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As the song famously goes – Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! But our seas and oceans are rapidly changing due to the activity of humans over the last 200 years. In this event, we will look at how the oceans are changing and the impact that this has on the life within it, as well what opportunities the oceans may still present us with, but at what cost...?
What’s happening to the algae?
There are excess nutrients in our coastal waters, from sources such as fertilisers and wastewater, which can result in increased blooms of algae. These increased blooms can have negative effects on water quality. Efforts have been made to reduce inputs, but it has been more successful for some nutrients than others. This means that the ratio of nutrients is changing, which can have impacts on the composition of algae. This talk will explore these changes and discuss why it’s important to understand them.
What’s going on in the seabed? A carbon tale
The ocean can sequester and store carbon thereby mitigating the effects of climate change by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The seabed contributes to this service which benefits all. But considering how busy the marine space is becoming, the carbon stored in the seabed may be at risk. This talk will explore the economic value of potential anthropogenic damages to carbon sinks in shelf seas and will illustrate the main risks, but also the opportunities, this carbon and blue carbon may face in the future.
A science tea break
Dr Stefanie Nolte (Lecturer in Marine Ecosystem Services)
Over the last century we emitted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and now realised that we should reduce it again. Coastal ecosystems such as salt marshes can help! Their vegetation take up carbon dioxide, but when they die, part of the dead leaves remain in the soil. These decompose very slowly, which means carbon is stored in the soil for a long time. But will they continue to store carbon if global warming increases decomposition? To find out, we asked colleagues around the world to bury dead leaves in little nylon mesh bags for us ... so they buried 2000 tea bags!