Student Outputs 2014-2015
Robert Andrew Plankton communities are not only at the base of all ecosystems within the marine environment, but also exist as the first frontier in the lifecycles of many ecologically & commercially important benthic (seabed) species, such as shellfish, kelps & corals – via which they disperse their eggs & offspring. It is hoped that in undertaking research and, ultimately, a recommendation in onshore plankton sampling that we can increase our understanding of ecological dynamics associated with not just the littoral zone of all marine environments, but also those of an estuarine nature. This research may have many additional applications, namely the consideration & inclusion of ‘citizen science’, in which schools, conservation groups & other non-scientific communities can become involved.
Anthony Brown I want to find out if electromagnetic fields from offshore wind farms have any effect on the behaviour of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish. In order to do this I will create a small lab based experiment that will expose Lesser Spotted Dogfish to small electromagnetic fields. If these small electromagnetic fields prove to have any effect on the behaviour of this species, then the much larger electromagnetic fields will certainly have an effect on these species and many other elasmobranch species.
Maria Carbin In my experiment, I have extracted common mussels from the Greenbank Hotel area in Falmouth and categorised them by age using the morphological features of the shell. I then used spectrometry to identify the concentrations of certain heavy metals within them. Heavy metals are sourced from carbon emissions and surface run-off, which can originate from the farms and boats around or within the Fal. There have also been multiple chemical spills over the years in the area. I hypothesised that older mussels will have a greater heavy metal concentration, due to their presence during such events.My objectives are to evaluate the long-term implications heavy metal concentrations in an estuarine environment. I also aim to study the impacts of heavy metals on common mussels around the Fal estuary, and to discover whether age has a significant impact on their welfare.
Rachel Collingham The aim of my project was to discover whether distance estimation of Physeter macrocephalus, sperm whales, using passive acoustic monitoring is reliable enough to use in mitigation circumstances. Passive acoustic monitoring is used on vessels, to aid visual observations and in times of poor visibility, when practices are being carried out that could potentially cause harm or disturbance to cetaceans.
Harry Evans Climate change is quickly becoming a concerning reality. With observed records of an increase in both surface ocean temperatures and pH something must be done to prevent, or at least limit the consequences. This project aims to understand what an increase in Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations has on 4 major water chemistry components; pH, Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), phosphate (PO4) and nitrate (NO3).
Emma Griffin For my project I decided to compare the growth rates of Hippocampus abdominalis (the Big Bellied Seahorse) within different aquaria. Research had been conducted into previous studies based on the H.abdominalis and some of the studies found that were interesting were the affects of lighting on growth rates and the effect of growth rates in comparison to food ratio. I did not find any previous studies of growth rates based on aquaria shape and so I decided to do this for my project.
Rebecca Knee St Clements Island in Mousehole is a haul out site for Halichoerus grypus, Grey Seals.My project aim was to assess the effect the tidal range has on the haul out numbers of the seals at the island, by comparing and analysing their haul out behaviour in springs, neaps and mid range tides.
The seal sightings data was collected from Marine Discovery trips and direct observations from Mousehole when the weather would allow, creating a year round data set. The data collected included the time and their position (latitude & longitude) and related environmental variables that could be influential, such as tidal state, beaufort wind and sea state.
Hector Lindars My project is to understand and test the zonation and positioning on a variety of local anemone species within an intertidal environment. The zonation of anemones can be related to how exposed that region is in relation to wave intensity/frequency and tidal influences. Physiological, morphological and behavioural adaptations distinguish different species of anemones between their vertical distribution patterns. In my attempt to understand how species of anemone react to different levels of exposure I aimed to study this within a controlled environment. My experiment phase of this project was carried out within a laboratory environment using three species of anemone (Snakelock (Anemonia viridis), Beadlet (Actinia equina) and Strawberry (Actinia fragacea).
Ancia Nalus For my research project, I will be aiming to find out what the relationship is between ocean fronts and basking shark sightings. I looked at satellite readings of thermal fronts based on the areas where basking sharks were seen and compared frontal activity to the number of sharks sighted. My data was collected by Marine Discovery Penzance and is comprised of 7 years of data, from April 2007 to June 2014. This data was analysed by Peter Miller at Plymouth Marine Lab using an algorithm that assessed the sightings in comparison to the distance to the nearest thermal front, the intensity of the front, the stability of the front and the whether or not the sightings were on the mixed or stratified side of the front.
Charlie Simms I am producing a report detailing the uses, history, limitations and ecology of A. salina and other species of brine shrimp with a specific focus on the aquatics industry and its long standing, close relationship with Artemia sp. as a food source for larger organisms as well as being an organism cultured itself, i.e. the ‘Sea-Monkey’ craze of the 1970’s which inspired so many young aquarists at the time. Within the report I will outline and go into detail about every aspect of the lifecycle, ecology, taxonomy and utility as a resource of Artemia salina.
Shea Bayley What Role Marine snow has on the Deep sea Benthic
The deep-sea Benthos environment is one of harsh conditions and until the late 1960's was considered close to lifeless however more recent study has shown that despite what was previously thought the deep-sea Benthos is a productive and biodiverse habitat with a considerable food web and also a range of unique and previously undiscovered species ranging from large apex predators to deep sea corals.
Marney Boase My Project is a paper based review relating to the genetic impacts on native D.labrax populations when the genetically modified cultured individuals are artificially introduced.With the population of our planet growing rapidly and the demand for food rising parallel to it, the planets wild caught fish stocks are declining at a critical rate. To relieve pressure of these fish species, Aquaculture has developed quickly and is now responsible for almost 50% of the world’s fish intake. As terrestrial arable land is now also on the decline aquaculture is currently seen as the only way we can feed our expanding population.
George Clarke My project is going to look the Mackerel found off the Cornish coats lines. I am looking to see if the parasites found within this species of fish will differ from either side of the coast line. Key aspects have been taken into consideration, for example the length, dorsal fin, pectoral fins, pelvic fin, and anal fin have all been measured and have been assessed as to whether the size has an influencing factor on the parasites found within the body of the fish. By assessing the size and weight, it has enabled me to make an estimation of age, this variable has also been considered as an influencing factor.
Robert Daniels The project that I have undertook is measuring how much suspended solids Native oysters (Ostrea edulis) can filter. This project will hopefully give insight on how useful Oysters are in terms of cleaning up heavily eutrophic areas. The results that are collected should provide information showing that Oysters are an important species in cleaning up eutrophic areas.
Emily Dragon The aim of my project is to investigate consumer preferences in the way we source and taste seafood. Many popular fish stocks that are commonly consumed in the UK are currently under threat from over-fishing and destructive fishing methods. I decided to undertake a blind taste trial with Haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, which is popular in the UK and a less common sustainably farmed option of Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio. I chose these species primarily due to their popularity and sustainability factors to evaluate whether a group of volunteers could enjoy a more sustainable option when tested against a popular competitor
Tom Evans My project aim is to observe whether farmland used for dairy products is likely to have a direct increase of faecal coliforms and specifically E. coli populations to a water body. This is likely to be influenced through two main factors waste produced by the dairy cattle and therefore the amount of cattle and feed given to cattle and the weather, heavy rain fall will probably result in increased run off from the land. Run off is the movement of land water to rivers, estuary’s and oceans, run off often carries contents that can affect the water body it is introduced to, in this case we are looking for faecal coliforms. The study is being done by testing water passing by a dairy farm at three stages, before it reaches the farm, at the farm and after the farm when it is further downstream.
Nick Greenhigh My second year project examines how different Cigarette butts affect the mortality rate of Artemia salina (brine shrimp) species, to show the impact Cigarette waste has on the mortality of organisms within the marine environment. This is an important project considering the current abuse of the local habitat and the severity just a little waste can cause.
Grace Halliday The research into aggressive behavior between anemones will be conducted by placing 2 anemones of the same species (2 snake locks anemones) into a tank and then feeding optimum food ration for a week and closely monitoring the behavior, after a week of optimum feeding, feeding will completely stopped and behavior and movement will be monitored . The aggression/movement will be noted by using ethograms documenting the frequency of different behaviors and taking video footage of the behavior as evidence for the ethogram. Movement will be monitored by taking measurements using a ruler . Previous studies have noted the following behaviors as aggressive indicators: Tentacle fighting, Acrorhagi showing (Acrorhagi is a specialised biological feature that is used to release toxins and show aggression to non-clone mates).
Oliver Leach The invisible problem... Increasingly, plastic pollution continues to be a problem within the ocean, having consequential effects on the food chain. The oceans are becoming contaminated with plastics and can lead to filter feeders ingesting them on a microscopic scale. Once they have been ingested, the pollutants are in the food chain and can have effects all the way up to humans.
Ben Lowe It has long been established that beach morphology is dependent on wave steepness and wave energy. Medium term studies show that sediment is moved offshore with high energy, steep waves created by winter storms and returned on shore during periods of shallow waves typical of summer conditions. The reality is more complex, with periods of erosion and accretion throughout the year depending principally on wave characteristics among many other influences. This study aims to investigate the links between daily sediment volume changes and the wave spectra that cause these changes.
Tom Vincent Assessing the impact of wave exposure on the intertidal gastropod Gibbula umbilicalis (da Costa, 1778), a comparison between sheltered and exposed shores.
Three sites were chosen on the South coast of Cornwall within 10km of one another that aside from wave exposure are morphologically and ecologically similar. Site 1 is an East facing area of rocky shore in Falmouth bay that experiences significantly increased levels of wave action throughout the winter months. Site 2 is an area of rocky shore in the Helford estuary with year round shelter from wave action, as is Site 3 that was chosen as the control site in the Fal estuary.