Poole Harbour Study Group

The Poole Harbour Study Group has awarded two students from Bournemouth University at its inaugural prize giving.

Jacob Brett, an undergraduate of Bournemouth University, and Ross Wheeler, a postgraduate student also of Bournemouth University, were presented with a certificate and cash award of £100 each, following the submission of extensive dissertation projects examining environmental factors of Poole Harbour.

In 2012, Poole Harbour Study Group partnered with the Environment Agency and Poole Harbour Commissioners to launch two prizes across a selection of Universities for the best undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation on the Poole Harbour environment. The projects were assessed by a panel of judges according to their originality, rigor and overall quality, and the extent to which they increase understanding of the harbour environment.

Professor John Humphreys, chairman of Poole Harbour Study Group and a Poole Harbour Commissioner, said: “These prizes are an important part of our effort to encourage studies on the harbour environment and recognise some of the good work carried out.

“It was a very competitive process but our two winners presented dissertations that were impressive, both exploring contemporary issues relating to wading birds in the Harbour. These included food availability in the Harbours’ lagoons and the effect of disturbance on their behaviour.

“Poole Harbour Study Group is committed to enhancing understanding of the Harbour and the demands upon it. Poole Harbour is a phenomenal place and we continually encourage people to study it. The prize has generated a lot of interest and we will be promoting it to University students again in the next academic year.”

Jacob Brett, undergraduate student at Bournemouth University studying ecology and wildlife conservation, said: “I was recommended by my lecturer to submit my dissertation for the prize giving. I am an avid recreational user of Poole Harbour and carrying out the research was a huge privilege. I studied the harbour over the winter and it was fantastic learning about the impacts on the environment in Poole Harbour and in particular the wading birds.”

Poole Harbour Study Group, which includes representatives from The Environment Agency, Natural England, Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority, Poole Harbour Commissioners, as well as a number of Universities and conservation organisations, has been conducting and disseminating objective research of Poole Harbour, Europe’s largest natural harbour, for more than 25 years. The apolitical organisations’ interests range from physical and geomorphological characteristics through all aspects of the harbour’s ecology, to its geography and socio-economics.

Photo caption (L-R): Suzy Witt of the Environment Agency, Richard Lacey of Poole Harbour Commissioners, with postgraduate student, Ross Wheeler, undergraduate student, Jacob Brett and John Humphreys, chairman of Poole Harbour Study Group