2019 marine internship projects

In 2019, we welcomed four recent graduates into two of our marine internship programmes, Coast Explorer based in Kent and Marine Futures based in Cumbria.

During the course of their internships, we asked each intern to complete a marine-related project of their choice. For the Coast Explorer programme, we also asked the group to conduct a joint project.

The projects covered a wide range of topics, from looking at the sustainability of marine aggregates to underwater noise from offshore wind farms and its impact on marine species. These projects gave our interns further insights into a career in the marine sector.

Coast Explorer Internship

Melissa Parsons, Coast Explorer Intern 2019

Background: BSc in Marine Biology from Swansea University and MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation from University of Bristol. Melissa also had prior experience with the Manx Wildlife Trust and RSPB.

Research project: Offshore Wind Farms: Fossil fuel use and carbon emissions

Research project summary: This research project aimed to investigate fossil fuel use and associated carbon dioxide emissions of offshore wind farm developments within the UK. The research included understanding the processes that generate CO2 emissions within each of the wind farm life cycle stages, with a particular focus on the operations and maintenance phase. 

The project recommended that the offshore wind farm carbon footprint could be reduced by using low-carbon and locally sourced materials during the manufacturing process; improving fleet management; and reducing fuel use through the adoption of hybrid or hydrogen-powered vessels. 

Natalie Smith, Coast Explorer Intern 2019

Background: BSc in Biological Sciences from University of Exeter and MSc in Marine Environmental Management. Natalie also had prior experience with the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

Research project: International policy drivers for the development of noise mitigation methods for offshore wind farm construction

Research project summary: This research project looked at the policy drivers underpinning the management of underwater noise from offshore wind farm development, through a comparison of the regulatory and policy framework of the UK with other European countries. It sought to explore current uncertainties and issues that may be experienced in the assessment of the impacts of noise on marine mammals, and considered the availability and limitations of a number of different noise abatement and mitigation methods. 

The project found that while a number of noise mitigation methods are capable of addressing underwater noise and reducing its impact on marine species, there’s not a one size fits all approach. The project recommended that further research and a more detailed and robust scientific evidence base will be key in addressing existing uncertainties and effectiveness of mitigation measures.

Katie Margerum, Coast Explorer Intern 2019

Background: BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth. As a HSE Professional SCUBA diver, Katie also had lots of experience as a voluntary research diver.

Research project: How can The Crown Estate more effectively support marine litter initiatives form land to sea?

Research project summary: This research project focussed on understanding the existing practices and initiatives to reduce marine litter and plastic pollution within The Crown Estate, and to recommend innovative solutions to raise awareness and to maximise impact of these initiatives. 

The project recommended more onshore programmes, as well as initiatives that focus on circular economy, alternative resources, managing and mitigating sources, and litter clean ups.  The project also recommended developing a cross-portfolio map of existing initiatives in order to establish areas of improvement and to facilitate The Crown Estate in communicating one strong message.

Melissa Parsons, Natalie Smith and Katie Margerum, Coast Explorer Interns 2019

Joint research project: Marine Aggregates: environmental sustainability and the role of alternatives

Joint research project summary: The research project aimed to assess the environmental sustainability of marine aggregates dredging and to evaluate alternative aggregates sources as viable options for meeting future demands.

The project concluded that the environmental impacts of aggregates dredging are well understood and managed due to a robust licensing regime, and the many mandatory and voluntary research and monitoring programmes that have been implemented by the industry over a considerable period of time.

It was also acknowledged that the UK is currently a European leader in using recycled and secondary aggregates materials, and that this type of material cannot supersede primary aggregates in the current market due to supply, scale and aggregates technical characteristics.

Marine Futures Internship

Lydia Tabrizi, Marine Futures North West Intern 2019

Background: BSc in Marine Biology and MSc in Marine Environmental Protection from Bangor University. Lydia also had prior experience as a course coordinator for MARINElife.

Research project: Assessing the feasibility of a Nephrops creel fishery: In West of Walney Marine Conservation Zone

Research project summary: The research project looked at creel fishing for Nephrops within Walney 2 wind farm off the Barrow-in-Furness coastline. It found that creel fishery for Nephrops is feasible, sustainable, allows degraded habitats to recover and can coexist with both wind farms and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ).

West of Walney MCZ was designated to balance the needs of multiple users and is the perfect example of how wind farms, MCZs and fisherman can all co-exist in the same area.

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