TRIF Fellowship Joanne Preston

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively


My research aligns most closely with the water theme, but is also relevant to both clean growth and smart cities and sustainability themes. The native oyster, Ostrea edulis is a benthic filter feeding bivalve that once dominated the coastal waters of Europe. Its current distribution is now a fraction of reported historic levels across Europe, a trend reflected globally - approximately 85% of the world’s oyster populations and their associated habitat have been lost, resulting in coastal degradation due to the concurrent loss of the ecosystem services oysters provide. These services include increasing habitat complexity, fish biomass, benthic biodiversity and improving water quality via nitrogen and dissolved organic matter removal. The ecological and economic importance of this species within coastal temperate environments is highlighted by its inclusion within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP 1999). Restoration of oyster habitat aligns with UN sustainable development goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, and this research is inextricably linked with sustainable fishery management, food security and water quality management in densely populated coastal zones. Portsmouth has a long heritage of oyster fishing and there are significant cultural and social benefits associated with restoring this habitat and its sustainable use.