Academic Year 2022-2023
Institution Queen's University, Belfast


School: School of Biological Sciences

Project: Coastal connections: Mapping the extent, health and connectivity of Northern Ireland’s Blue Carbon ecosystems

Supervisors: Dr Sarah Helyar, Dr Flurina Wartmann & Annika Clements

Undergraduate Education: BSc Zoology and Aquatic Biology, Queen Mary University of London

Postgraduate Education: MSc Oceanography and Limnology, University of Amsterdam. MSc Environmental Governance, University of Manchester

Research: Coastal blue carbon habitats in Northern Ireland (NI) include seagrass meadows (Zostera nolteii and Zostera marina) and saltmarsh. I will develop a habitat extent map for these habitats using drone and sensor technology. I will determine carbon stocks and sequestration rates for these habitats along NI’s coastline to ascertain the value of their conservation in the total CO2 budget for NI. I will identify the population genetic structure to enable forecasting of the likely response of seagrass and saltmarsh to climate change (with a focus on population connectivity, local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity). Finally, with Ulster Wildlife as my CASE partner, we aim to initiate the first seagrass restoration project in Northern Ireland, creating locally appropriate and genetically diverse populations.

CASE Partnership with Ulster Wildlife 

Twitter @Heidi_McIlvenny