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Aquatonics Ltd are involved in several areas of research, ranging from environmental chemistry to aquaculture. The main areas are listed below, but if you have any research requirements in aquatic ecology and chemistry please email Phil or for ecophysiology, fish health and welfare please email Anne.


If you want a full list of publications please click here for Anne Brown's CV and here for Phil Smith's CV.

Selected publications and reports:

Smith, P R J, Perrett, J, Garwood, P and Moore, G (1999). Two additions to the UK marine fauna: Desdemona ornata Banse, 1957 (Polychaeta, Sabellidae) and Grandidierella japonica Stephensen, 1938 (Amphipoda, Gammaridea). Newsletter of the Porcupine Natural History Society, p 8-11, Number 2.

Smith, P R J (2000a). The Use of a Glauconitic Clay to Remove Metals from Solution. Aquatonics Ltd.

Smith, P R J (2000b). Use of a Glauconitic Clay to Remove Copper from Effluents Produced During Manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards. Report for Aquatonics Ltd.

Smith, P R J (2001).Trials of a Prototype Plant using Clay Slurry to Remove Metals from a Mine Effluent. Report for Aquatonics Ltd.

Smith, P R J & Hook, M (2002). Comparison of Different Clay Slurries for Removing Copper from Solution. Report for Aquatonics Ltd.

Smith, P R J. (2003). Use of Waste and Low Value Clays to Remove Metals from Polluted Streams and Discharges. March 2003.

Townsend, M; Worsfold, TM; Smith, PRJ; Martina, LJ; McNeill, CL and Kendall, MA (2006). Occurrence of Sternaspis scutata (Polychaeta: Sternaspidae) in the English Channel. Cahiers de Biologie Marine, Volume 47, 281-285.

Smith, P, Snook, D, Muscutt, A and Smith, A (2010). Effects of a diesel spill on freshwater macroinvertebrates in two urban watercourses, Wiltshire, UK. Water and Environment Journal. 24(4): 249-260.

Smith, P and Barber T (2011). Geophilus seurati from a core sample in muddy sand in the Hayle estuary, Cornwall. Bulletin of the British Myriapod and Isopod Group. Volume 25, p51.

Smith, P and Nunny, R (2012). Mapping of sedimentary marine biotopes around Lundy, U.K. Journal of the Lundy Field Society, Volume 3, 41-74.

Pinder, AM; Sweeney, P and Smith, PRJ (2013). First confirmed record of the genus Insulodrilus (Benham, 1903) (Annelida: Clitellata: Phreodrilidae) in Europe. BioInvasions Records (in press).

Removal of Metals and other Contaminants from Rivers and Effluents

Aquatonics Ltd was formed in April 2000 following a successful application for a SMART award from the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The SMART award of 45,000 funded a 3 year research project to examine the large-scale uses of glauconitic clay to remove metal pollution. We also examined the effectiveness of other waste and low value clays.

Report Summaries (Click to view) :
1. Laboratory trials
2. Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing
3. Wheal Jane tin mine
4. In-Stream Treatment using Clays
5. Final Report
6. Toxicity Test using the Gastropod Physa acuta

Many clays also have a very good ability to remove hydrocarbons from contaminated water. A pilot project has examined the use of clay to remove benzo-a-pyrene from water. Clays therefore have the ability to remove most of the pollutants of concern from road run-off.

Fish Health and Welfare

Please click on Fish Health and Welfare for details of our research on fish health and welfare.

Fish Physiology

Data on impacts of tidal exclusion on water quality and fish behaviour are contained in two reports. The baseline survey and the tidal exclusion survey.

Professor Anne Brown (Anne Smith) has been actively involved in research into fish physiology since 1972, with posts at the Universities of Sheffield, Hull and Exeter. She now holds an Emeritus Professorship in the School of Biosciences at Exeter University. Research within her team has focussed on understanding the impact of the environment on the physiological processes of fish. Their work has been funded by UK Research Councils (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), The Nuffield Foundation and the European Union, as well as various industries.

Anne currently leads work funded by NERC that is exploring the dispersal of alien (non-native) fishes and the impact of their saline tolerance in determining the potential spread of three species :

  • topmouth gudgeon
  • sunbleak
  • zander (pikeperch)
  • Other publications have examined the effects of parasitism (Anguillicola crassus) on European eels and the effects of aquaculture practises.

    Work extending over more than 20 years has examined the impacts of environmental pollutants :

  • pH (acidity)
  • Oxygen
  • Salt (salinity)
  • Aluminium
  • Perchlorate
  • Crude oil
  • Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP
  • )
  • Produced water from oil production
  • Napthalene
  • Flame retardants
  • Non-native Fish and Invertebrates

    The impact of non-native (alien) fish species and their ability to adapt to saline waters and thus use salt-bridges as routes for further invasion has been investigated by Professor Anne Brown's team at the University of Exeter. Papers produced from this research area available from Aquatonics Ltd.

    Phil Smith has an interest in non-native aquatic invertebrates. Whilst surveying for Associated British Ports in Southampton Water he found two species new to the UK fauna. These were identified by Dr Peter Garwood as Desdemona ornata (a sabellid polychaete worm) and Grandidierella japonica (a gammarid crustacean). The results are contained in a paper available here.

    In the Thames estuary at Wandsworth in November 2012 Aquatonics found 8 specimens of a very unusual oligochaete worm. They were identified by Pascal Sweeney as a Phreodrilidae, a family of oligochaete worms that does not occur naturally in Europe. Later some of the specimens were identified by Adrian Pinder in Western Australia as Insulodrilus sp, most likely a member of the Insulodrilus lacustris species complex. This is the first record of this species outside its native range and only the third record of the family Phreodrilidae outside its native range. A description of the specimens can be found in our paper in BioInvasion Records.

    Rare Marine Invertebrates

    We have helped to compile information on the distribution and ecology of a marine polychaete (Sternaspis scutata) that is rare in the UK but is apparently extending its range rapidly. Click here for a pdf of the paper

    A recent survey of Lelant Water (Hayle estuary) in Cornwall showed that there is a population of the centipede Geophilus seurati which appaers to spend all of its life on the intertidal sediments, living under a covering of filamentous green algae. A short note on this population can be found here.

    A summary of the various interesting freshwater and estuarine/marine species we have recorded is available here.

    Impacts of Tidal Exclusion

    The ecological impacts of tidal exclusion on a wide range of organisms in Copperhouse Pool, Hayle, were examined in a baseline survey and during a tidal exclusion. Species studied included golden-grey mullet (Liza aurata), ragworms (Nereis diversicolor), lugworms (Arenicola marina) rough periwinkles (Littorina saxatilis), shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) an amphipod crustacean(Corophium volutator)and brown shrimp (Crangon crangon). A portable Pocket PEA fluorimeter was used to assess the effects of desiccation on the photosynthetic ability of a variety of seaweeds including spiral wrack (Fucus spiralis), bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) knotted wrack (Ascophylum nodosum) and filmentous green algae (Rhizoclonium riparium and Ulva spp.)

    Impacts of Pollution

    The impacts of a diesel spill on a small stream and the River Ray (a tributary of the River Thames) were studied by Aquatonics Ltd. The client gave their permission to publish the results, which are available here.

    Impacts on Biodiversity of Farming Novel Aquaculture Species

    Aquatonics Ltd have completed a research contract funded by the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) and Defra that examined the impacts on biodiversity of farming novel aquaculture species. The results of the study are available on the SARF web site. A sample spreadsheet is also available from SARF.

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