University of Edinburgh joins £20m ocean preservation project

One of The University of Edinburgh’s schools is involved in the five-year programme that will focus on changing the ways that the world responds to threats to the oceans.

The School of GeoSciences’ researchers will be involved in the new ‘One Ocean Hub’ programme, which has been set up by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The Hub aims to combat pressures such as climate change, plastics and pollution, and overusing the ocean’s resources, which have affected the ocean’s ecosystem.

It is hoped that the £20 million ‘One Ocean Hub‘ project could help developing countries, who depend on the oceans for supplies and food, evolve and understand how to care for it.

The UKRI GCRF wishes to “empower local communities, women and youth to co-develop research and solutions.”


Developing countries depend on the oceans to provide fish. (Photo credit: Christina Mittermeier)

More than 50 organisations around the world are included in the project.

The University of Strathclyde is leading the programme, with Glasgow School of Art and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh also taking part.

The universities in the UK will partner with institutions from Fiji, Ghana, Namibia, Solomon Islands and South Africa.

East, West and Southern Africa, Oceania and the Caribbean will be the geographic focuses of the programme.

This is understood to be an impressive opportunity for Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences.

Dr Sebastian Hennige, who is from the School of GeoSciences, stated that the chance “to link the science of how marine habitats will change in a future ocean, to law and policy for the benefit for stakeholders” is one of the most exciting parts of the One Ocean Hub.

The School of GeoSciences has previously researched into certain aspect of the ocean, and members of staff believe the new project will uncover more influential information.

Professor Murray Roberts, who is also from the School of GeoSciences, said:

“The One Ocean Hub is a wonderful project and a fantastic opportunity for us to build on our 20 years of research into how cold-water corals function and the biodiversity they support.”

There has been more attention given to the preservation of the oceans.

The affects people’s lives have on the oceans were brought into focus by the BBC’s Blue Planet 2, which showed the impact plastic had on the marine life in it’s final episode.

Viewers were shocked when they were shown albatross chicks being fed plastic by their oblivious parents.

It has caused people to revise their use of plastics.

In recent weeks, the changes seen in the oceans have been widely discussed due to the latest social media trend.

There have been several posts on social media focusing on the transformations of the oceans, due to the Ten Year Challenge.

From icebergs melting to coral reefs diminishing, the images displayed the changes the ocean had experienced in the past decade.

Twitter and Instagram were the platforms used most often for these posts.

This was also mentioned by Professor Roberts, who said:

“Deep corals are among the most sensitive marine ecosystems to ocean acidification.”

There is hope that the One Ocean Hub project will stop, or at least lessen, the impact global warming and the effects of humanity have had on the oceans.

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