7 December 2018

With the help of Shoreham Port, Steven Hall, Earth & Ocean Science BSc (Hons) student at the University of Brighton, has been carrying out exciting new suspended sediment research this year. After living and working in Brighton Marina for over five years, Steven recognised the issues that the accumulation of silt can lead to; from the functionality problems it can cause in keeping fairways and berths clear within ports, harbours and marinas, to the negative effects that current methods of sediment management can have on the environment and marine life. With the opportunity of a third-year independent primary research project, Steven strived to study this suspended sediment to look towards better alternatives.

In his search for a location for his project, Steven contacted Shoreham Port’s Harbour Master, Julian Seaman and met to discuss the potential for research. Steven said he felt immediately welcome at Shoreham Port - “I sat down with the Harbour Master and it became obvious to me very quickly how enthusiastic and helpful the team at Shoreham would be. The enthusiasm and positivity of everyone at Shoreham Port was energising and gave me renewed vigour in the project and in the hope that it really could make a difference.”

Julian agreed to provide existing survey data, vessels, and training, and research began mid-spring this year, and remains ongoing. Visiting three areas across the Western Arm of the stretch of the River Adur, Steven collects water samples and takes them to a lab to test the volumes of suspended sediment at different states of tide and different times of the year. By doing this, Steven hopes to identify what factors affect the type and volume of sediment being carried and deposited in the estuary.

To do this research, Steven required an expensive piece of equipment called a Van Dorn-style sampler, which is dropped into the water to collect samples from specific depths. Due to his limited research budget, Steven creatively made his own sampler from clear PVC piping, bungee straps and toilet plungers!

Assisted by Shoreham Port’s Assistant Harbour Master/Marine Works, James Gray, and Marine Operations Assistants, Mark Wilton and Felix Morris-Duffin; Steven regularly takes trips out to the Western Arm of the River Adur in the Port’s survey and patrol vessels, Capella and Spica.

Commenting on Steven’s research project, James Gray said “We are very happy that Steven approached us to complete his dissertation research here at Shoreham Port.  This is a great opportunity to gather research at a local rather than national level, and utilise our resources by providing survey information, vessels, and training to contribute to primary marine research.

James continued ‘’Steven’s findings have the potential to have a broader reach, leading to changes in sediment management that could affect sea defence, flood control, marine life and beyond. We plan to continue assisting this research into the spring of next year, and for the next three years. It is a very exciting time for research at Shoreham Port.”

If you would like to learn more about Steven’s research project or see more photos and developments as they happen, take a look at his blog here.

Categories: Maritime, Sustainability