University of Portsmouth Environment Network
Organisational unit: University Network
One of the main benefits of this interdisciplinary network is the broad scope of expertise, knowledge and techniques which can be drawn upon for informing research. Research projects running across the network aim to address key societal challenges in the space of sustainability and the environment whilst incorporating many different fields and disciplines.
OUR CURRENT PROJECTS
Could an artificial coral reef protect marine biodiversity against climate changes?
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth are helping to build an artificial reef that could protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea against climate change. The reef is made of small plastic structures that mimic natural coralline algae (algae with calcium carbonate structures), which have a similar ecological function to corals.
University joins major project to manage global overfishing
The FarFish project aims to improve the sustainability and profitability of the European fishing fleet operating outside European waters. It brings together 21 organisations and agencies across Europe, Africa and South America, in addition to a number of international organisations to improve EU fisheries and examine overfishing across the globe.
Science spins truth out of resilient worms
Worms, it appears, are good at keeping secrets. Scientists from the University of Portsmouth are now confident that fossils of some soft-bodied creatures may not be telling the truth about where they came from. Fossils of creatures like worms are rare, because they are delicate and often decay too fast to leave a clear imprint in the sediment where they die.
Life on terra firma began with an invasion
New research at the University of Portsmouth also paints a clear picture of how animals rapidly spread out and changed once they made the leap. The first study to use trace fossils – the footprints of animal behaviour such as tracks and burrows – shows how a major evolutionary step for the Earth, the colonisation of land, took place.
Improving the biodiversity of green roofs
Using living organisms such as bacteria or fungi, as an alternative to chemical fertilisers, can improve the soil biodiversity of green roofs, according to new research from the University of Portsmouth. Green roofs are covered with plants and vegetation and are increasingly used in cities to make buildings more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. However, high winds, prolonged UV exposure and unpredictable water availability mean that many green roofs lack nutrients, which can limit plant growth and the biodiversity of soil organisms, which are responsible for the quality of nutrients in the soil.
University and Southern Water collaborate on wastewater research project
The University of Portsmouth is set to embark on a collaborative partnership with Southern Water to tackle some of the challenges faced by small rural sewage works. The three-year project will assess phosphorous removal technologies, which can be problematic for smaller sewage works due to stringent rules and high costs. This collaboration is based around the University Environmental Technology Field Station at Petersfield Wastewater Treatment Works. Portsmouth is the only university in the UK to have a research field station at a full scale operational sewage works.
Gribble enzyme might be holy grail for biofuel
Scientists at the Universities of Portsmouth and York have discovered a new enzyme that could prove vital in the quest to turn waste paper, wood and straw into liquid fuel. Prof Simon Cragg and Dr John McGeehan, from Portsmouth, and colleagues made their discovery after examining the gut of gribbles – a tiny marine wood-borer which destroys seaside piers.
Wildlife abundant at Chernobyl
Humans are worse for wildlife than nuclear disaster, according to the first long-term study at Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, which found wildlife was thriving. An international group of scientists coordinated by Professor Jim Smith from the University of Portsmouth’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences published their findings in Current Biology today.
New brain-altering parasite discovered
A new species of brain-altering parasite has been discovered in Hampshire by University of Portsmouth scientists. A study led by marine biologist Dr Alex Ford found that amphipod shrimps in Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth, were infected with worm-like parasites that changed the shrimps’ behaviour to make them swim into the light, where they were more likely to be eaten by birds.
‘Dragon thief’ dinosaur named
The skeleton of the earliest Jurassic dinosaur ever found has been named Dracoraptor, meaning dragon thief, in a paper published today. The dinosaur has been described by University of Portsmouth palaeontologists Dr Dave Martill and Steve Vidovic, and colleagues from the National Museum Wales and the University of Manchester.
Call for unorthodox economics to save rhino
Aggressive and unusual tactics and a regulated supply of horns are needed to help save rhinoceros threatened with extinction. Rhino horn can fetch more per kilogram than gold, cocaine or heroin, but according to new research, the time has passed for conventional approaches to protecting one of nature’s most iconic and at-risk creatures.
Scientists find strongest natural material
Limpet teeth might be the strongest natural material known to man, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have discovered that limpets – small aquatic snail-like creatures with conical shells – have teeth with biological structures so strong they could be copied to make cars, boats and planes of the future.
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