives and the anticipated growth of the marine...

Sampling plankton in Plymouth

15 October 2015

By MERP scientist Dr Martin Lilley As part of MERP’s module 2 I have been involved in a series of visits to Plymouth Marine Laboratory from my base at Queen Mary University of London. Regular 6-weekly sampling trips are being made to the L4 station, offshore from Plymouth, to collect plankton samples and develop our understanding of the size spectrum present throughout the year in the...

From Pelagia to pilot whales, mippits to minkies

15 October 2015

On October 3rd the RV Cefas Endeavour set sail from Portland to begin surveying pelagic food-webs off the southwest coast of the UK. Fifteen scientists, covering a wide diversity of specialisms joined the research survey which was funded under Defra project POSEIDON with further support from MERP. This is the fifth year of pelagic surveying in this region (known as the ‘PELTIC&rsquo...

Making modelling count

11 September 2015

A new study with many MERP authors was published in Marine Policy this week, highlighting the value of increasing the contribution of shelf-seas community and ecosystem models to policy development and management. Ecosystem models have great potential to support decision-making, however there is limited uptake and use of model products by decision makers in Europe and the UK in comparison...

BBC One Spotlight features MERP jellyfish research

10 July 2015

Jellyfish research carried out by the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, MERP, was featured on a recent episode of BBC One Spotlight. In an interview with MERP scientist Dr Steve Widdicombe (pictured in the image right) at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the BBC team explored the work carried out by the programme to help of understand why jellyfish blooms have been occurring so...

New report reveals public views on ecosystem services and valuing nature

24 June 2015

Public views on the challenges facing policy and decision makers to manage and value the natural environment have been revealed in a project published today on the Valuing Nature website. The ‘Naturally Speaking…’ public dialogue was commissioned to explore how concepts such as ecosystem services and the Ecosystem Approach reflect public aspirations for environmental policy...

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