UN SDG 14: Life below water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
The Scottish Centre for Ecology & the Natural Environment (SCENE), within the School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine (BOHVM), is a research and teaching facility located on the banks of Loch Lomond in the Trossachs National Park. Established in 1946, SCENE is committed to understanding the mechanisms that govern the natural world and the impact that humans have on it. SCENE’s unique research facilities are used by researchers and students from around the world and the centre offers rare opportunities to study a broad range of species and ecological communities in their natural environment. SCENE also includes live-in accommodation, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, controlled temperature rooms and cabinets, aquaria, and experimental streams. All these facilities are housed in buildings that were designed with sustainability in mind.
Researchers at SCENE are studying the threats posed by environmental change to one of the rarest UK freshwater fish, the coregonids. They are also investigating the movement ecology of salmonids, which are economically and ecologically important fish species. SCENE researchers have developed expertise in the use of telemetry to track fish migration between freshwater and marine systems. The Marine Alliance in Science & Technology for Scotland network, which the University is a member of, also has access to the facilities. The network brings together experts in the field and actively seeks to encourage productive dialogue and understanding between scientists, other marine experts, and interested parties in all sectors, including those responsible for policy development and regulation.
Learning & teaching
Students studying Marine & Freshwater Ecology at the University can learn on the field at SCENE, critically assessing and evaluating the efficacy of ecological methods of managing freshwater ecosystems for conservation, fisheries, and pollution monitoring. Students can visit hatcheries, fish farms and aquaculture projects. In addition, they can complete an additional year of study, gaining an MSc, carrying out research in industry or at a institute in the UK or overseas.
Another programme at the University, Sustainable Water Environments, provides students with multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise in river catchment, lake, and coastal environments. It focuses on the impact of, and adaptation to, changing environments. The programme is designed to help students develop an in-depth and critical understanding of contemporary global issues in surface water environments, including climate and land use change, flood risk, restoration, ecosystem health and associated management perspectives. Finally, the Environmental Science & Sustainability programme also helps students learn about the aquatic environment. This programme offers applied learning at a range of natural resources, including the estuarine and maritime environments located along the Dumfries and Galloway coastline.
Students on our Sustainable Water Environments programme gain expertise in river, lake and coastal environments and focus on the contemporary global issues of flood risk and ecosystem health.
As committed to in our Glasgow Green Strategy, we have now eradicated single-use plastics from our catering operations, helping to minimise the risk posed to marine species by plastics. Our Waste Management Strategy & Action Plan for non-hazardous waste aims to help us ensure that any waste generated is collected, sorted and recycled. Our Safety & Environmental Protection Service guides the disposal of potentially hazardous biological and chemical waste to ensure that we uphold water quality standards.
Staff within the BOHVM contribute and play a role in the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS). SMASS provides a systematic and coordinated approach to the surveillance of marine species stranded on the Scottish coastline. Central to this work is the citizen science network of 300 trained volunteers that help with data collection, recovery and transport of stranded marine animals. During 2022, our staff significantly developed both this volunteer network and supporting events such as the Marine Forum, hosted at the University’s Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre. This event provided an opportunity for the exchange of ideas between researchers, SMASS volunteers, policymakers and other parties interested in marine science and conservation.
More locally, our Glasgow Science Festival theme of ‘Glasgow’s Making Waves’ brought together 63 events across the city of Glasgow, accessible to the local community and people of all ages, to learn about science. It included the wildlife of the River Kelvin and coral and climate change. As part of the festival, local community groups can apply to create content and deliver events related to the themes. Last year, one of the community groups developed a two-part activity based on the River Clyde, focussing on water bugs and insects that live in aquatic environments, and then using popcorn and sugar to learn about water filtration. This activity was based on themes requested by Fairfield Heritage, Govan.