Our shared sea

Mechanisms of ecosystem change in the Western Channel

Project Objectives

Creating a cross-channel research network

The principal objective of this project is to create a cross-channel network of research and outreach activities in order to provide stakeholders, schoolchildren and the general public with accessible information on :

  1. coastal and open water ecosystems in the western Channel
  2. the changes which are occurring within these ecosystems as a result of anthropogenic drivers
  3. the ability of these ecosystems to cope with the effects of this human activity.

This research program will address both the resilience of marine organisms and ecosystems to modifications to their environment and the role of human activity in facilitating the invasion of western Channel ecosystems by non-endogenous species.

A special emphasis is being placed on alien species, that is to say non-native species that have become established in the area through human-mediated transport with multiple ecological and economic consequences. Biological introductions are a growing concern in biodiversity management.

Sharing of resources

A major objective of this research program is the sharing of resources that are available on either side of the Channel. These resources include long-term monitoring data, extensive collections of biological resources on both sites, complementary study sites in the field, shared molecular data (such as genome sequences), technical expertise and complementary skills in a broad range of domains including genetics, genomics, cell biology and imagery.

Providing information to limit human impact on the marine enviroment

The program of joint research activities between the laboratories in Plymouth and Roscoff will provide the scientific basis for the development of the proposed communication program.

The long-term objective of the Marinexus project will be to reduce human impact on the marine environment of the Western Channel by increasing awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of marine ecosystems. For the general public, we hope to promote a cultural re-evaluation of this precious resource. The information that the project will provide to stakeholders, such as local government, government agencies and associations, will allow them to make informed decisions about projects or activities that may affect the marine environment. These could include, for example, coastal construction projects, water and energy resource management and dealing with the polluting effects of activities such as agriculture or manufacture.

Strengthening interactions within the cross border area

Geographically, the aim of the project is to create a solid link between two well-defined sites on either side of the Channel, the region around Roscoff in France (the “Pays LĂ©onard”) and the Plymouth area in England.

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