Scientists from around the world gather in Caithness for conference
7th July 2015
Scientists from around the world recently gathered in Thurso for an annual biological sciences meeting. The Larwood Symposium was hosted by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the North Highland College UHI on behalf of the International Bryozoology Association. Delegates travelled from as far as New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and the USA for the four day conference which included a tour of Caithness and field trip to Orkney.
The delegates, biologists and palaeontologists, came to discuss their research on bryozoans, tiny freshwater or marine invertebrates. They were welcomed to the conference and to the area by Director of the ERI Professor Stuart Gibb at local museum Caithness Horizons with a drinks reception.
Dr Jen Loxton of the ERI, and organiser of the Larwood Symposium said: "It has been absolutely wonderful to host such an eminent group of scientists here in the Highlands and Islands, and show off our fantastic natural environments. Even though the weather was challenging at times, everyone had a great time and was delighted by the wide biodiversity to be found on our coasts. I would also really like to thank our sponsors the UHI MERIKA Project, Rock Rose Gin, International Bryozoology Association, Society of Biology, Scottish Government and the Linnean Society, without whom this conference would not have been possible."
The round the world trip was definitely a worthwhile one for Dr Abby Smith of the University of Otago in New Zealand and treasurer of the International Bryozoology Association, she said: "I am delighted to be here at the 13th Larwood Symposium. This is a group that meets very seldom so it is extremely useful and important to talk and share with other bryozoologists as the likelihood is that we are the only ones at our institutions with this specialty."
As well as the two days of presentations at the North Highland College UHI's Flagstones facility, the scientists also visited tourist hot spots in Caithness such as Dunnet Beach, RockRose Gin, The Castle of Mey and Mary Ann's Cottage before boarding the ferry to Stromness. In Orkney, the group were able to enjoy some field work and SCUBA Diving to collect samples of bryozoans as well as taking the historic tour of the island visiting the Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodger, Scara Brae and Maes Howe.
Susan Miller, a marine scientist student with the Talent Conservation Volunteers based in Orkney said: "This was my first time at a Larwood Symposium and it has been great! It has been really inspiring and I don't think there would be a question related to bryozoans that I could ask and that someone from the conference wouldn’t be able to answer."
The next meeting of the International Bryozoology Association will be in 2016 in Australia.
DSRL, the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) have collaborated to develop an innovation workshop for some of Dounreay's future talent. Dounreay was a former nuclear research centre for 50 years, and now wishes to trial innovative ideas as it decommissions, by challenging conventional methods and bringing in ideas from other industries.
Lews Castle College UHI, North Highland College UHI and West Highland College UHI align to unlock new opportunities for students, staff and local communities in the Highlands and Islands. Three colleges are involved in a strategic project that seeks to bring together Lews Castle College UHI, North Highland College UHI and West Highland College UHI.
The re-launch of the former Caithness Horizons centre in Thurso is set to take place on Tuesday, 2 November 2021, with the facility being rebranded as the North Coast Visitor Centre. Its relaunch will bring back into use a valuable community asset and support the wider community and economic benefit for Thurso and the wider Caithness Area.
Dr Fiona McLean, a passionate advocate for the role of education in communities, has been elected as the University of the Highlands and Islands' sixth rector. Dr McLean, who lives in Newtonmore, was selected by staff, students and community representatives.
Three colleges in the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership have been recognised with a national award for their use of technology to deliver courses to secondary school pupils in remote and rural areas across the Highland Council region. West Highland College UHI, North Highland College UHI and Inverness College UHI were named winners of the ‘Outstanding Use of Technology in Delivering Remote Teaching and Learning' Award at the Tes FE Awards on Friday 28 May 2021.
Professor Roxane Andersen's free, public seminar on 2nd of June - World Peatlands Day (at 4 pm). The online talk will explore the science of peatlands, touching on subjects including climate change, biodiversity and restoration.
The University of the Highlands and Islands has embarked on a new initiative to promote closer connections between communities in the Highlands and Islands and Iceland. The university has signed an agreement with representatives from Múlaþing, a municipality in east Iceland.
Researchers in the north of Scotland and Wales are trialling a new method of measuring tidal currents which could revolutionise the marine renewables industry. The project, led by scientists from the University of the Highlands and Islands, will use drones to film the movement of water then apply algorithms to determine its speed.
The University of the Highlands and Islands partnership is celebrating its tenth birthday today (Monday 1 February), the same day it welcomes its new Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Todd Walker. Professor Todd Walker will join the university from Australia, where he has worked in multi-campus, regional universities for over 20 years.
The Principal and Chief Executive of North Highland College UHI has announced his intention to the Board of Management to retire from his post on September 30th 2020. Mr Donald MacBeath, a native to Caithness, has held a number of positions across the college, starting as a lecturer in the mid 1980's and progressing to Assistant Principal and Vice Principal before accepting his post as College Principal in June 2014.