EVMT Sponsor Seagrass “Blue Carbon” Research Project
EVMT has agreed to sponsor and provide Association for Project Management (APM) based project management assurance and personal development support to a PhD project being undertaken by Aisling Collins (pictured below) at Swansea University. The research project aims to understand through surveying and experimentation the interactions that seagrass in the UK has with greenhouse gases and how different environmental parameters, habitat types, and anthropogenic disturbances can affect this.
Seagrass meadows are highly effective at acting as carbon sinks, however these widely acclaimed nature-based solutions to climate change also produce greenhouse gases in the form of methane. Understanding the balance between these sources and sinks of Greenhouse Gases will help facilitate more informed decisions regarding the use of seagrass as a potential counter to climate change. The factors driving the storage of carbon and the production of methane are poorly understood. There are gaps in current research regarding the level of carbon sequestered per year by seagrass meadows in the UK and whether environmental and anthropogenic disturbances can impact this. Furthermore, there is also a lack of research with regards to the flux of methane within seagrass meadows, particularly with varying species and habitat types.
The funding provided will help to run field and laboratory assessments for sediment carbon and in water production of methane and enable the purchase of materials and consumables to build and operate underwater domes that can be used for headspace analysis of methane. In addition to these methane related assessments an assessment of the storage and sequestration rate of carbon in UK seagrass will be undertaken with detailed analysis at Queen’s Belfast University.
The project will examine case study sites in Anglesey, Lindisfarne and Loch Craignish and will work with partners at Natural Resources Wales, SeaWilding, Natural England and NatureScot. The research project will be supervised by Dr Richard Unsworth and Professor Kam Tang (Swansea University), Dr Claire Evans (National Oceanographic Centre) and Dr Richard Lilley (Project Seagrass). EVMT’s Managing Director, Dr Mark Townley, will provide project management guidance and support over two years as part of the sponsorship arrangement.