Ortac units (boxes that swing in the intertidal zone) are being prepared for deployment to kick-start this spring session of growth and monitoring. The units consisting of native European oysters will be appropriately stocked and monitored over an 18-month period.
Expectations are to measure the collective results against the project targets for water quality improvement and commercial viability.
At this time it is fitting to recognise and build on the important work led by Dr Joanne Preston and the University of Portsmouth, published in the European Native Oyster Habitat Restoration Handbook, which provides practical guidance for large restoration projects and how they can achieve ecological, economical and social benefits through collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and traditional knowledge.
What a difference a worm makes! Although somewhat delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, the University of Portsmouth have run the first part of the marine worm aquaculture feed experiment
We monitored the performance of two different species of marine worm (Alitta Virens and Hediste Diversicolor) to see which one fed more successfully on algal mats. In total, there were 108 boxes with sediment and worms, split by species and density; totaling 27 different treatments
Species were fed a mixture of low and high density algal mats and feeding behaviour was monitored over a six week period. Then each tank was sieved and each worm was measured to assess change in biomass. Results to follow soon!
Staff at Portsmouth, CEVA, UCN and Bournemouth University have started both the monthly and seasonal sampling of the algal mats in their area.
These mats are cleaned and sent to processed so we can look at carbon and nitrates in the mats themselves, as well as any benthic species living in them.
Sediment samples are also being taken so we can understand the benthic communities that live under the mats over a seasonal timescale.
They are also being sent off for genetic analysis – there are over 10 different green algal species in the UK that look remarkably similar!
Our seaweed (Saccharina Latissimi) farming work is being delivered by Aleor. Locations for seaweed farming are being evaluated to achieve optimum performance.
In the summer, sites will be prepared by Aleor for deployment in September in order to capture and cycle nutrients during the autumn and winter growth periods.
These efforts are expected to contribute towards important practical information that will guide bio-remediation expectations and commercial realities.