THE EXPEDITION WILL INVESTIGATE:
SHARKS IN UK WATERS: FIVE SPECIES THAT COULD MIGRATE HERE BY 2050
Ness and her team of marine biologists will dive in numerous sites around UK waters discovering the secret lives of the unique and little-known shark species in our waters, understanding their behaviour and capturing the extraordinary diversity of shark we have in our seas. Currently we have around 40 species of shark in UK waters – 100,000 large sharks and 10 million small sharks. With water temperatures rising and reports of great whites off the coast of Cornwall, Ness’ team explore how species like the Great hammerhead, Blacktip and Sand Tiger could migrate to our coastlines by 2050.
MICROFIBRES: THE GREATEST THREAT OF ALL TO OUR OCEANS?
The expeditionis teaming up with a UK University to understand the solutions to the colossal damage being done by microfibres. What filters are being designed to catch synthetic fibers in washing machines? Studies indicate 93% of bottled water showing signs of microplastic contamination, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Microfibers from synthetic fibers have been shown to make up the majority of human material found along the worlds shorelines; as much as 85%. Ness’ team will be investigating the options for alternative clothing materials to find out what our most viable choices are, taking into account all environmental impacts from production to use to end of product life.
THE UNSPOKEN TRUTH OF THE NORTH SEA TEMPERATURE CHANGES
As water temperature rises dramatically in the North Sea – studies indicate twice the average global levels – we will see fish species like cod and haddock move north towards the Arctic and more temperate waters. Ness and her team investigate exactly what is happening with a team of experts to understand which of our indigenous species we are losing and predict which new species are expected to move in as the waters around the UK warm. This ecosystem is due to change very quickly, but what is the long-term picture?
AGROCHEMICALS CAUSING COLOSSAL ‘DEAD ZONES’ IN THE NORTH SEA & ATLANTIC
Ness investigates the agrochemicals that are pouring down waterways and into UK seas from the agricultural industry – an issue we hear little about. What chemicals are being used, how much, and how are they impacting our waters and sea life in major ways? Large amounts of agrochemicals cause vast plankton blooms in the ocean. These plankton blooms take all the oxygen out of the waters, creating what are known as ‘Dead Zones’ – essentially killing of all marine life as species suffocate. How big an issue is this, and what are the sustainable alternatives within agrochemical use?
ARE THE NEW UK MARINE CONSERVATION ZONES WORKING?
With the news that the government is pledging 41 new marine conservation zones, Ness investigates the reality of those already existing. With enormous potential to transform and protect vast underwater ecosystems are these conservation zones living up to their promise or are they, as some critics claim, just pretty lines on a map to gain good press? Ness will speak to government representatives, scientists, conservationists, industry and the public to uncover the story to date, and hunt down hard facts and statistics.