We are Celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity

biological-diversityEvery year on 22 May the World celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity.

As a fairly urban campus it might seem like we don’t have a lot of biological diversity but you’d be wrong! Make sure you check out the Biodiversity on Campus displays in the Atrium and Studland House Café on Friday 22 May!

Within just 5km of Talbot Campus we have 7 sites designated for Wildlife Conservation Interest, including; Dorset Heathlands, Bourne Valley, Turbary and Kinson Commons and Talbot Slopes & Cuttings.

18 protected and notable species were identified within a 10km radius of Talbot Campus, meaning that they may occasionally be present on campus if there is suitable habitat available. These include; Badgers, Bats, snakes, slow worms, and lizards. Plus there are many species of beetle, insect and bees to be found on campus.

There are over 25 species of tree and ornamental plants, including; Field Maples, Common Lime, English Oak, Sycamore, Wall Speedwell, Bluebell, Whitebeam, Rowan, Soft Brome, Barron Brome, False Brome, and many more.

As the estate develops The University and the Estates Team are committed to improving the external environment on campus, including biodiversity. Specific measures for building works so far include;

  • Commitment to environmental performance – all major construction projects are required to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and as part of this assessment we must address the impact of construction on ecology and biodiversity. For the Student Centre and the New Academic Building projects the University has worked with ecologists, landscape architects and academics from SciTech to develop landscape proposals which enhance the ecological value of these sites. Examples of this include the provision of bird boxes and green roofs with sedum planting specifically selected to benefit local wildlife.
  • As part of the New Academic Building project the University will also be introducing local heathland planting on campus.
  • The development of an ‘Open Spaces Strategy’ which aims to improve the holistic quality of the external environment, including soft landscaping, street furniture and the use of space.
  • All works on campus are required to comply with BU’s environmental and biodiversity policies

The University will shortly be conducting a full ecological assessment of the estate and will produce a gap analysis of all ecological assessments previously carried out. Additional ecological assessments will then be carried out to develop a full picture of the whole estate.

A Biodiversity Action Plan will then be created with a view to enhancing biodiversity on campus, setting Key Performance Indicators, and creating a robust monitoring schedule.

For more information about biodiversity at BU please contact the Sustainability Team via sustainability@bournemouth.ac.uk or if you’d like to join the SUBU Green Taskforce e-mail SUPresident@bournemouth.ac.uk for more info.

Bournemouth pupils help come up with designs for Bio-Beach project


Pupils at two local schools have been helping Bournemouth University (BU) researchers come up with designs for structures to increase biodiversity on the town’s beaches.

Pupils at Avonbourne College and Harewood College have been working with BU staff and students on ideas for the Bio-Beach project, which aims to improve and increase the marine life along Bournemouth’s shoreline.

Bio-Beach is a collaboration between BU and Bournemouth Borough Council to place structures on groynes along the local coastline, which will provide refuge for marine life.

The creatures living within them will then be recorded by underwater cameras – giving insight into their habitat and behaviour.

Around 30 pupils from Years 7 – 9 have been working on ideas and prototypes for the project after school, supported by BU student ambassadors and the AspireBU outreach team.

They were given a brief by the BU Bio-Beach researchers to create durable structures that could retain water and provide shelter for marine life.

The pupils came up with designs inspired by everything from rubber ducks to scuba divers, which were made of sustainable and recycled materials including old rope and tires.

Fay Lyon, Science Teacher at Avonbourne College, said: “I think it has been brilliant. They have really loved it actually.

“I think it’s the fact that it’s real world application of science – it’s really useful. These are genuine problems that need to be solved and they can contribute something for that. They have the chance to make a real difference.”

After coming up with initial designs, the pupils had to create prototypes and test them – sandblasting and submerging them in saltwater to see how durable and suitable they would be for the harsh conditions on the beach.

They then shared their ideas with Bio-Beach researchers Dr Roger Herbert and Dr Bob Eves.

Dr Herbert, a Senior Lecturer in Coastal and Marine Biology at BU, said: “The brief was to develop some new designs and features which can encourage a whole range of different things for people to look at and enjoy, as well as increasing the biodiversity of the seashore.

“They worked really hard and have got all sorts of imaginative and interesting ideas.

“When we look at these sorts of problems, we see the obvious constraints but you can learn so much from younger people who don’t see those problems and that’s where their creativity really benefits us.”

Dr Eves, a Senior Lecturer in Product Design, added: “I think what has been great is the imagination and the ideas that they have come up with, because they are free-forming.

“The ideas are coming from children, which will then be enjoyed by other children on the beach.”

The pupils will use feedback from Dr Herbert and Dr Eves to continue working on their designs, with the best ideas and elements then selected for the final Bio-Beach structure.

Year 8 pupil Rebecca Harper was part of a group who created a design which used buckets and old tyres filled with recycled materials like bottle caps and ropes.

She said: “It’s been really fun designing these things and getting to create the prototypes.

“I’ve learnt a lot about the creatures that live on the beach and how to make and reuse things. It would be amazing to see our design on the beach.”

Find out more about the Bio-Beach project

BU PhD student quoted on Science Daily website

Phil Martin, a PhD student at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at Bournemouth University, gave his comments to Science Daily about a recent study which found plant biodiversity takes longer to recover than carbon storage.

Martin said, “We think plant species normally found in old-growth forests are failing to colonise re-growing forests because their seeds never get there. These recovering forests are often far from old-growth forests and surrounded by farmland. This means forest animals cannot move seeds between the two forests.”

Martin added, “We suggest that when conservationists aim to restore tropical forests they should help dispersal of seeds from undisturbed to re-growing areas by planting trees throughout the wider landscape.”

The research team, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Bournemouth University conducted a synthesis of data collected from more than 600 secondary forest sites.

They concluded that although carbon recovered most quickly, even after 80 years re-growing forests tended to have less carbon than old-growth forests. This is probably because these forests are often dominated by small, fast growing trees. It may take centuries for larger trees which hold more carbon to become established.

To read the story in full, visit the Science Daily website.