Marine research impact on the Commonwealth

With the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in London this week (16-20 April), marine science research from the University of Portsmouth is having a major impact in a number of Commonwealth countries.

The research projects cover a wide range of topics such as fishers, conservation, mangroves, pollution, coastal and disaster management in many commonwealth regions across Asia, Pacific, Caribbean/Americas and Africa.

Here are some examples of those projects, involving researches from across the University.

Limnoria – the wood-eating gribble

Limnoria – the wood-eating gribble

Research by Professor Simon Cragg has developed a new enzyme that could prove vital in the quest to turn waste paper, wood and straw into liquid fuel. Professor Cragg is also exploring the role of these marine wood borers in maintaining biodiversity in mangrove ecosystems in Singapore and Saint Lucia.

Dr Pierre Failler has contributed to landmark reports that highlight the options to protect and restore nature and its vital contributions to people in Africa. Dr Failler is also working on a range of projects in Africa, with the Bangladesh government to develop its Blue Economy Strategy and fishery

Dr Pierre Failler

and aquaculture projects in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Alex Ford, Professor of Biology, is researching the effects of pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles in the aquatic environment in India and also testing marine behavioural technologies with Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Professor Ford said: “Here at the Institute of Marine Sciences and throughout many departments in the University of Portsmouth, we are fortunate to have links throughout the commonwealth regions covering most nations.

“These links not only provide excellent research networks to address the worlds important challenges such as clean water and food but equally important provide educational opportunities for our own students and those within the commonwealth.”

Other projects include:

Dr Michelle Hale is working with collaborators in Canada on research into ocean biogeochemistry and the importance of microbial diversity to ecosystem function in marine systems.

Dr Richard Teeuw is currently leading disaster management projects focused on the coastal zones in the Caribbean (Dominica) and the Pacific (Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu). His work has examined the geomorphological change and infrastructure damage in Dominica following Hurricane Maria.

Dr Gordon Watson’s research focuses on the interaction of humans with the marine environment and in particular the marine ornamental trade in Australia.

Dr Trevor Willis leads a wide range of research projects including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in New Zealand, a marine life survey in Australia and shark isotope analysis in South Africa.

Dr Joy Watts is conducting research into Australian marine microbiology.

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