Heriot-Watt students awarded at marine conference

MASTS conference held at Heriot-Watt University

The first conference of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, held at Heriot-Watt University, proved to be a huge success for all 150 delegates in attendance.

Challenges facing Scottish waters

Through a combination of seminars and workshops, the conference allowed for the sharing of ideas in an open forum to further understand the challenges facing Scottish waters in the 21st Century.

Seawaters continue to acidify due to pollution, and marine environments are now facing unprecedented challenges to their survival. As well as experts from Heriot-Watt, the MASTS conference brought together those working throughout the country in marine science and governmental agencies to find ways to alleviate the problems.

MASTS represents a new way of doing marine science in Scotland. Having the first Science Conference at Heriot-Watt was a wonderful opportunity.

Dr Murray Roberts, Director of the Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology

Workshops and presentations

Workshops on the day by Heriot-Watt staff included presentations on Marine Renewables, MASTS International Collaboration and Networks and Scientific Requirements for Autonomous and Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles.

Dr. J Murray Roberts, Director of the Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology, said: "MASTS represents a new way of doing marine science in Scotland. Having the first Science Conference at Heriot-Watt was a wonderful opportunity.

Everyone came away enthused with contacts and ideas for projects ranging from developing novel underwater vehicles to ways of understanding the environmental effects of Scotland's burgeoning marine renewable energy activities."

Prize awards

The conference brought further accolades for Heriot-Watt when it was announce that two of the three prizes for joint best posters were awarded to Heriot-Watt PhD students, both from the School of Life Sciences.

Virginia Echavarri Bravo, supervised by Dr Mark Hartl and Dr Lynn Paterson, won for her poster showcasing her work on the environmental impact of silver nanoparticles on estuarine microbial communities.

And Jennifer Loxton, supervised by Dr Joanne Porter also won for her poster, titled "Biodiversity and Calcification in Scottish Bryozoans and the Potential Implications of Climate Change on these Communities".

Professor James Mair, Heriot-Watt representative on the MASTS Executive Committee, said after the conference "This conference has been a massive undertaking, but the benefits of having so many scientists in one place to discuss the marine issues of today has paid dividends. Adding to this, with all the successful and enterprising students emerging from Heriot-Watt in this field, I believe the future of Scottish waters have never been in better hands."