Mission accomplished: fish genetics and population restoration are fused!

Our recent blogs on our fusion-funded co-creation and co-production project on fish population restoration were reporting our strong recent progress as our students began their placements – and all of a sudden, the project is now finished! So what did we discover?

Well, firstly, our students who completed their placements with the University of Insubria in Northern Italy have worked incredibly hard, with excellent reports coming back from our Italian partners (see below). They produced some excellent genetic data to help progress our work. Our placement students based at BU have also been working very hard (albeit in much cooler conditions!) and produced some excellent ecological data.

BU students in Italy

(Above) Our placement students outside the Università degli Studi dell’Insubria with Dr Serena Zaccara (3rd from left) and Caterina Antognazza (2nd left)

Secondly, through our co-creation with stakeholders, students and research collaborators, we have successfully revealed the extent of the disturbance of human activities on fish genetic patterns in the UK. We have revealed clear impacts relating to losses of genetic integrity of fish at the river basin level that we suggest affect their ability to adapt to local conditions – which could be important in the context of climate change. We will be publishing our findings in at least two peer-reviewed papers in the next few months with our students as co-authors.

Thirdly, did we discover how these fish populations could be restored sustainably? Yes, we think we did and we have already passed these on to the relevant authorities at our recent workshop, so these are being considered for implementation.

Finally, we have shown once again that co-creating and co-producing knowledge with our students, stakeholders and international collaborators brings multiple benefits, including enhanced mobility and employment prospects for our students. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience for all!

– Rob Britton, Demetra Andreou & Ben Thomas (all SciTech)