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MERP News now available

08 September 2017

Find out the latest news from the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme

Communicating model outputs

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...

Modelling jellyfish

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...

New starter

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...

Harnessing the MERP community to understand cumulative effects on marine ecosystems

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...

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

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...

MERP inspires the next generation

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...

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

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...

Advances in Marine Ecosystem Modelling Research

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...

A rainbow spectrum of zooplankton water content

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...

Can fishing make marine ecosystems more susceptible to environmental change?

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...

Using fishing pressure maps

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...

Ecopath with Ecosim training course

15 August 2017

An introductory 'Ecopath with Ecosim' course was run at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on the 27th - 29th June. Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is one of the models being used by MERP scientists to help develop a computational overview of the complex and dynamic marine ecosystems around the UK. The training course had participants from Scotland (two planning to...

Soapbox Science

15 August 2017

It was by chance that the invitation to contribute to the Exeter Soapbox Science event caught my eye in January. Twelve female scientists presenting their research in a busy shopping area of Exeter to the general public on a Saturday afternoon… what a great idea! I applied for one of the positions and soon was off to a training event in Exeter where we were introduced to each other,...

Stakeholder workshops

08 August 2017

A series of stakeholder workshops were organised for the MERP case study sites in southwest England and the west coast of Scotland, in order to develop scenarios that reflect ambitions for marine management, conservation and blue growth and to evaluate how these drivers might affect ecosystem services. Changes in national and local priorities (not least as a result of, for example, Brexit...

Note from the Principal Investigator

08 August 2017

With a little less than a year to go for most of the major elements of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP), we should be making progress towards our scientific goals on all fronts. We are planning our Annual Science Meeting for October in Sheffield, and I look forward to seeing how all the elements of the programme are developing and delivering their findings by that time. This has...

MERP News now available

01 March 2017

Find out the latest news from the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme

Aquatic Macroecology Meeting

17 February 2017

MERP were co-sponsors of the Aquatic Macroecology Meeting at Charles Darwin House, London on September 30th 2016, organised by the British Ecological Society’s Aquatic and Macroecology Groups, which included MERP scientists Nessa O’Connor (QUB) and Tom Webb (Sheffield). The meeting included talks from world-leading experts in the development and application of macroecological tools,...

Annual Science Meeting held in York

16 February 2017

MERP held its Annual Science Meeting (ASM) in York on 4-6 October 2016. As the programme is approximately at its half-way point, there was a clear shift in emphasis compared to previous ASMs, from discussions of work to be done and how to do it to presentations of results and plans for work to be delivered by the end of the programme. This was also reflected in the overarching theme of the...

Mapping the majestic marine mammals

15 February 2017

People often think that because marine mammals are an iconic group in the eyes of the public, receiving a lot of media attention, they are well protected. Unfortunately that is not the case. As keystone species in the marine environment, they can not only shape ecosystems but also be particularly vulnerable to perturbations. Marine mammals face a wide variety of human pressures. For centuries...

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