BAS Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Antarctic Survey

Abstract

This programme aims to understand how past, present and future environmental change has and will affect polar biodiversity both on land and in the ocean, and how life adapts to extreme polar conditions. Our research outcomes will provide deep insight into the impact of environmental change on the natural world, make a strong contribution to future conservation measures, and generate new and innovative areas of research that have potential societal benefits. Our team has two research groups, Biodiversity and Adaptations. The Biodiversity group focuses its investigations on mapping species distributions, how they relate to current and past environments and how this information can be used to predict future distributions under environmental change. The Adaptations group investigates adaptations to extreme polar conditions, from the molecular level through physiology to ecology and, using experimental approaches, how these may affect species abilities to adapt under future change scenarios. Both groups work together towards the same aim: to develop a holistic picture of future patterns of biodiversity in a changing world.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Antarctic marine species appear less able to respond to warming of the environment than those from lower latitudes.

Several Antarctic marine species lack the traditional molecular heat shock response to warming, but still have a complex stress response.

Iceberg acitivity limits community development in Antarctic shallow seas and has had a stronger effect in the last 20 years at sites on the Antarctic Penninsula than previously.

Small in situ warming increases growth rates of common biofouling species more than is expected from trtaditional understanding of temperature effect on biological systems. Warming of only 1C markedly alters community structure of Antarctic benthic ecosystems.

Growth and development of marine species are markedly slower than expected from extrapolations from temperate and tropical related species.

Antarctic sponges have remarkable seasonal metabolic plasticity and scope.

The mechanisms setting temperature limits for Antarctic marine species under rapid warming are species specific.

Acclimation markedly affects responses to ocean acidification. If anyone reads this could they email me on lspe@bas.ac.uk so I know it has been of use.
Exploitation Route Interest from general public

Important data for conservation in polar regions

Inclusion in conservation horizon scans
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

URL http://www.antarctica.ac.uk
 
Description Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation (BEA) Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation (BEA). The BEA Team comprises two groups, one of which focusses on polar terrestrial and marine biodiversity from the deep sea to the intertidal. It especially aims to identify how observed biodiversity relates to current and past environments and what impacts there have been and will be from environmental change. The second is investigating adaptations to extreme polar conditions, from the molecular level through physiology to ecology. It is also making comparisons to species and ecosystems from temperate and tropical latitudes, and has several projects aimed at improving mechanistic biological understanding that also have strong innovation elements with potential for direct societal benefit. The overall team has an integrative element aiming to model foodwebs and interactive networks in the polar-regions both on land and in the sea. Members of the team have strong impact nationally through advice to UK government committees and internationally through a very wide range of activities including membership of SCAR committees and steering groups, foreign government advisory groups and advisory/steering groups for foreign institutions and universities. Examples of this are that one of our team (Dr Melody Clark) gave verbal evidence to the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee inquiry into ocean acidification. BEA team members published 46 ISI listed papers in 2015 and were cited 2646 times. This includes a special issue of Marine Genomics journal devoted to the CACHE network on production of shells in bivalve molluscs. BEA team members were Co-I or PI on over £6 million of current grant funding and support for PhD students and won a further 8 grants or PhD studentships in the year worth over £600k, including BAS ODA relevant funding, small BAS innovation grants and a NERC pathfinder grant. BEA team members currently supervise 24 PhD students. Dr JA Crame was PI and Dr S Morley was a tutor on a 4 week NERC funded training course in Svalbard on Polar field skills. Prof L. Peck was awarded an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand and Dr Melody Clark was awarded a DSC by Imperial College, London. The Biodiversity Group contains experts in polar terrestrial and marine biodiversity who have strong taxonomic and phylogenetic capability. They have been in the past and still are major players in large international programmes of science such as SCAR MarBIN and the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML). Its scientists have internationally strong track records in marine ecology and terrestrial biodiversity patterns, with highlights such as demonstrating the importance of plastics in changing distributions of marine species, and limiting models of past ice cap extents by showing continuous presence of biota on exposed ice-free ground for millions of years and longer. There are strong international collaborations with a wide range of countries, especially Chile, Malaysia, Italy and Norway (Svalbard). The Biodiversity Group conducts internationally leading science in the areas of biogeography and macroecology, diversity (including microbiology), community ecology, evolution, biological change (including environmental monitoring) and human impacts, and it incorporates the concept of 'past, present and future' in its science direction. It will have strong input into future conservation measures and understanding impacts of change, especially in the polar-regions. The Adaptations Group contains scientists with strong international records in investigations of how polar animals differ from those in lower latitudes from the molecular (gene) level through cellular and metabolomic to physiology and ecological levels. Its scientists have past highlights that include: showing a link between maximum animal size and water oxygen content; in describing the details of the heat shock response, which is complex and appears absent in some Antarctic species; in demonstrating Antarctic marine species are less resistant to warming conditions than lower latitude species; in showing that growth, development rate and the time needed to complete processes related to feeding are markedly slower in Antarctic marine species than would be expected from predictions of temperature effects on temperate and tropical species, and in demonstrating that in long-term experiments Antarctic urchins and brachiopods are more resistant to ocean acidification than is often generally assumed, which led to the team being invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on Ocean Acidification for the British Overseas Territories. Current research is, and future research will investigate fundamental mechanistic adaptations to cold polar conditions, such as the problems that Antarctic species appear to have in making successfully folded proteins, collaborations on genomic sequencing of Antarctic species, investigation of whether there is there a universal stress response or universal biomarkers that can be used in field evaluations, and in conducting long-term multiple stressor assessments of animal abilities to resist change. It will also make stronger links with potential industrial partners to identify and develop the value of biomolecules from organisms adapted to low temperature environments.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Cambridge University 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution THE BEA Team have strong collaborations with Cambridge University scientists in several departments including: Prof Jane Clarke (Department of Chemistry) on low temperature protein folding. Prof Alison Smith and Dr Matthew Davey (Plant Sciences) on low temperature plant and algal biodiversity including metabolic biodiversity. Dr Kathryn Lilley (Biochemistry) on proteomics of cellular components of Antarctic marine species Dr Elizabeth Harper (Earth Sciences) on several topics including molluscan and brachiopod shell structure and composition, global vriation in predation, and ocean acidification Prof Serena Best and Dr David Shepherd (Materials Science) analyses of marine invertebrate skeletons
Collaborator Contribution All partners have provided access to facilities, staff time and consumables to collaborastive projects. All partners have applied for and been successful in joint grant applications or PhD studentships in the last 3 years.
Impact n/a
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboraration with Malaysian Antarctic Programme 
Organisation University of Malaya
Country Malaysia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Several small research projects and studentships have and are being conducted with the Univesiti Malaya, predominantly run through Prof P. Convey at BAS.
Collaborator Contribution Development of research projects, identifying science topics, assistance with collection of material, supervision of students, analysis of data and writing of manuscripts.
Impact n/a
Start Year 2013
 
Description Collaboration with Southampton University 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution BEA staff supervise PhD students and run joint science projects with the Univeristy of southampton primarily via their DTP
Collaborator Contribution Student supervision, access to facilities, input to research them development, data analysis and manuscript preparation.
Impact Completed doctoral theses, scientific papers
Start Year 2013
 
Description Portsmouth University 
Organisation University of Portsmouth
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Teaching and research collaborations
Collaborator Contribution Members of BEA staff assist with provision and use of facilities, expertise and advice, and tachning/mentoring of students
Impact 2 x Masters theses
Start Year 2015
 
Description Royal Veterinary college 
Organisation Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to expertise and facilities
Collaborator Contribution Access to expertise and facilities
Impact none
Start Year 2016
 
Description University of Canterbury 
Organisation University of Canterbury
Department Gateway Antarctica
Country New Zealand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Terching Fellowship at University of Canterbury plus joint grant written to monitore Ross Sea MPA
Collaborator Contribution Teaching, input to writing grant
Impact Grant application written to NZ government
Start Year 2016
 
Description Antarctic Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 250 academics from across the world attended

Several contacts were made asking for research collaborations. Three have led to concrete interactions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Departmental Seminar (Newcastle university 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited seminar for Newcastle University Department of Biological Sciences. Audience included undergraduate and post-graduate students, academics and administrators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Immelman Lecture at University of bielefeld 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Gave the invited annual Immelman Lectur at Bielefeld University. This is an annual Univeristy scale presentation given by invited global leaders in the given field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Innovation presentation to Cambridge university 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 60 Cambridge university academics attended. The aim was to stimulate thinking about collaborations around the BAs/UCam innovation centre.

12 applications for pilot funded projects from the U Cam call in 2013 were made following this presentation. 6 were successful and are now running
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Invited Presentation at Alfred-Wegener-Institute confernece 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk changed the view of adaptation to cold marine environments

After my talk more than 15 attendees asked to be sent copies of the paper the talk was based on when it comes out.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited specialist conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 35 leading international academics attended

Much progress in thinking in field
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Keynote presentation at Portsmouth University Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote presentation at Portsmouth Universities Science Festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Keynote presentation to Env East and Cambridge DTPs spring meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynot presentation at DTP spring meeting of 2 NERC funded DTPs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Malac Soc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 120 international academics attended

Much following interest and debate. Two requests for collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Media interest 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press releases by BAS and also by the publishers (Cell Press) of the main paper were taken up by over 100 media outlets. There were subsequently several radio interviews on this work in media outlets across the globe including USA, UK, Australia and Germany.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Naked scientist 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Panel memeber of the Naked scientist programme for rdio - reached audiences of tens of thousands

Further requests for information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description PlymSEF Silve medal presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote presentation and award presentation to a wide ranging audience with interest in marine science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description PlymSEF Silve medal presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talked engendered great interest from undergraduate students through to senior academics, changing understanding in this area of science.

Requests to continue discussing the work in ths presentation went on until after 11 pm in the evening.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Radio 4 the life scientific 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact the PI (LSP) weas subject of the radio 4 "Life Scientific" programme broadcast on Radio 4 and the World Service

Several groups (schools, WI groups and Camera Clubs) have asked for further information or visits
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description SCAR EBA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 50-60 invited attendees of international specialists meeting

further requests for information. Two collaborations progressed
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description SCAR Horizon Scan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 80 leading international academics came together to identify the large questions on the horizon for antarctic research. To inform the academic community, stakeholder and policy maker decisions.

1 paper in Nature, a second in Antarctic science. Follow up meetings in at least 6 countries to identify how to use the information produced in national programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Talk to Galapagos Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 50 invited stakeholders and supporters of the Galapagos trust attended. My presentation was on similarities between the problems caused by climate change in Antarctica and the Galapagos. Penguin examples were amongst severl others.

The audience spent over 30 mins in the question session after the presentation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Talk to Oxford Science Union 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 75 academics attended the presentation

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description uk horizon Scan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 20-30 academics and managers attended meeting and discussion groups

Information provided for future decisions on priorities for funding
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014