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Cabot Institute members join new team for NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Programme

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11 January 2018

The NERC Changing Arctic Ocean (CAO) programme has launched a new website to showcase its work and to increase international collaboration and engagement with stakeholders and the public. The 5-year programme (2017-2022) is funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to investigate the effects of climate change on the marine biology, ecosystems and biogeochemistry of the Arctic Ocean.

Several members of the University of Bristol's Cabot Institute are involved in the project, including Dr Kate Hendry, technician Stephanie Bates, postdoc Felipe Sales de Freitas, PhD student James Ward and Dr Sandra Arndt.

With the Arctic the fastest warming region on the planet, climate change is already altering key components of the Arctic environment. Some of the clearest signs of change are the thinning and retreat of sea ice and the migration of species into the Arctic that normally live at lower latitudes. The response of the Arctic to climate change will have an unprecedented impact on how the Arctic ecosystem operates. This is likely to affect the UK’s climate and economy, with anticipated impacts on industries like tourism and fisheries.

The new website highlights the projects and the investigators in the programme, as well as media coverage of the programme’s science, the outreach activities for public and schools, and blogs prepared by CAO investigators. Information about peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations are also listed. The website is illustrated with photographs by the CAO investigators, conveying a unique impression of their working environment in the Arctic.

The website was designed by MTC Media, working closely with Dr Kirsty Crocket, CAO Science Coordinator. Dr Crocket says: “We are all extremely pleased with new website. A key objective was ease of access to information about the programme and the projects to encourage international collaboration and exchange with stakeholders and the public. With the help of the MTC team, we have achieved this.”

Currently the CAO has four large projects and 82 scientists, with lead investigators from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the Universities of Leeds and Liverpool. Spring 2018 will see a dramatic increase in the number of projects, to a total of 14, to be co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The new projects will be announced in a few weeks’ time.

The ultimate goal of Changing Arctic Oceans is to generate a better understanding of the Arctic to improve model projections of future change in the environment and the ecosystem. The four projects cover different aspects of the Programme’s goals: how change in the Arctic affects the food chain, from small organisms at the bottom to large predators at the top (ARISE), the impact of warming on the dominant food source at the bottom of the food chain (DIAPOD), the effect of retreating and thinning sea ice on nutrients and sea life in the surface ocean (Arctic PRIZE) and on the ecosystem at the seafloor (ChAOS).

To keep up-to-date with latest news and updates about the CAO programme, please subscribe to the newsletter on the homepage of the CAO website: www.changing-arctic-ocean.ac.uk.

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