Research and education

The Upper Mersey Estuary is a living laboratory which gives us ample opportunity to study our local environment. We are proud that we have plenty of university research projects on a variety of topics active in the estuary, but we are equally proud that schools and colleges have been visiting to learn about the unique features of an estuary.

Some of our completed research projects are listed on this page. The research is guided and endorsed by our Biodiversity and Research Board, a panel of experts who are keen to promote innovative thinking and best practice.

Salmon in the Mersey

A M.Sc. student from Salford University was looking for the presence of salmon in the Mersey and the success of monitoring without manual handling of the fish. This included the analysis of data from a fish pass camera, as well as eDNA – tiny fragments of mitochondrial DNA – that can detect where a species might have been present from a few days up to a few months. Following this study, we are looking to continue our eDNA studies in the estuary.

Shrimp research

A number of separate yet connected shrimp projects are being carried out by the University of Salford. Undergraduates, masters and PhD students have carried out research projects on the various aspects of the life history of the shrimp and its adaptation to the environment.

Two papers have been published on Crangon crangon written by researchers of the University of Salford. Read for yourself here and here.

 Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation are closely linked. The aim of this PhD project is to assess the distribution of soil organic carbon found in the Upper Mersey Estuary, considering the various contamination levels and current habitat types.

By understanding the dynamics of carbon sequestration in the estuary, we can adapt our management according to the newest science and local circumstances to support carbon sequestration in the estuary.

 Remote Sensing in estuaries

This PhD project looked at the use of remote sensing techniques in estuaries and models of sea level rise. This can help to inform how we want to manage habitats in the long-term and what conservation techniques are appropriate for remote settings.

Rewilding in the estuary

A one year Masters project will look into the possibilities of rewilding small pockets of urbanised land within the Upper Mersey Estuary, illuminating the drivers and barriers of the natural and social processes pertaining to the rewilding of the Upper Mersey Estuary shaped by direct and indirect human activities.

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are an important element in understanding what nature does for us and what we need to do to protect and enhance its value. A PhD study looking into the ecosystem service provision of the Upper Mersey Estuary and how these might change under several scenarios has been completed in 2017. This will enable us to manage the estuary under an ecosystem approach and adapt our long-term management to the needs of nature and society.