The Future of Environmental Monitoring
Thierry Baussant is a marine biologist with more than 20 years’ experience assessing environmental effects on marine organisms and will be leading the Centre’s second theme on Environmental Quality and Sustainability. This theme will focus on deepening the knowledge base and finding new approaches for environmental monitoring of both existing issues in aquatic production as well as in response to new products or processes that the SUREAQUA Centre may develop.
Most of Thierry’s work has focused on the effects of industrial activities at sea and he is now involved in a number of projects looking at new ways to assess and monitor those impacts. This includes the use of sensors and going outside the lab toward in-situ, real-time monitoring which may be used to target specific issues related to aquaculture such as fish welfare and detecting pathogens for disease prevention.
“Although a focus on the bioeconomy sector is something new for me, it is an interesting area for me because it is a new field and I hope we can transfer some of the knowledge I have acquired in other areas.”
“We will be looking for synergies with things we are already doing at the moment, such as the use of eDNA, (DNA that is extracted from environmental samples such as soil or water), and other projects we have using sensors for monitoring, as well as more traditional methods for monitoring the environment,” says Dr. Baussant. For example, eDNA may have applications for monitoring pathogens or escapes in aquaculture, while Thierry has also collaborated with DTU Nanotech in Denmark on the use of a bioelectronic tongue/lab-on-a-chip technology (see more on this here
) in a former project. He is looking forward to resuming and developing this collaboration further. Thierry continues to explain that, “Real time sensors will be an important element in the future of environmental monitoring. It will be important to end-users, producers, and farmers, whichever stakeholder is involved, to have systems in place for rapid feedback of data so that they are in a position to counteract any unexpected effects.”
“What I like is that there is … a nice mix of people with different interests and different roles.”
“What I like about SUREAQUA is that there is a consortium of research institutes, applied research, basic research and industry, as well as some authorities and NGOs. It is a nice mix of people with different interests and different roles,” says Thierry. His hope is to develop something here that will be of strategic interest for future collaborations as well, and envisions the Centre building bridges between a myriad of players.
Thierry began his work in ecotoxicology in 1996, and is now Chief Scientist of the Marine Environment section at the International Research Institute of Stavanger. His recent research has focussed on real-time environmental monitoring using sensor and biosensor technologies. Thierry will be coordinating SUREAQUA’s theme on Environmental Quality and Sustainability.
Image acknowledgements: Kallen