Zara Botterell

Zara Botterell

Biosciences undergraduate to explore impacts of climate change on the Newlyn fishery

University of Exeter 2nd year Biosciences student Zara Botterell has secured a prestigious Society of Biology / British Ecological Society Summer Bursary and further funding from the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers to assess past and future impacts of warming seas on the Newlyn fishery.

In her highly-ranked proposal to the SoB/BES, Zara proposed to drill into the findings of Dr Steve Simpson’s recent analysis of the impacts of warming seas on European fisheries at the sub-regional scale, focussing specifically on impacts to the Newlyn fishing fleet. Working with Simpson, a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change, Zara will use past trends to train models that will predict future distributions and abundances of key fisheries species into the 21st Century.

Zara is from Penzance so is ideally placed to interact with the local fishing communities. Says Zara: “Where I grew up fishing is a big part of the community, so I relish the opportunity to discuss and contextualise our scientific discoveries with the fishermen over the summer.” With guidance from Dr Kirsten Abernethy from the Environmental Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter’s Falmouth Campus, Zara will develop questionnaires to draw new evidence from the fishermen on how the seas are changing, and explore opportunities to adapt and capitalise sustainably on the predicted changes in the fishery due to further warming.

The project will provide a valuable case study for a Sustainable Fisheries in 2050 thinktank that Simpson is convening at the Fishmonger’s Company HQ in London. Explains Simpson: “While we have significant evidence from science surveys and climate data that warming is changing fish distributions, the fishermen are out there every day sampling the seas. I am excited to learn from their experiences and help develop adaptive strategies to capitalise on changing opportunities as important fish species change in their abundance.”

Zara’s project runs from 1 July to 22 September 2013, and will hopefully inspire future cohorts of students to explore opportunities for funding for summer placements.

Date: 11 July 2013

Read more University News