£40,000 awarded to local organisation’s world leading climate change research

The Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies (JICAS) has been awarded £40,000 by the Jersey Community Foundation (JCF). With the fund supporting ongoing research into the processes of blue carbon in our seas, JICAS’ joint world-leading study aims to help island states across the globe in the fight against climate change.

The research is being carried out with the Government of Jersey ‘Marine Resources Team’ and the Department of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, and the objectives of the research are to:

  • explore whether blue carbon can ecologically, environmentally, and socially benefit Jersey and other islands around the world
  • reduce Jersey’s net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help it to become carbon neutral as part of climate change mitigation
  • create mechanisms for island states to lead in carbon capture for carbon credits which would generate income for islands like Jersey
  • develop a blue carbon action plan for Jersey and other island nations
  • understand how blue carbon can restore and replenish our unique inter-tidal zones and marine corridors

With research being carried out at various locations across the Norman-Bretagne Gulf, the results of this leading study can be applied to islands around the globe. Research sites include St Catherine’s, the Violet Bank (a reef in Jersey), Les Écréshous, Chausey, St Malo, and other locations along the east coast of Brittany.

While the methodologies are complex, at a basic level, researchers measure the amount of carbon in organic marine material, sea grass, calcified crustacean shells, maerl beds, and decomposed organic material. This is carried out by specialist research divers using underwater body cameras to measure the length and density – as well as absence – of materials against benchmark models for carbon capture.

Director of JICAS, Dr Sean Dettman, says, “We are both thrilled and grateful to have been awarded Lottery Funds by JCF for our joint blue carbon studies. Our ongoing research is taking place at a time when the impacts of climate change are being felt more than ever around the world. We anticipate that our project will help Jersey and other island nations around the world to become carbon neutral and counter global warming. Importantly, the research will also help to put Jersey on the map as a leader in this academic field.

“We are thankful for the ongoing support of the Government of Jersey, as well as the expert work of our colleagues at the Marine Resources Team and the University of Exeter.”

Anna Terry, Chief Executive Officer at Jersey Community Foundation, says, “JICAS’s application for financial support matched well with our funding criteria for the ‘Applied Science and Research Funding’ category. As an island, it makes sense for Jersey to be involved in this research to mitigate climate change through the conservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems. The environmental, ecological, and financial benefits of this research to Jersey cannot be underestimated considering the climate emergency our island and the rest of the world faces. As such, we are very pleased to support this vital study. We wish JICAS, the University of Exeter, and the Marine Resources Team all the very best with this critical research.”

The research is part of an ongoing 3-to-4-year project; however, it could take up to 15 to 20 years of further research to fully understand the benefit of blue carbon.

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