Knowledge Exchange - L Wicks & S Hennige

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Poster presented at Knowledge Exchange Scotland Conference at Heriot-Watt University, in October 2012.

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Knowledge Exchange - L Wicks & S Hennige

  1. 1. Changing Oceans Scottish Coral Reefs Laura Wicks and Sebastian Hennige 073 RRS James Cook Heriot-Watt University Cold-Water Corals Many people are unaware that Scotland is home to spectacular coral reefs, due to their depth ( 150 - 3000m) and inaccessability. These Coral reefs are made by Lophelia pertusa, form diverse ecosystems, and support commercially important fish species. Only now as we start to understand their importance, are we becoming aware of the threats they face. Ocean acidification (OA) is one of the biggest threats facing our oceans and reefs today, and is caused by increased carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from human emissions. Our research examines the threat of OA on cold-water corals. By showing the importance of these ecosystems and the threats they face, we aim to encourage the government to reduce carbon emissions, and to ensure these ecosystems are not destroyed in the future. This will be achieved by providing data and effective advice to UK conservation agencies associated with SACs, UKMPAs and Marine Conservation Zone, through the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. Knowledge transferTo increase public awareness of these important yetthreatened vulnerable ecosystems, we would like to create aseries of interactive workshops for local and rural schools inEdinburgh and the Hebrides. These workshops will focus onScottish Cold-Water Corals and marine conservation. Theywill be directly relevant to Scotland’s Curriculum forExcellence. Additionally, we propose to build upon ourexisting outreach links with Dynamic Earth, to create a newOceans Exhibit to showcase our research, creating a lastinglegacy. Novel outreachTo increase awareness of Scottish coral reefs, a novel outreachmethod will be trialled with the use of beermats. In coastaltowns such as Oban and Queensferry, informative beermatswill be given to cafes along the seafront. These beermats willhave stunning underwater images from recent expeditions,some information about these Scottish corals, and about thethreats which they face. There will be a range of beermats withdifferent images, to encourage interest from all ages. The beermats will have a QR code which can be scanned with asmartphone, directing the participant to special section withinthe Lophelia.org website. The page will contain informationabout the project, the threats that cold-water corals face, andthe impact of having a future with no Scottish coral.Lophelia.org is a hub of deep-water coral information, run byour group at HWU and attracting over 10,000 hits annually.We will be able to monitor the site traffic to the page andpromote the project through facebook and twitter UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme

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