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Measuring Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Estuarine Systems

Location: St-Andrews (UK)
Event Type: Training Course
Event Date: 2006-06-05    
End Date: 2006-06-09

Event Description:
Measuring Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Estuarine Systems

First call: A residential training course (5th–9th June 2006)

Estuarine mud and sand flats are a key part of our coasts with significant ecological and economic importance. Yet these systems are under increasing pressure with 50% of the world population now living within 60km of the coast. To understand the consequences of habitat stress and loss it is essential to be able to characterise their ecology and functional attributes, only then will we be able to make predictions as to how climate change is likely to influence coastal systems.

Researchers examining depositional systems employ a variety of techniques but often have little guidance as to how to balance their aims with requirements, capabilities and costs. This course with the Sediment Ecology Research Group at St Andrews University (Scotland) integrates the theory and practice of assessing ecosystem [function] in estuarine systems (benthic and planktonic). The course is aimed at early stage researchers (PhD and early post-doctoral researchers) or scientists returning/changing to estuarine study who wish to develop their understanding from a functional perspective and be introduced to the most recently developed methods.

The recently completed EU project HIMOM pioneered a toolbox of techniques for the sampling of tidal flats. The methodology as well as experiences gained from road-testing the techniques will form a key component of the course. All attendees will be given the HIMOM CD-ROM which includes a book of protocols with advice in local application, case studies and video demonstrations.

To maximise one-on-one contact places are strictly limited (15) and will be allocated on a first come first served basis (subject to full payment of fees). Participants must organise their own transport to St Andrews and it is essential that all participants are present at the start of the course. Interested parties should contact Drs Emma Defew( and Rebecca Aspden( or Prof. David Paterson ( at the Sediment Ecology Research Group, St Andrews University, Fife, Scotland KY16 8LB.

Course fees: Single payment of €750 includes registration, self-catered accommodation, course dinner, CD-ROM and lab fees.

MarBEF members will get a reduced fee for accommodation, and the costs of travel and accommodation (but not the fee) of 1 person per MarBEF institute can be booked up to a maximum of 1,000 Euro on their MarBEF account.

Contact email:

Event programme:
The programme will consist of a mixture of lectures (delivered by experts in their respective fields), field and laboratory work taking advantage of the local field site the Eden Estuary (SSSI, Nature Reserve and SAC) as well as the laboratory facilities available within the Sediment Ecology Research Group at the Gatty Marine Laboratory.

The course will combine field work with subsequent laboratory analysis and data processing. The majority of techniques on the course can be transferred to any institute with a basic laboratory infra structure but some specialised techniques will also be introduced.

Best field work practice for the estuarine environment
•Spectral reflectance
•PAM fluorescence (benthos and phytoplankton)
•Sediment sampling for pigment analyses
•Spectrophotometric pigment analysis
•Macro fauna sampling and sorting
•Microphytobenthic cell collection
•Sediment stability (Shear vane and Cohesive Strength Meter)
•Low-temperature scanning electron microscopy (with time available to look at personal samples)

Download flyer with programme

Collaborators and organisers:
Drs Emma Defew (
Rebecca Aspden (
Prof. David Paterson (
Sediment Ecology Research Group, St Andrews University, Fife, Scotland KY16 8LB.

Website url: 

Registration form: 

Registration fee: 750 €

Relevant costs that should be taken by MARBEF:  

Possibility for day-care centres (facilities for children): No

MarBEF supported event: Yes

Event within Framework of MARBEF: (none)

Maximum number of participants: 

External participants (non MARBEF) allowed: Yes

Posted by WardAppeltans on 2006-01-30 and approved by webmaster