Richard Gwynne-Jones

I have an MA Marketing from the University of Southampton and an MBIOL in Marine Biology from Aberystwyth University. I am a mature student having spent 20+ years in management in the Defence industry and a prior to that 10 in the Royal Navy and Police.

I am excited by the infinite possibilities of products from macroalgae (seaweed) medical, dietary and as replacements for fossil fuel products such as plastics, but I am also concerned about the possibility of uncontrolled exploitation of the natural stands of seaweed as a resource and the impact that it could have on the ocean carbon cycle and the ecosystems within the sea.

Quantifying the significance of macroalgal detritus for marine food webs and blue carbon sequestration in Scottish sea lochs

PhD aim:

Fjords are believed to be one of the most effective systems for the sequestration of organic carbon in the sediments. However, to date most studies on temperate fjords have emphasised the contribution of terrestrial carbon in these sedimentary stores.

Macroalgae is a highly productive primary producer and studies show that it is a large contributor of organic carbon to marine sediments yet Macroalgae is not yet protected in the same way globally as seagrass meadows and mangrove swamps and there is very little data on its contribution to sediments in temperate fjords in the Northern Hemisphere.

The aim of this study is to quantify the source of carbon in a well-studied Scottish sea fjord, Loch Creran and determine the contribution that is made by macroalgae. It is hoped that these results will not only clarify the role of macroalge in the processes but may also help build the evidence necessary for macroalgae to be considered for protected status similar to that enjoyed by the other marine primary producers.

PhD objectives:

  • To determine the contributors of organic carbon to the sedimentary stores of Loch Creran.
  • To better understand the transportation and governing abiotic mechanisms that determine the deposition of MA detritus and where it is deposited
  • To use techniques such as eDNA/DNA and Stable isotope analysis to determine which species of MA are deposited in which sites and if there is a difference between intertidal and sub tidal species caused by their morphology and buoyancy or negative buoyancy properties.
  • To combine analysis of consumption rates with sequestration rates to determine the gross contribution of macroalgal detritus in the loch.
  • To re-visit previous carbon budget calculations for the Loch to enable a better definition for macroalgae’s contribution.
  • To provide evidence to existing studies supporting the concepts of storage capacity being related to sediment type and grain size. To eventually provide a first order estimate of macroalgal carbon residing in and being contributed to Scottish Lochs and in doing so provide a template for calculation of MA in other temperate fjords.

Contact details:
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @bluedomain2