Research

The Changing Oceans group is involved in a variety of different research projects, from blue skies research, to very applied research partnered with industry or policymakers. The broad theme of our research revolves around how Changing Oceans will impact upon marine ecosystems. This includes investigating how ecosystems will change in the future, questioning what this will mean to related communities, and how we will interact with them through management, policy and industry.

Below is a snapshot of currently funded large projects. For specific research areas, please see our publications page and individual people pages.

iAtlantic – Integrated assessment of Atlantic marine ecosystems in space and time

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The iAtlantic project is a whole-Atlantic EC H2020 funded project that was launched in 2019 and will end in 2023. This multidisciplinary research project is seeking to assess the health of deep-sea ecosystems. Marine researches from countries bordering the north and the south Atlantic Ocean hope to determine the resilience of the animals and habitats under climate change conditions and other impacts caused by human activities. iAtlantic will collect new data and use innovative approaches so that observations taken at local and regional levels can be scaled up to address questions at ocean basin scale.  Drawing on a multinational fleet of research vessels and the latest marine technology and instrumentation, efforts will focus on 12 locations in the deep sea and open ocean that are of international conservation significance and of interest to Blue Economy and Blue Growth sectors. Prof Murray Roberts is the project’s coordinator, Dr Lea-Anne Henry, Dr Sebastian Hennige, Dr Johanne VadDr Laurence De ClippeleTom Grove, and Kelsey Archer Barnhill are changing oceans research group researchers involved in the project.

ATLAS – A transatlantic assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe

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The ATLAS project is a trans-Atlantic EC H2020 funded project that was launched in 2016 and will end in 2020. The ATLAS project is striving to improve our understanding of complex deep-sea ecosystems and their associated species, including those that are new to science. Researchers from 13 different countries are looking to predict future changes to these ecosystems and species together with their vulnerabilities in the face of climate change. As well as carrying out pioneering research and discovery, ATLAS is developing a scientific knowledge base that can inform the development of international policies to ensure deep-sea Atlantic resources are managed effectively. This will contribute to the European Commission’s long-term “Blue Growth” strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Prof Murray Roberts is the project’s coordinator, Dr Lea-Anne Henry, Dr Sebastian Hennige, Dr Johanne VadDr Laurence De Clippele, Dr Georgios Kazanidis, Dr Laure Duran Suja, Berta Ramiro-Sánchez, Stephanie Liefmann, and Christine Gaebel are changing oceans research group researchers involved in the project.

One Ocean Hub – Global Challenge Research Funds 

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One Ocean Hub is an UK Research and Innovation funded project through the Global Challenges Research Fund which started February 2019 and will end in May 2024. Its research seeks to bridge current disconnections in law, science and policy and integrate governance frameworks to balance multiple ocean uses with conservation. It also strives to empower the communities to inform decisions based on multiple values and knowledge system. The One Ocean Hub aims to transform our response to the urgent challenges facing our ocean. The aim is to predict, harness and share equitably environmental, socioeconomic and cultural benefits from ocean conservation and sustainable use. The Hub will also identify hidden trade-offs between more easily monetized fishing or mining activities and less-understood values of the ocean’s deep cultural role, function in the carbon cycle, and potential in medical innovation.The Hub specifically addresses the challenges and opportunities of South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Fiji and Solomon Islands, and will share knowledge at regional (South Pacific, Africa and Caribbean) and international levels. Prof Murray RobertsDr Sebastian Hennige, and Kelsey Archer Barnhill are changing oceans research group researchers involved in the project.

Arctic Prize – Arctic productivity in the seasonal ice zone

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Arctic Prize is a NERC funded project which started in February 2017 and will finish January 2021. This project is seeking to understand and predict how change in sea ice and ocean properties will affect the large-scale ecosystem structure of the Arctic Ocean. Seasonally and spatially varying relationships between sea ice, water column structure, light, nutrients and productivity and the roles they play in structuring energy transfer to pelagic zooplankton and benthic megafauna are investigated. The focus lies on the seasonal ice zone (SIZ) of the Barents Sea – a highly productive region that is undergoing considerable change in its sea ice distribution – and target the critically important but under-sampled seasonal transition from winter into the post-bloom summer period. Dr Sian Henley is a co-investigator on this project.

ChAOS – The changing Arctic Ocean seafloor

nercChAOS is a NERC funded project which started in February 2017 and will finish January 2021. This is a multidisciplinary project to elucidate the impacts of declining sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean on the biological communities and nutrient cycling in seafloor ecosystems, and the implications for carbon sequestration and burial. The ChAOS project aims to better understand how changes in the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover and water mass distribution will affect biological and biogeochemical processes at the seabed. The seafloor is a highly dynamic environment that hosts a wide variety of biota, and plays a crucial role in carbon and nutrient cycling and burial. Dr Sian Henley is a co-investigator on this project.