Research and education

Virtual Reality Model

The aim of this project is to create a proof of concept Virtual Reality (VR) application of the Upper Mersey Estuary. The project will combine data provided by Mersey Gateway to form an interactive VR application to help inform key stakeholders about the area and work being conducted around it. The application will consist of an interactive map interface that will allow the user to jump into different areas of interest such as 360 degree video environments and interactive 3D content. Users will therefore have virtual access to areas of the Upper Mersey Estuary which have restricted access.

Samples of our VR Model can be found on our YouTube Channel

Art & Design

The Trust is engaged in working with local artist Jacquie Hewitt, who studies MA Design at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The opportunity arose through the Trust’s Research Board for Jacquie to work with us to create and deliver a piece of art to emulate the Trust’s Legacy Strategy and monitoring work in the Upper Mersey Estuary.
By utilising materials foraged and sourced from her first visit to the construction site, Jacquie hopes her sculptural piece will help the Trust communicate the opportunities available in the Living Laboratory and that it will act as a metaphor for the unseen life within the river that the Trust is monitoring.

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.

Hydrobia sampling

Trematode parasites have complex life cycles often involving several host species and are of significant medical and veterinary importance. However, many wild animal species can also be infected and parasite diversity within individuals and populations can be used in ecosystem monitoring. For all trematode species, the first intermediate host is always a gastropod mollusc and intermediate stages of each parasite species (cercariae) can be identified by morphological characteristics.

For a number of years, Professor Mike Rogan has been running undergraduate student projects which are focused on investigations on the larval trematode populations within the mud snail (Hydrobia spp) around Hilbre Island, Wirral. These parasites have adult stages in the various species of birds that visit the islands and changes in parasite diversity can sometimes be correlated with differences in bird populations.

To extend these projects further he would like to utilise another site in our Living Laboratory area to sample Hydrobia snails so that direct comparisons on parasite biodiversity can be made.

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. Everything from fresh air, flood protection, habitat provision for flora and fauna and recreation is an ecosystem services and plays a role in the estuary’s environment.

We have had a PhD study looking into the ecosystem service provision of the Upper Mersey Estuary and how these might change under several scenarios. 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.

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.

The most recent research – a first paper on Crangon crangon written by Andjin – has recently been published. Read it for yourself here…  

 Global sampling

We have received a proposal to include the Living Laboratory as part of an international sampling project.

A living laboratory is both a place where research projects are conducted and where long-term monitoring data are made available to researchers and others.

Full details on the project are available on the PPBio site.

 Past Research

The MGET has a large portfolio of past research. A summary of our past research and projects can be found at this link