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July 2016

Find out what's been happening across the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP). Many thanks to all who contributed articles to this edition.

Further information about these news items can be found on the MERP website, Twitter feed, in the MERP Biannual Report (January 2016) or by contacting the MERP Programme Office ( Please feel free to forward to others who may be interested in the work of MERP.

If you would like to submit any MERP-related news then please contact Kelly-Marie Davidson (

Image courtesy of George Evans

Note from the Principle Investigator

MERP's Principle Investigator, Dr Paul Somerfield (PML), gives an overview of progress at MERP's half-way point.

Charismatic marine predators

MERP scienists are working with the SeaWatch Foundation to improve knowledge of the threats facing charismatic marine predators. Dr James Waggitt (BU) explains the issues and what they hope to achieve with this work.

Grab it, dredge it, weigh it

MERP scientists have been hard at work analysing samples taken on cruises of the Celtic Sea. Dr Leigh Howarth (BU) gives an account of what they have been doing and why, accompanied by a time-lapse video of a day on-board ship.

British Science Week

MERP contributed funds to the food-web themed British Science Week activities in Plymouth in March. MERPs Elaine Fileman (PML) gives an account of the busy week.

Stakeholder Advisory Group update

The Chair of MERP's Stakeholder Advisory Group, Dr Matt Frost (MBA), give an update of the valuable work of MERP's Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Carbon in kelp

MERP scientists have been running mesocosm experiments to gain a better understanding of kelp-derived carbon exchanges between the water column and sediments. For more on these experiments please see Dr Ana Queiros' (PML) article on the MERP website.

Uncertainty in simulation models

Michael Spence (UoS) produced a video describing different types of uncertainty found in simulation models. To watch other MERP related videos please visit the MERP website and scroll down to the Multimedia section.

Streamlining and enriching data

A founding principle of MERP is to use existing data more efficiently and effectively to increase our understanding of the temporal and spatial dynamics of marine biodiversity. Dr Tom Webb (UoS) explains how MERP is achieving this and outlines the useful outputs that will be produced.

MERP meetings

The last 6 months have seen a range of highly useful meetings, including programme integration workshops and stakeholder meetings. The following meeting reports are available: 

Thank you to all who have been involved in these meetings. Further information can be found on the MERP events calendar but if you have any questions in the meantime then please contact the Programme Officer, Jessica Heard (

MERP video

An video introducing MERP is now available from the MERP website or YouTube.

Useful links

Latest publications

Barrios-O’Neill D et al (2016)On the context-dependent scaling of consumer feeding rates. Ecology Letters 19 (6) 668-678. 10.1111/ele.12605

A full list of MERP publications can be found on the MERP website.


MERP website

Don't forget to check the website for the latest news, events and social media activities at 

MERP participants can also access SharePoint and the Discussion Forum from the top right-hand corner of the MERP homepage.


MERP resources

A range of programme resources are now available from the website.

These include a leaflet, videogeneral powerpoint slides, 2-page summary for Defra and a directory of MERP participants.

Poster / presentation templates and logos can also be found in the MERP SharePoint.



MERP has a Twitter feed, which will be used to keep followers updated on news, events and progress of the programme.

We welcome your tweet suggestions so please send information on successes and achievement plus accompanying images and video to Helen Murray (

MERP partners

Bangor University (BU)
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool (NOC,L)
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Queens University Belfast (QUB)
Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS)
University of Glasgow (UoG)
University of Sheffield (UoSh)
University of Strathclyde (UoSt) 

Marine Ecosystems Research Programme is jointly funded by:

Copyright © 2016. Plymouth Marine Laboratory on behalf of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme. All rights reserved.

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Plymouth Marine Laboratory · Prospect Place · Plymouth, Devon PL13DH · United Kingdom

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