Sophie Ward ECR-TG - Marine Energy Wales Conference 2019
I applied for the PRIMaRE Early Career Researchers Travel Grant (ECR-TG) to enable me to attend the Marine Evidence Wales Conference 2019 in Swansea, 17-19th September 2019. The aim of the meeting was to facilitate the discussion of the research priorities for the recently-launched Welsh Marine Evidence Strategy. The conference, organised by Environment Platform Wales, was well-attended by a range of stakeholders, including academics from institutions across the UK, members of Welsh Government, as well as representatives from Natural Resources Wales, Cefas, Defra and CEH. At the conference, I had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on my work titled “Man-made structures as stepping stones for marine non-native species”, in the session on Marine Structures and Invasive Non Native Species. In this work I am developing tools for improved larval dispersal studies in the Irish Sea, with particular focus on how offshore structures impact on the connectivity of marine non-native species populations. With considerable potential for marine renewable energy developments in the Irish Sea, consideration of how ORE devices (e.g. offshore wind/tidal stream devices) may enable the spread of marine species by providing stepping stones of suitable habitat for fouling organisms. This meeting was thus an ideal platform from which to publicise this work. I am very grateful to PRIMaRE for the financial assistance provided through the ECR-TG, which enabled me to attend this interesting, diverse, and important meeting.