2.5M boost for marine biology in Liverpool

Marine biology at the University of Liverpool is to benefit from a 2.5M investment in additional scientists, new research and updated facilities

LIVERPOOL, UK 27 July 2006: Marine biology at the University of Liverpool is to benefit from a 2.5M investment in additional scientists, new research and updated facilities.

A new mesocosm system comprising large seawater tanks replicating seabed conditions - will provide the University with the largest marine facility of its kind in the UK. The system will enable research into areas such as the impact of cockling on sandflats and the effect of pollution on the ecology of offshore muddy seafloor systems.

The University is investing in a new research vessel that will be used in coastal waters around the North West to investigate marine ecosystems and fisheries. A new aquarium will also be constructed at the University, housing a variety of marine species including crabs, worms, marine snails and anemones. New laboratories will facilitate a diverse range of experimental projects.

Seven new academic posts have been created including an additional Professor of Marine Biology and a Professor of Aquatic Biology. The academics will form part of a new Marine Biology research group which has already secured 1.5M in research income.

The new staff will enable greater diversity in undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes, with areas such as marine ecology, ecological modelling and fish biology now included. A new curriculum will be launched, designed to equip Liverpool graduates with the skills and knowledge needed for the diversity of roles required by today's marine biology industry. Graduates could typically enter roles in the water industry, offshore sector (dredging, oil and gas) as well as government organisations such as the Environment Agency or English Nature.

Professor Chris Frid, Head of Marine Biology at the University, said: "The University of Liverpool has a long history of teaching and research in marine biology and this funding will enable us to offer the most advanced teaching programmes and state-of-the-art facilities to our students."

He added: "The new facilities will also benefit research in other disciplines across the University in areas such as genomics, earth and ocean sciences, physical geography, and applied mathematics.

"Our Marine Biology Research Group is already internationally renowned we provide advice to many marine and environmental agencies in the UK and beyond on issues such as marine environmental management and policy."

Part of the development of the Department of Marine Biology will include the transfer of research and teaching carried out at the Port Erin Marine Laboratory to the University's Liverpool campus in September.


Notes to editors

1. The University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading research institutions. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than 90 million annually.

2. The 1.5M research funding has been provided by the European Commission, the Government and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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