Academics contribute to new report highlighting nature’s potential to fight climate change and biodiversity loss.

Dr Sian Rees and Dr Matthew Ashley helped to author the marine chapter of British Ecological Society report into nature-based solutions.

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University ranked among world’s top 25 – and 1st for marine – in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

The University of Plymouth has been named as one of the top 25 institutions globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021.

The rankings, released today, are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In its first appearance in the tables, Plymouth has been ranked 23rd of more than 1,100 universities, reinforcing its reputation for world-leading and award-winning sustainability research and teaching.

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University research supports byelaw to protect inshore waters

Research by the University of Plymouth has informed new legislation which aims to protect 117 square miles of coastal seabed and allow for the regeneration of underwater seaweed forests.

The Nearshore Trawling Byelaw, developed by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (IFCA), has been approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It is the first fisheries byelaw to be based on an impact assessment of natural capital, and references research by the University – supported in part through the research developed for the Defra North Devon Marine Pioneer as part of the South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) programme, and the evidence generated from the University’s long term Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area monitoring programme.

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Time for total rethink on the management of alien species

Non-indigenous or alien species need to be appreciated for their potential benefits and not just the negative impacts they can have on the environment, according to new research.

In recent decades, there have been numerous examples of non-indigenous species (NIS) establishing a foothold and then causing harm in new environments. Meanwhile, others have had benefits for fisheries or replaced lost ecological functions.

Stopping the spread of such species is virtually impossible, so a new study – led by the University of Plymouth and the Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab in Cyprus – is calling for a complete rethink of how they are considered in the future.

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University contributes to government review on marine protected areas

Marine scientists from the University of Plymouth have contributed to a major UK government report examining whether and how the strongest protections for areas of sea - known as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) - could be introduced.

Led by former Defra Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, the review highlighted that while 40 per cent of the Secretary of State waters fall within marine protected areas (MPAs), less than 0.01 per cent are fully protected from destructive or extractive human activity.

The review concludes that HPMAs are an essential component of the Marine Protected Areas network, and government should introduce them into Secretary of State waters.

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Scientists call on government to increase UK’s ambition to save our ocean

In the last decade there has been rapid expansion in the area of ocean designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Despite this progress, marine biodiversity continues to decline, placing at risk the health of our oceans and the critical role the oceans have in supporting human well-being.

Now a team of marine scientists from across the UK, led by the Marine Conservation Research Group at the University of Plymouth, have called on the Government to increase its ambition to save the oceans by overhauling its approach to marine conservation management.

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Scientists call for a more ambitious approach to management of Marine Protected Areas

Researchers from the University of Plymouth have contributed to a new book addressing some of the most pressing challenges in marine conservation.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Emma Sheehan and Tom Mullier are among those to share their expertise in Marine Protected Areas: Science, Policy and Management, published by Elsevier.

Working alongside Dr Jean-Luc Solandt from the Marine Conservation Society, and Dr Sophie Elliott, from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, they contributed a chapter recommending an approach to Marine Protected Areas (MPA) management which isn’t only limited to protecting vulnerable areas of seabed within the UK’s vast network of MPAs.

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Citizen scientists asked to help the fight against venomous predators in the Mediterranean

Researchers bidding to control the spread of lionfish throughout the Mediterranean Sea have launched a citizen science project aimed at tracking their movements.

The venomous species was first recorded off the coast of Cyprus six years ago, the belief being that they travelled from native habitats in the Red Sea.

However, a lack of common predators – coupled with lionfish’s breeding habits – means population numbers have increased dramatically.

Now scientists from Cyprus and the UK, working as part of the RELIONMED project, have developed an online portal for people to report sightings of the species.

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Lionfish culls aim to preserve marine species and habitats in the Mediterranean Sea

Fishers and marine conservationists are launching the first organised culls of predatory lionfish in a bid to prevent their spread across the Mediterranean Sea.

The venomous species was first recorded off the coast of Cyprus around five years ago, with scientists believing that a recent widening and deepening of the Suez Canal allowed them to travel through from their native habitats in the Red Sea.

A lack of common predators, coupled with lionfish’s breeding habits, have meant numbers have increased dramatically with sightings everywhere from coastlines to the deep seas.

Scientists from the University of Plymouth are currently working in conjunction with governmental and environmental organisations on a four-year project, RELIONMED, funded by €1,676,077 from the European Union’s LIFE programme.

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University research informs the government’s ambitious plan for conservation

A model of research pioneered by marine scientists at the University of Plymouth has been promoted in the UK government’s new 25 year plan for the environment.

Developed during a decade of work at the Marine Protected Area at Lyme Bay, in Devon and Dorset, the ‘whole site approach’ has demonstrated that a net gain for biodiversity can be achieved if marine systems are managed in a way that supports ecological processes and socioeconomic functions across the entire site and not just select features of conservation importance.

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University scientists to play key role in tackling lionfish invasion

Marine biologists from the University of Plymouth are to work with counterparts in Cyprus on a project seeking to stem a lionfish invasion in the Mediterranean Sea.

The venomous fish has been identified as the most ecologically harmful species to be invading southern European waters, and is responsible for significant impacts on biodiversity due to its predatory behaviour and rapid reproduction.

Working with the University of Cyprus, Plymouth scientists will be helping to coordinate a number of different activities, including the development and implementation of an early surveillance and detection system, and a removal response strategy.

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