Gibraltar described as prime location for marine studies

Gibraltar described as prime location for marine studies

Gibraltar’s surrounding waters have been described as a ‘natural laboratory’ for the study of marine science by an expert marine biologist. Dr Awantha Dissanayake, an experienced researcher in the field of environmental monitoring and marine ecosystem changes.
Dr Dissanayake made the claim during his last visit to Gibraltar in which he led University students on a field expedition into the Bay of Gibraltar to sample and collect microplastics in surface waters. While the group did find very low levels of microplastics in their samples, they also encountered an incredibly rich biodiversity. He said “The Straits of Gibraltar provide a matchless ‘natural laboratory’ for marine studies, allowing ready access to a wide range of different ecosystems. Gibraltar’s location offers opportunities to explore the multi-scale effects of climate change with regard to these zones at local, national and regional levels”.
Dr Dissanayake, who is originally from Gibraltar, is an experienced researcher with a Masters and PhD in marine biology, and extensive research, conservation management and teaching experience. He will be delivering the University’s dynamic new MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change as from September.

Changing Climate

When asked about what makes the study of marine-related science so important, Dr. Dissanayake said, “For all the benefits we derive from the marine environment, it is also facing a whole range of pressures such as overloading of nutrients from sewage and agricultural practices, introduction of invasive species, overfishing, contamination including marine litter and plastics to name but a few. We are going deeper into our oceans for resources such as seafood and minerals to meet society’s needs – there is so much to do to understand how our marine environment will be affected”.
Designed by expert academics and scientists, the University’s new full or part time Master’s in Marine Science and Climate Change blends theoretical study with practical, field-based work. Students will gain the skills required to tackle the complex issues associated with the sustainable development of marine ecosystems. You can apply now to start in September.
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