The collection of work we do at RaNTrans are essential to understand coastal water quality problems and how solutions can be implemented, and we have been busy since the start date.

So let’s kick off more updates on recent highlights and we are starting with all things macro-algae and seaweed !

Macro-Algae Biomass Variations and Suitable Site Identification – UCN

Now, lets’ get technical and talk about data! Research conducted by the University of Caen Normandy (UCN) along the Gefosse coast (Jan-Oct 2020) demonstrated interesting temporal variations in macroalgae biomass with summer months displaying relatively low biomasses where they would typically be at their highest. While investigations in species variation saw the spring months being dominated by red seaweed, the summer by green and winter by brown. UCN’s morphology and molecular research identified the green species Ulva rigida, Ulva asutralis and Umbaulva dangeradii present on the coast.

Other work conducted by UCN identified Baie des Veys and its’ associated estuary as a suitable site to investigate novel mechanical methods for agal mat removal thanks to its regular and large algal mat strandings. This area is very important because it supports high amounts of oyster stocks (10-200t). Research on macroalgae coverage in sites of Grancamp-Maise is showing massive fluctuations between years in wet weight abundance, ranging from 20,000-60,000t, this continues to impact access and use of the beach by local communities.

Algal Biomass Abundance and Collection – Bournemouth University (BU)

Across the channel in England, our researchers at Bournemouth University identified two suitable locations within Poole Harbour to collect monthly samples of macroalgae to assess biomass abundance. The team also decided to analyse macroinvertebrate communities present within these samples and in the sediments below.  The algal mat samples are being collected using a grid quadrat collection system and are then batched and preserved for identification. It’s thought that the rare species Ulva lacinulata is among some of the identified species within these batches! Tough job but exciting results. Well, done guys.

Historical Seaweed Data and Hydrodynamic Modelling – CEFAS

Our partners at Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have been looking at historical seaweed coverage data provided by the Environment Agency (EA) to identify suitable seaweed habitats. This data was also helpful in creating a hydrodynamic model (pattern of water flow) which is revealing useful information about; coastal depth variation, seabed type, bed stress and much more!

CEFAS is also investigating hydrodynamic connectivity, to show the nutrient pollution pathways and impacts across various rivers and intertidal mudflat areas. These results are vital in protecting areas of special importance for wildlife.

Now let’s look at the research surrounding oysters, water quality, and bioremediation. Let’s go…

Water Quality and Macroalgae Bioremediation – UCN

Remember, earlier we spoke about University of Caen Normandy’s (UCN) research into macroalgae biomass and site suitability, well they are also involved in our bioremediation and water quality work! UCN are conducting technical and experimental work in their laboratories to research the macroalgae growth and bioremediation capability of seaweed. UCN are investigating experimental parameters such as light (photoperiod), NH4 (nitrogen content of ammonia) and seaweed type (red and green). The monitoring of uptake, growth rates and physiological changes in health is ongoing.

UCN’s water quality work so far is looking at investigating water quality parameters that influence macroalgae and shellfish ecology (growth and survival). Samples are being collected monthly and bi-monthly from the Baie de Seine and Baie de Veys respectively using a high frequency sonde (called the SMILETM). Using the SMILETM buoys, water quality parameters and their connections with nitrates-NO3, temperature, salinity, and many other conditions are being investigated.

Water Quality and Oyster Bioremediation – Bournemouth University

Our researchers at Bournemouth University are also busy investigating nutrient concentrations within the waters in our Poole Harbour sites (Holes Bay). There was a special focus on understanding N-nitrates concentrations in relation to changing parameters such as seasonal differences and rainfall, and the impacts as this rainfall drains into intertidal waters and surrounding coastal areas. The data collected so far already has our researchers excited as it both supports and challenges the current understanding of water quality in these areas, highlighting the importance of having sound and robust evidence!

Investigations into the nutrient bioremediation potential of oysters by Bournemouth and Portsmouth Universities started well and continue to provide important data for the research. The oyster species Crassostrea gigas (cupped oyster) and Ostrea edulis (flat oyster) were installed at the universities associated sites in different lots to compare between the species and their rearing systems. The project was slightly delayed due to logistical challenges in transporting the oyster samples for processing in France, however with this overcome, we are expecting updates regarding this project in the future!

⏰Save the Date! ⏰RaNTrans is hosting a workshop at @portsmouthuni on November 3rd and 4th 2022. Register your interest here –

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