£3M facility to study the bonny banks of Loch Lomond

Published: 2 May 2007

Glasgow University will open a major new environmental and ecological research facility on 4 May 2007

The Duke of Montrose opened a new £3.4 million environmental research facility at the University of Glasgow's Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE) on 4 May 2007.

Situated on the banks of Loch Lomond, and sensitively designed by award-winning Glasgow architects PagePark, the research facilities will provide state-of-the-art laboratories, experimental streams and aquarium facilities for research ranging from ornithology and fish biology to aquatic ecosystems.

The new facility, part-funded by Scottish Enterprise, is a showcase for sustainable design and use having recently received the Carbon Trust Scottish Low Carbon Building Award as well as an 'excellent' rating for the sustainability of its design from the Building Research Executive. The most novel of the numerous sustainable elements in the design is a ground source heat pump that draws energy from the ground providing a low carbon source of heat.

Director of SCENE, Dr Colin Adams, said: 'This new research building will expand our capability for world class field research in the environmental sciences very significantly. Equally important to us is that this highly innovative and sustainable building design reflects the ecological work being conducted within the building and the importance of the surrounding ecosystems in this very special part of Scotland'.

The new resources will enhance the existing reputation of SCENE as the foremost field unit in Scotland for teaching, training and research in ecology and the environmental sciences. The first of its kind in the UK and among the best in Europe, the field station provides unique access for any UK higher education institution to a habitat of such diversity and ecological quality.

Stuart Ogg, Operations Director of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, said: 'We are delighted to have supported this unique new facility which lays foundations for the growth of a truly world-class environmental science research facility in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Not only does the facility fit with the aspirations of sustainable building design but it reflects its sensitive environmental situation and I am confident the project will continue to go from strength to strength.'

Pioneering research undertaken at SCENE is helping towards an understanding of pollution, environmental change and loss of biodiversity. Research focuses include:

  • demonstrating the influence of higher global temperatures on life history patterns of salmon with potentially significant effects on fisheries
  • using a new analysis technique to monitor the energy in lake ecosystems which will completely revise the way we think about lake and pollution management
  • studying the rapid evolution of Scottish fish highlighting that new species can arise much faster than previously thought

A fundraising campaign is continuing and it is hoped that a new teaching facility will open at the field station in 2009.

Kate Richardson (K.Richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk)

For more information please contact Kate Richardson at the University of Glasgow's Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3683 or email K.Richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk

Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE):
SCENE is a research and teaching facility, used by 600 University of Glasgow and other university students each year. The unique location allows students to develop field skills and an understanding of habitats and the processes that drive them in real environments. Delivery of high quality fieldwork training to undergraduates is a high priority and there is commitment to continue to deliver high quality field teaching at Glasgow in the face of its decline across the environmental sciences elsewhere.

SCENE is part of the University?s Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, one of the largest centres for biological research in Europe.

First published: 2 May 2007

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