Caroline Griffin

PhD Research Student

MSc Environmental Technology, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine (1997)
BSc (Hons) Zoology, University of Edinburgh (1992-1996)

Supervisors: Dr Andre GilburnDr Nils Bunnefeld

Start Date: 1st April 2011

3B156, Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 467787
fax: +44 (0)1786 467843

Research Project

Assessing the ecological impact of beach clearing on coastal biodiversity in Scotland

The practice of clearing stranded wrack from Scotland’s beaches has become increasingly common. The removal of this material from beaches regularly used by tourists is likely to be having a negative impact on coastal biodiversity. Clearing removes sand, seeds and propagules of dune plants and other coastal organisms and can leave the dunes susceptible to erosion.
 Beached wrack should be left to naturally decompose above the high tide mark; ensuring nutrients are recycled back into the beach environment and also providing a habitat for numerous species of macroinvertebrates, which in turn can provide a very rich source of food for shorebirds. 
Unfortunately, marine litter also gets washed up with the wrack and in some cases forms a substantial part of the strandline material. Many local councils in Scotland deal with this litter problem by mechanically removing all strandline material. This not only deprives strandline macroinvertebrates of their habitat but also shorebirds of a valuable food resource. Much of this cleared material is either deposited in landfill or used as compost in terrestrial systems.

Funding Acknowledgments

I have been awarded a Horizon Studentship from the University of Stirling.

Part of my field work is kindly being funded by MASTS (Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotland).

Previous Work

October 2003-November 2007
Institute of Aquaculture (Environmental Services), University of Stirling
Consultant:  Examining environmental impact of aquaculture developments in marine and freshwater systems. Main duties: Environmental survey, ROV survey, benthic taxonomy, data analysis and reporting. During this time I was also involved in student training and attended a variety of courses and conferences developing my expertise and knowledge.

May 2003-October 2003
Emu Limited, Marine Ecologist:  Surveying and reporting on a number of different projects, including EIA’s for offshore wind farms and aggregate extraction areas. This included underwater camera work, grabbing & trawling, side-scan sonar survey, taxonomic analysis, statistical analysis and reporting.

March 2002 to May 2003
Queens University Belfast, Research Assistant:Carried out research on the condition of the Horse Mussel (Modiolus modiolus) beds in Strangford Lough. This included: underwater camera work, side-scan sonar, taxonomic analysis and statistical analysis and reporting.

July 1999 to March 2002 
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
Benthic Ecologist: Carried out research relating to environmental disturbances and their effect on Meiofauna and Macrofauna.
Projects included:

  • The effects of marine oil spill Bioremediation on benthic fauna.
  • Implications of the nature and quality of dredged material for its beneficial placement in the marine environment.
  • Impacts of fishing on the benthic marine fauna.

Dec 1997-July 1999: 
CEFAS, Assistant Scientific Officer. Involved in writing a Quality Status Report 2000 for the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel for the Oslo and Paris Convention. Also the National Monitoring Report for Shellfish Hygiene.
June-Oct 1995Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.Voluntary conservation project, Crete

Publications from previous work. (Please note, my maiden name was Wall)

Response of estuarine meio and macrofauna to in-situ bioremediation of oil-contaminated sediment. Schratzberger M, Daniel F, Wall C.M, Kilbride R, Macnaughton SJ, Boyd SE, Rees HL, Lee K & Swannell RPJ (2003). Marine Pollution Bulletin 46(4): 430 - 443.

Effects of paint-derived tributyltin on structure of estuarine nematode assemblages in experimental microcoms.M.Schratzberger, C.M.Wall, W.J.Reynolds, J.Reed & M.J.Waldock.
Journal of experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 272 (2002) 217-235

The structure and taxonomic composition of sublittoral meiofauna assemblages as an indicator of environmental status of marine environments.M. Schratzberger, J. M. Gee, H. L. Rees, S. E. Boyd and C. M. Wall Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 80(6): 969-980

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