Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory: projects/activities

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Displaying: 1 - 13 of 13
1. Climate Change and Competitive Interactions

The effects of climate change in a dynamic competitive interaction between two or more species can be bought about either as direct responses of species to change or indirectly through effects on competing species. Intertidal barnacles are ideal model organisms to test these alternative causal mechanisms, being easily censussed and directly competing for space. Single- and multi- species models will be developed for barnacles in SW England to determine whether direct or indirect mechanisms better predict responses to change. The models will include functions for space-limitation, environmental influence and, in the latter models, functions for interspecific competition. Historical data from a network of sites collected over a 40-year period will be used to develop and test the models.

Climate variability Spatial trends Climate change Biodiversity Temporal trends Ecosystems
2. Reducing the environmental impact of sea cage fish farming through the cultivation of seaweeds

Although the most visible effect of fish cage aquaculture is the output of particulate organic waste, 80% of the total nutrient losses from fish farming are plant-available as potentially eutrophicating substances. This project will assess the ability of commercially important seaweeds, cultivated in the immediate vicinity of caged fish, to reduce the impact of such nutrient releases. The algae cultivated in high nutrient sites will be tested as a food source for humans and for cultivated shellfish, and a model of the distribution of dissolved contaminants from sea-cage fish farms will be developed to predict the impact of introducing algal cultivation at any site.

Pathways Biological effects Fish Spatial trends Environmental management Contaminant transport Food webs Sediments Pesticides Temporal trends Ecosystems
3. Environmental sensitivity of cold water corals

Distribution • What is the current distribution of coral colonies in the North Sea? • Where are coral colonies located on the structures? • Do any colonies show evidence of exposure to drill cuttings? Monitoring & Environmental Recording • What hydrodynamic regime and levels of suspended particulate material are coral colonies exposed to? • Does the coral skeleton retain an archive of any past contamination? • Does skeletal growth vary over time and does this correlate with any past contamination? • How variable is the rate of coral growth and does this correlate with any environmental variables? Environmental Sensitivity • What effect does increased sediment load have on coral behaviour and physiology? • What effect does exposure to discharges (e.g. cuttings and produced water) have on coral behaviour and physiology? • Are such exposures realistic in the field?

Shelf seas Biological effects Pollution sources Environmental management Contaminant transport Petroleum hydrocarbons Oceanography Biodiversity Local pollution Ecosystems
4. Development of monitoring guidelines and modelling tools for environmental effects from Mediterranean aquaculture (MERAMED)

1. To undertake a review of procedures used in the regulation and monitoring of marine cage fish farms in Norway, Scotland and elsewhere to be used as the basis for creating an appropriate set of protocols, monitoring systems and techniques for the control of such farms in Mediterranean conditions 2. To carry out a field research programme to provide appropriate data on the environmental impact of marine cage fish farms in a range of conditions in the eastern Mediterranean. 3. To develop a predictive model to simulate the environmental response at Mediterranean sea cage farms to differing cage stocking levels and feeding regimes. This will be designed as a management tool for both the industry and regulatory authorities.

Biological effects Sources Aquaculture Mapping Discharges Pollution sources Environmental management Contaminant transport Modelling Local pollution Sediments Ecosystems
5. Marine biodiversity and climate change (MARCLIM)

1. To use a combination of archival and contemporary data to develop and test hypotheses on the impact of climatic change on rocky intertidal animals and plants. 2. Forecast future community changes based on Met. Office Hadley centre models and UKCIP models. 3. Establish a low-cost fit-for-purpose network to enable regular updates of climatic impact projections. 4. Assess and report likely consequences of predicted changes on coastal ecosystems. To provide general contextual time-series data to support marine management and monitoring. 5. Evaluate use of intertidal indicator species as sustainability indices. Disseminate the results as widely as possible. 6. Provide a basis for the development of a pan-European monitoring network.

Climate variability Spatial trends Environmental management Climate change Biodiversity Temporal trends Ecosystems
6. Oceanographic Applications to Eutrophication in Regions of Restricted Exchange (OAERRE)

1. Observations of the physics of vertical and open boundary exchange in Regions of Restricted Exchanges (REEs), leading to improved parameterisation of these processes in research and simplified models. 2. Study of the phytoplankton and pelagic micro-heterotrophs responsible for production and decomposition of organic material, and of sedimentation, benthic processes and benthic-pelagic coupling, in RREs, with the results expressed as basin-scale parameters. 3. Construction of closed budgets and coupled physical-biological research models for nutrient (especially nitrogen) and organic carbon cycling in RREs, allowing tests of hypotheses about biogeochemistry, water quality and the balance of organisms. 4. Construction of simplified 'screening' models for the definition, assessment and prediction of eutrophication, involving collaboration with 'end-users', and the use of these models to analyse the costs and benefits of amelioration scenarios.

Pathways Biological effects Sources Catchment studies Spatial trends Pollution sources Environmental management Contaminant transport Local pollution Sediments Temporal trends Ecosystems Eutrophication
7. Development of Elasmobranch Assessments (DELASS)

1. The improvement of the scientific basis for the management of fisheries taking elasmobranch species by: a)Species Identification /biological sampling b)Stock discrimination / separation c)Data compliation and exchange d)Data preparation, stock assessment & species vulnerability

Shelf seas Fish Spatial trends Environmental management Biodiversity Ecosystems Marine mammals
8. BIOFiltration & AQuaculture: an evaluation of hard substrate deployment performance with mariculture developments

1. To quantify the effectiveness of the biofilters in reducing the impacts of mariculture across Europe from both an economic and environmental perspective. 2. To determine the best design and placements of the biofilters, accounting for differences in geography, hydrology, nutrient input etc. between countries. 3. To examine the environmental and regulatory options governing the use of the biofilters at the end of their life-span and to provide detailed economic analyses of biofilter use compared to existing filtration methods.

Biological effects Fish Discharges Pollution sources Environmental management Contaminant transport Modelling Local pollution Food webs Sediments Diet Ecosystems
9. Marine artificial habitat manipulation: predicition and measurement of environmental impacts

1. To establish an environmental monitoring regieme during and following the period of reef complex construction using, where possible, the same static monitoring sites and transects established during the pre-deployment research, in addition to new stations 2. To develop and test models that will predict ecosystem changes caused by artifical habitat manipulation. The main model will examine whole ecosystem changes. Other models will examine hydrological profile alterations, habitat fractal dimensions and socio-economic cost benefit analysis.

Fish Environmental management Biodiversity Food webs Temporal trends Ecosystems
10. Diversity and function of the bacterial flora of the toxic alga Gymnodinium catenatum Graham

1. To descirbe and compare the phylogenetic diversity and distribution of the total bacterial flora associated with G catenatum cysts and vegetative cells. 2. To culture and identify bacteria from G catenatum, and identify/characterise any bacteria capable of autonomous PST production in G. catenatum 3. To examine the effect of cyst surface sterilisation and re-introduction of bacteria on PST production in G catenatum 4. Survey bacteria for quorum sensing capability (cell signaling) and detect in situ quorum sesing in xenic G. catenatum cultures, relating to toxicity development. 5. Develop molecular markers of cross species quorum sensing, facilitating analysis of quorum sensing in uncultivated bacteria.

Pathways Biological effects Sources Fish Environmental management Food webs Human health Ecosystems Human intake
11. Correlation between algal presence in water and toxin presence in shellfish

1. Analysis of existing data from the current shellfish monitoring programmes in order to design a suitable sampling strategy 2. Ideentification of toxic algal species in UK waters 3. Construction of a detailed time-series at several key sites in the UK for toxic phytoplankton and shellfish toxin occurence 4. Comparison of the genotype versus toxicity of suspected toxic species between sites

Pathways Biological effects Algal Biology Fish Contaminant transport Exposure Food webs Ecosystems Human intake
12. Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study (ACES)

Objective 1: To map the structural and genetic variability, the framework-constructing potential, and the longevity of Deep Water Coral (DWC) ecosystems Objective 2: To assess hydrographic and other local physical forcing factors affecting Benthic Boundary Layer (BBL) sediment particle dynamics and POC supply in the vicinity of DWC ecosystems Objective 3: To describe the DWC ecosystem, its dynamics and functioning; investigate coral biology and behaviour and assess coral sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic stressors Objective 4: To assign a sensitivity code, identify the major conservation issues (and increase public awareness), and make recommendations for the sustainable use of the DWC ecosystem

Mapping Fish Environmental management Oceanography Biodiversity Corals Ecosystems
13. The ecological effects of sealice treatment agents

1. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on macrofaunal assemblages 2. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on zooplankton assemblages 3. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on meiofaunal assemblages 4. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on benthic diatom assemblages 5. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on phytoplankton assemblages 6. To determine the effects of each of several sealice treatment chemicals on macroalgal and littoral assemblages 7. To measure the concentrations of each of several sea lice treatment chemicals in the environment post-treatment 8. To determine the significant correlations between ecosystem responses, time and therapeutant concentration to determine the proportion of the observed environmental variance attributal to the treatments against a background of responses due to other parameters such as waste organic materials and nutrients 9. To model the dispersion and or depostion of farm wastes including of each of several sea lice treatment chemicals in the marine environment post treatment and to incorporate terms relating to the toxicity of these chemicals to certain parts of the ecosystem (e.g. the macrofauna)

Biological effects Hydrography Mapping Fish Discharges Environmental management Contaminant transport Modelling Food webs Sediments Pesticides Diet Ecosystems