MERP News now available

Published: 08 September 2017

Find out the latest news from the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme

Communicating model outputs

Published: 06 September 2017

My name is Hayley Bannister and I am a postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield under the supervision of MERP's Dr. Tom Webb, Prof. Paul Blackwell, Dr. Julia Blanchard and Dr. Kieran Hyder.   In my PhD I am interested in how we can use computer models to better understand how our environment is likely to change in the future. However, predicting the future is complicated and various types of models can make very different predictions. In the past, a lack of effective...

Modelling jellyfish

Published: 04 September 2017

One of the development goals for the ecosystem model ERSEM (European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model) was improving the representation of mesozooplankton, the grazers that form the first link of the food web within the marine ecosystem. This group includes a multitude of diverse organisms like copepods, krill and jellyfish. Originally that group was represented by one generic organism type that covered the wide array of size and types of species that makes up mesozooplankton. As such, in...

New starter

Published: 01 September 2017

Miriam Grace started a one-year postdoc at the University of Sheffield with Tom Webb in May 2017, taking over from Rémi Vergnon. Her background combines bioinformatics, theoretical biology and biodiversity policy analysis. In addition to data coordination, she is contributing to biodiversity analyses using MERP data, focussing on assessing hotspots and the relationship between different metrics and management in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). She is also helping to target MERP’s work...

Harnessing the MERP community to understand cumulative effects on marine ecosystems

Published: 01 September 2017

The MERP community of researchers and stakeholders encompasses an impressive range of knowledge and understanding of the UK’s marine ecosystems. To address many of the more ecological questions that interest us, we tend to apply this knowledge via a range of scientific and technical routes, typically using some combination of theory and data, statistical and mathematical modelling, observation and experiment. However, as we venture into more complex questions, particularly those...

Connecting fieldwork and laboratory experiments to numerical modelling in a changing marine environment

Published: 31 August 2017

One of the attributes that makes MERP a unique research programme is that we have the explicit aim of combining data with large scale models. Many times this aim is embedded in the work plan of projects, however, communication between data-generating ecologists, our experimentalists and observational researchers, and numerical modellers is not a trivial task. Recognising this challenge, a group of us from both communities wrote a manuscript in which we reflected on our experience of working...

MERP inspires the next generation

Published: 29 August 2017

MERP's Dr Ana Queirós visited the Plymouth School of Creative Arts to talk to children about careers in marine science, highlighting MERP research and the many ways in which art and science can be linked. The students showed enthusiasm and interest in marine ecology research, as well as an impressive level of awareness in topics, such as ocean acidification and even the farming of kelp to combat climate change.  

MERP involved in developing European Marine Board’s policy brief on End-to-End marine ecosystem models

Published: 18 August 2017

In association with the AMEMR 2017 conference in Plymouth, the European Marine Board (EMB) organised an expert workshop on 7th July 2017, hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). The aim of the workshop was to produce community-driven consensus and recommendations concerning R&D gaps and needs for developing realistic End-to-End marine ecosystem models, and supporting their use as tools for ecosystem-based management, in the context of key policy drivers. The workshop was...

Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research

Published: 16 August 2017

The AMEMR (Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research) Conference brings the international ecosystem modelling community together in Plymouth. Organised by a team at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) including Jorn Bruggeman, Icarus Allen and Jess Heard from MERP, AMEMR takes place every three years providing an opportunity to present, discuss and learn about a wide variety of marine modelling challenges, methods, applications and outcomes. AMEMR has a strong focus on the state-of-the...

A rainbow spectrum of zooplankton water content

Published: 16 August 2017

A MERP publication has provided a fresh approach to how we should incorporate the diversity of jellyfish and other zooplankton into our understanding and models of zooplankton. Most of us know about the wonderful variety of shapes and body forms within the plankton, from the massive barrel jellyfish that we have been seeing in the Westountry during the MERP field seasons, right down to the minute forms only visible through a microscope. But for modellers this variety is also a bit of a...

Can fishing make marine ecosystems more susceptible to environmental change?

Published: 16 August 2017

Marine ecosystems are threatened by a range of human impacts, many of which are increasing in severity and occurrence. Over the last century, the use of bottom trawls and other mobile fishing gears have greatly increased in intensity and geographic extent. By coming into contact with the seafloor, these fishing gears can disturb and re-suspend sediments, damage seafloor habitats, reduce the abundance of target and non-target species, and truncate the age and size structures of populations...

Using fishing pressure maps

Published: 15 August 2017

A new report from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has been published with contributions from MERP Module Leader, Prof. Mike Heath.  Following an EU request for guidance on how fishing pressure maps could contribute to habitat assessments and a series of ICES expert group workshops, this report was produced to advise on best-practice use of such maps and recommendations on improved environmental management practices. During the 'Trade-Offs...

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