University of Portsmouth researchers' work to protect global ecosystems could boost the Solent
RESEARCHERS based at the University of Portsmouth will play a vital role in the protection of some of the world's most precious ecosystems as part of a global effort that could in turn benefit wildlife in the Solent.
Three faculty members have been tasked with investigating the conditions of marine ecosystems in the Caribbean, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans in order to create model for sustainable development in those areas.
Combined with the work of the project's partners, including those based in Portugal, Germany, Spain and France, it is hoped this could help minimise the impact of man-made issues such as climate change, habitat destruction and pollution.
One of the city researchers, Professor Pierre Failler - who is director of the centre for blue governance at the University of Portsmouth, said: 'Our knowledge on ecosystem conditions is limited, but this information is crucial when it comes to understanding the trends in ecosystem services changes over time.
'Climate change and human-led pressures on coastal ecosystems have globally led to a decline in ecosystems’ quality, so we need to understand what indicators can be used to describe an ideal ecosystem and its optimum functioning.'
Although the project, known as Move On, is focused on overseas EU territories, if successful a similar approach could be taken with ecosystems in the UK including the Solent.
Research fellow at the university, Ewan Tregarot, added: 'The Solent area supports an extensive network of coastal and marine habitats, including seagrass beds and salt marshes, which are two of the most efficient marine ecosystems in removing carbon, and in mitigating the effects of climate change.
'Marine habitats in the Solent are under severe stress from coastal development, pollution, and climate change. The transfer of knowledge acquired in Move On from the European overseas territories to the Solent area could help to preserve its biodiversity and ecosystem services.'
PhD student Cindy Cornet is also part of the team at the university.
The Move On project will launch in 2020 and run for three years.
It has received €1.5m funding as a continuation of the European Union’s Med Atlantic Ecobonus project.