Restoration of seagrass beds and sticky stick insects: College news | Imperial News





Here’s a load of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From working together to protect and restore UK seagrass habitats, to insight into how insects stick to surfaces, here’s some quick-read news from across the College.

Seagrass restoration

Imperial College London has become a key academic partner in the Blue Meadows project, an ambitious scheme which aims to protect and restore seagrass habitats in the UK, benefiting biodiversity and helping to store carbon .

Oceans Conservation Trust (OCT) recently launched Blue Meadows to protect 700 hectares, or 10%, of UK seagrass and to create a restoration plan. Roger Maslin, CEO of OCT, said the project was “a significant step forward for our environmental work”.

Together, Imperial and OCT are working to refine the large-scale seagrass restoration process and quantify the variability of carbon stored in UK seagrass beds.

Recently returning from a field expedition with OCT, Imperial Director Dr Emma Ransome of the Department of Life Sciences said: “There are currently many unknowns regarding the carbon benefits of seagrass UK, as well as how to effectively restore seagrass beds on a large scale. Our goal is to help fill this knowledge gap.

Learn more about the Blue Meadows project on the OCT website.

Cost of cardiovascular disease

A digital image of a heart and heart rate monitor.
Credit: Shutterstock

Slowing improvement in cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as heart disease and stroke, could cost £54 billion in health and social care costs by 2030.

Prior to 2010, CVD rates in England and Wales improved every year, but progress has since stalled. Working with partners in the UK, Finland and Poland, researchers from Imperial’s School of Public Health have modeled the impact of this downturn on aspects of health and social care.

They found that by 2030 this could result in £13bn in NHS healthcare costs, £1.5bn in social care costs, £8bn in value of informal care and £32 billion due to disease burden (people living in health longer).

According to the team, there is an urgent need to focus more on preventive aspects, including measures to reduce poverty, improve diets, combat smoking and increase exercise, which could help reduce the incidence of diseases. cardiovascular illnesses.

Read it full article in PLOS ONE.

Blockchain for carbon markets

A cartoon visualization of carbon markets.
Credit: Shutterstock

Carbon markets, for example those that trade or offset emissions, could help accelerate action on climate change by channeling investment into effective decarbonization activities. However, they face issues of trust, transparency, and adoption.

One potential solution is to use blockchain technology – digital “ledgers” originally used for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – which record transactional information in a way that is nearly impossible to alter, hack or cheat. Blockchain itself is often shrouded in hype, so it can be difficult to gauge its usefulness in a new industry.

Researchers from Imperial and Shell conducted the first evaluation of blockchain for carbon markets. They found 39 organizations developing such blockchain solutions and rated them on a technology readiness scale. While they found most were only at the proof-of-concept stage, one had reached maturity.

The team says removing hurdles for developers could allow more of these solutions to reach maturity and bring new levels of trust and transparency to global carbon markets.

Read the full article in A land: ‘Blockchain solutions for carbon markets are coming of age

New EMBO member

Professor Molly Stevens, of the Department of Materials at ImperialThe European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) is to welcome Professor Molly Stevens to its membership in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of life sciences. Professor Stevens of the Department of Materials is a leader in the field of biomedical materials using innovative bioengineering approaches to solve key problems in regenerative medicine and biosensing.

Through their involvement, EMBO members help shape the direction of the life sciences, foster the careers of young researchers and strengthen research communities in Europe and beyond.

EMBO Director Fiona Watt said, “The new EMBO Fellows and Associate Members are outstanding scientists, conducting cutting-edge research in a variety of fields…I am delighted to welcome them to the EMBO. EMBO, and I know they will enrich the life of the organization enormously.

sticky stick insects

A diagram showing stick insects of different sizes.
1 credit

Insects of all sizes can stubbornly climb even inverted surfaces, but how do they manage to hang on even as they grow? A centuries-old hypothesis points to the fluid secreted by their footpads as a potential source of their strong attachment.

Main author Dr. Domna-Maria Kaimaki and his team at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering studied the physical properties of Indian stick insect imprints across body size, from newly hatched adults to adult adults. They found that the physical properties of the secreted fluid do not change significantly with the size of the insect, which they believe reopens the debate about its function. This is a key question if we ever hope to create man-made adhesives that mimic insect legs.

This work was led by Dr. David Labonte Evolutionary Biomechanics Group and includes MEng student Charlotte Andrew and PhD candidate Andrea Attipoe.

Learn more in Royal Society Interface Journal.A person views the Imperial News website on a smartphone

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