518 Projects, page 1 of 104
Cobalt (Co) has been highlighted as a metal of great strategic and economic importance, both by the NERC Security of Mineral Resources (as an "E-tech" element) and by the European Union's Raw Materials Initiative (as a "Critical element"). Around 55,000 tonnes of cobalt are produced globally each year, though less than 0.1% of this within Europe. In contrast, EU countries use ~30% of global cobalt production. However, there are large untapped reserves of cobalt within Europe, such as the black shale ores in Poland, which are mined for copper, and in Co-bearing nickel laterite ores in Greece, Macedonia and Kosovo. Cobalt is not recovered from either of these. One of the primary difficulties facing cobalt recovery from copper ores lies in the flotation of cobalt when using conventional process for copper flotation. In order to recover cobalt, increasingly complicated chemical additives are being considered. The toxicity of these chemicals decreases the potential environmental friendliness of the process, both in terms of volatilisation and leakage into the surroundings. Lateritic (and other oxidized Co-bearing ores, such as marine nodules) also pose significant technical challenges in developing economically-viable and environmentally-benign approaches for extracting this metal, though recent advances, e.g. in bio-processing ores and mineral concentrates, have highlighted potential new techniques that could be utilized. There is a need to identify not only new extraction and recovery processes for cobalt, but also to understand how cobalt minerals and ores are formed and how the metal behaves in the earth's crust. To facilitate this, a consortium of internationally-acknowledged researchers encompassing a wide range of scientific disciplines has formed, to carry out a comprehensive study of cobalt. This will include investigating how this metal behaves in geological materials and its behaviour in the environment, and also to devise new "green" approaches for extracting cobalt from recalcitrant ores and recovering it from process liquors. These are highly intertwined aspects, for example understanding how and why cobalt establishes residence in silicate, sulfide and oxide phases is an important first step to the design of novel extraction methodologies. Recent reports in the literature, often authored by members of the consortium, have highlighted new (bio)technologies that can be harnessed in the current proposal. For example, the journal "Scientific American" recently (December 2011) highlighted the bio-processing options that will be used in the project as one of "10 world-changing ideas". The project has already attracted great interest and support from industries and research organisations involved in metal mining. Although focused on cobalt, much of the research to be undertaken would be generic and have application in parallel studies with other valuable metals and metal ores.
Catchment research has traditionally been focussed on the science and management of water flow and quality. In recent years, achieving good ecological status and compliance with the Water Framework Directive has been a priority. This has been challenging not least because the majority of rivers in the UK are heavily polluted with nitrogen, phosphorus, and a range of contaminants including pathogens and transfers of dissolved organic C from upland areas are increasing. These can be detrimental to the ecology of rivers and coastal waters, be a risk for human health and increases costs of the water industry. Following the publication of the National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) and the Government's White Paper on the Natural Environment (2011), catchment managers face an even greater challenge trying to ensure water resource objectives do not compromise delivery of other functions which deliver a range of regulating, provisioning or cultural services which we all benefit from. Underpinning delivery of these ecosystem services are basic ecosystem processes such as carbon fixation by plants and the return of carbon back to the atmosphere through decomposition (the carbon cycle), the cycling of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus through plants, soil, water and the atmosphere and detoxification of a range of contaminants including pathogens. Much is known concerning the individual carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (C, N and P) and contaminant cycles, however the coupling of these cycles through the landscape and the subsequent impacts on the natural environment and the services provided are rarely studied. To respond to this gap in our current understanding we will address two research questions. The first is when, where and how do coupled macronutrient cycles (of C, N and P) affect the the functioning of the natural environment within and between landscape units at the catchment scale? The second is how will these coupled cycles alter under land use, air pollution, and climate-change and what will be the effect on water quality, carbon sequestration and biodiversity (three important ecosyststem services) at both catchment and national scale? To achieve this, we will quantify the fluxes, transformations and coupling of the C, N, and P cycles through key processes (net primary productivity, decomposition, nutrient cycling) and quantify the links to pathogen transfer and viability using a combination of targeted field-based monitoring and field- and laboratory-based experimentation in the Conwy catchment supplemented by measurements in intensively farmed areas of the Ribble. The following outcomes are expected: 1. Quantification and improved process-understanding of coupled C, N and P processes, transformations and fluxes across soil functional types and within processing hotspots. 2. Quantification of the effects of instream ecosystem function and co-limitation of N/P on eutrophication development in freshwaters. 3. Testing of hypotheses that terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity can be explained at the catchment- and national-scales as function of macronutrient flux and primary productivity. 4. Source to sea flux quantification and process-understanding of the fate of pathogens and the controls exerted by macronutrients within very fine sediments (flocs). 5. An integrated, parsimonious coupled macronutrient (C, N, P) air-land-water modelling platform, configured for a 1 km grid across the Conwy (i.e. an enhanced JULES model). 6. Sensitivity analysis of carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity to past and future climate, nutrient and land (forest) cover change to determine the key controls on past and future changes in carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity. 7. Quantification of trade offs in delivery of carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity at the catchment scale and the relationship to land cover type and climate regime.
Fishing for marine fish and shellfish can damage the sea-bottom and the animals that live there and it also lowers the abundance of the harvested species. For the use of these marine resources to be sustainable, it is necessary to control fishing activity so that harvested species can breed successfully and to limit damage to fragile species and habitats. Marine reserves, or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), are one possible management tool that may achieve these two objectives. In August 2006, four areas of the sea in Lyme Bay, England, were designated as a marine reserve. The primary purpose of this closure is to protect sea fans (a type of soft coral) and other fragile bottom animals against damage by scallop dredging. These MPAs may also be favourable for the fishers, as MPAs may promote recovery of the scallop stocks within the reserves. Once the scallops in the reserve has grown large and become abundant, they will produce many larvae that will move to adjacent areas, where they can be captured by fishers. Seabed animals that are immobile, such as corals and scallops, may not be able to breed successfully when they are spaced too far apart, and this may occurs as a result of fishing. For such species protection in marine reserves, which will maintain populations at a high density, may be the most successful method to protect these species. Our ability to test these predictions has been elusive due to a lack of suitably replicated MPAs. At this moment, only very few marine reserves exist in Britain and around the world. Therefore the creation of four marine reserves represents a unique opportunity to study the effect of marine reserves on the abundance and recovery of bottom animals inside and outside the reserve. A study like this has to start directly after the reserve was created. We will follow changes of the abundance and reproduction of four species of bottom animals over several years to quantify recovery from scallop dredging damage. We will also determine the exchange of animals between the reserves and the surrounding areas by calculating the spread from tidal currents and by analysis of the DNA of sea fans and scallops. Our research will indicate if marine reserves are indeed an effective way to protect bottom animals and if they are are positive for fisheries. It will clarify how fast these animals recover from fishing and how many marine reserves are necessary to protect animals with different reproductive strategies.
To develop advanced quantitative financial models and an analytic framework to allow Stockomendation, the only officially recognised FinTech50 firm in Wales, to accelerate the development of a global sophisticated platform and improve customer experience.
Tropical forests store and cycle impressive amounts of carbon. They only comprise of 12% of our planet's land surface area, but store 25-40% of the terrestrial carbon, while accounting for about 30% of the total terrestrial net primary productivity. With many tropical forests becoming both drier and warmer due to global change, it has become fundamental to understand how they will respond to such changes. Litter decomposition may hold the key to some of this knowledge, as it constitutes one of the largest carbon fluxes, while its main drivers now thought to be vulnerable to global change. Understanding interactions between climate, light and decomposition is crucial to improve climate-models, and predict how tropical forest biogeochemical cycles will respond to global change. Here we propose a novel research approach combining observational studies along a tropical forest humidity gradient, with controlled common garden and growth chamber experiments. Using advanced analytical techniques, we aim to accurately determine how climate mediates litter decomposition in tropical forests and estimate to what extent it contributes to global carbon-cycling. A multidisciplinary training programme is central to this studentship and the candidate will develop skills in a range of experimental and observational ecological methods, as well as laboratory techniques and advanced statistical analyses and modelling. As this project has the potential to lead several high impact publications it will be a formidable opportunity to develop a research career. All field components of this studentship will be carried out at and in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, with additional controlled experiments and specialised laboratory analyses of litter samples at Bangor University.