#PlanetPartners: Sustainable underwater ecosystems supported by Reading research
24 May 2021
Studying how food resources in oceans around the world could affect ecosystems and supporting work to manage local rivers are ways the University of Reading is supporting life under water.
The University’s institutional and research efforts are underpinned by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at tackling societal and environmental challenges across the planet and are closely aligned with the University’s own strategy.
This May, the University of Reading is running a new #PlanetPartners campaign, inviting its entire community to share examples of work towards all the SDGs.
SDG14: Life Below Water covers sustainable use of the oceans, seas and rivers to protect resources and achieve responsible development.
"Monitoring the changes in the marine environment are more crucial than ever for protecting marine resources and securing food in the future." - Dr Shovon Roy, University of Reading
Examples of work by the University to address SDG14 include:
- Researching the role phytoplankton plays in the aquatic food chain, including estimating where resources are most volatile, and how thinning Arctic sea ice could threaten ecosystems there.
- Carrying out environmental studies along the River Loddon and River Blackwater, including testing sediment for fertiliser value.
- Influencing Defra and EA policy through water quality research.
Dr Shovonlal Roy, an environmental science researcher whose research includes studies of marine phytoplankton globally, said: “Life below water is strongly coupled with life on land. Understanding marine ecosystems and monitoring ecosystem health on a global scale are essential to track the impacts of environmental and climate change on essential ecosystem services such as oxygen production, carbon fixation and production of primary food.
“Challenges to marine life are many: oceans are warming up, turning acidic, losing oxygen and getting polluted. Monitoring the changes in the marine environment are more crucial than ever for protecting marine resources and securing food in the future.
“To this end, our research at Reading utilizes large-scale observations coupled with ecosystems models to understand the variability in food resources and food quality at the base of oceanic food chain, and assess how those variations may impact the production and distribution of marine fish in the future.”
The UN’s SDGs incorporate themes across the ‘five Ps’: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership. These align with the University of Reading’s own strategic themes: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engagement.
This campaign follows the publication of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, in which Reading participated for the first time and ranked in the top 200 globally, which scored participating universities on their support of the individual SDGs.
The University’s latest campaign is a continuation of the #PlanetPartners campaign launched by the University in October 2019, which is highlighting ways the University is working with global partners on projects that benefit the environment.
Follow the campaign and share your examples of work on Twitter: @UniofReading | Facebook: /theuniversityofreading | Instagram: @uniofreading | LinkedIn: University of Reading | TikTok: @uniofreading using the hashtags #PlanetPartners and #sdgoals