Western Channel Observatory

NERC National Capability of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Marine Biological Association


Valuing Marine Ecosystem Services in the Western Channel Region

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VALMER is a European-funded project which is investigating how providing monetary values for marine ecosystem services can support effective marine planning and management.

Marine ecosystem services relate to benefits supplied by the marine environment. The services provided by the ocean include fisheries and recreation, but also some services that are not immediately obvious, such as the capture and storage of carbon to help mitigate climate change, and the processing of wastes discharged into waterways.

VALMER has six case study sites in England and France, one of which covers the coastal area between Plymouth Sound and the Fowey estuary in Cornwall, out to a distance of 14 miles from the shore. Carbon sequestration is a particular focus of this case study, and the WCO is providing essential data that the VALMER team needs in order to value this important service.

The long time series and broad range of data collected from both the water column and the seabed provide real insights into how, and in what quantity, carbon is transported from the sea surface and locked away in the sediment. The monetary value of the seabed habitat as a carbon sink can then be estimated using the carbon prices published by international agencies.

The ‘VALMER’ project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation programme INTERREG IV A France (Channel) England, co-funded by the ERDF

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About Us

The WCO is a partnership between the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association.

How are we funded?

The core work of the WCO is funded as part of the UK Natural Environment Research Council's National Capability.

Contact Information

For more details about the WCO please contact:

Dr Tim Smyth
Western Channel Observatory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Prospect Place
email: tjsm@pml.ac.uk