Natural Environment Research Council Designated Data Centres

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  • The project aim was to develop process-based computer simulations of the dispersal of Homo erectus out of Africa. This involved developing realistic constraints on the patterns of vegetation and the effects of changes in global sea level. It was assumed that this migration out of Africa could be investigated through the paradigm of a single migration event, starting around 2 millions of years ago and arriving in Dmanisi around 1.8 millions of years ago. The data archived here consists of the vegetation patterns used in constructing the simulations and the patterns of climate variability used to constrain the variations in sea level and vegetation change. From these data it is possible to reproduce the simulation results. Simulation results are available from J.K. Hughes, A. Haywood, S.J. Mithen, B.W. Sellwood, P.J. Valdes (In Press) Investigating Early Hominin Dispersal Patterns : developing a framework for climate data integration. Journal Of Human Evolution.

  • To reconstruct the maternal demographic history of the populations of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelagos using genetic profiles obtained from colonial era skeletal material and hair collections. The project had two main technical arms: to obtain authentic DNA data from well-handled museum collections of human material, which were a priori presumed to be heavily contaminated; to use the data to fill in lacuna in the genetic landscape left by large-scale demographic decline caused by disease and social disruption associated with the modern era. The major aim of the interpretative phase of the project was to obtain realistic estimates for the date of settlement of these island groups based on genetics because of the absence of reliable archaeological evidence. The main aim of this research was to determine whether the Andaman islanders were part of a very early radiation from Africa or arrived to their archipelago much later. The Nicobars were included in the research to have a comparative data set from the same region from people with a different phenotype. The data set is comprised of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences and coding region Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.

  • The spectacular botanical preservation and long occupation of Qasr Ibrim, Egypt make this site archaeobotanically matchless. 600 samples have been collected over 20 years covering a timespan of c. 1000 BC - AD 1800. The project has particularly focussed on the period AD 100-400 during which several new summer crops including sorghum, cotton, lablab and sesame first appear. These new crops are thought to be associated with the introduction of new irrigation technology, specifically a device known as the saqia, an ox-driven water wheel from which descends a conveyor belt to which pots are attached. It has never before been possible to examine this crucial change archaeologically and this project has allowed the investigation of when and how this great change happened. This has major implications for the history of agriculture in Africa and the Indian Ocean.

  • This research sought to explore the pattern of population movement (direction, rate, permanency) along a hypothesised route from Africa to Australasia during Oxygen Isotope Stage 4. Using GIS-based analyses and hypothetical models of population movement, potential routes out of East Africa were generated and examined. The goal of these analyses was to assess the viability of particular routes, and consider them in terms of ecological and geographical constraints. As a result, several routes through Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia were proposed and evaluated. These routes have been further examined with regards to archaeological site location, the timing of human presence in South Asia, and biological indicators of human diversity.

  • The Ancient Biomolecules Initiative is a Natural Environment Research Council programme exploring the biomolecular record of past life which is entombed in archaeological and geological deposits. The findings have applications in archaeology, anthropology, forensic science, research into the past climates and oil exploration. This resource consists of a series of leaflets in PDF format which describe the key findings of the Ancient Biomolecules Initiative.

  • Sea surface temperature and salinity data have been collected around British coastal waters and in the North Atlantic between 1963 and 1990. The data were collected by ships regularly plying routes between ports in the British Isles and the Continent, and along routes to the North Atlantic Ocean Weather Stations (OWS). Thirty individual shipping routes have been involved, approximately weekly measurements being taken at intervals ranging from 10 to 50 miles depending on the route. The following list details shipping routes and dates of data collection: Bristol - Finistere (Jan 1963 - Nov 1968); Clyde - OWS Alpha (May 1963 - Feb 1974); Clyde - OWS India (Jan 1963 - Jul 1975); Clyde - OWS Juliet (Jan 1963 - Jul 1975); Clyde - OWS Kilo (Mar 1963 - Dec 1972); Clyde - OWS Lima (Mar 1963 - May 1965, Jul 1975 - Dec 1990); Felixstowe - Rotterdam (Aug 1970 - Dec 1990); Fishguard - Cork (Jan 1963 - Oct 1968); Fishguard - Waterford (Jan 1963 - Dec 1966); Folkstone - Boulogne (Jan 1963 - Aug 1966); Heysham - Belfast (Feb 1965 - May 1977); Holyhead - Kish (Jan 1963 - Feb 1966); Hull - Kristiansand (Jan 1963 - May 1976); Larne - Stranraer (Jan 1963 - Feb 1966, Jan 1971 - Dec 1986); Leith - Bremen (Jan 1963 - Apr 1972); Leith - Copenhagen (Jan 1963 - Mar 1968); Liverpool - Belfast (Dec 1970 - Nov 1978); Liverpool - Douglas (Mar 1965 - Nov 1968); Liverpool - Dublin (Mar 1965 - Aug 1979); Liverpool - Larne (Jan 1987 - Dec 1988); Newhaven - Dieppe (Apr 1963 - Feb 1990); Scilly - Shamrock (May 1967 - Mar 1974); Southampton - Le Havre (Jan 1963 - May 1964); Southampton - St. Malo (May 1963 - Sep 1964); Swansea - Cork (May 1970 - Mar 1979); Weymouth - Channel Islands (Nov 1970 - Nov 1985); Weymouth - Cherbourg (Apr 1986 - Sep 1986); Whitehaven - Anglesey (Feb 1965 - Jan 1969). These observations provide useful information on the seasonal and short-term variability of temperature off-shore, and may enhance our knowledge regarding extreme values. The data were collected on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Lowestoft Fisheries Laboratory and are stored at the British Oceanographic Data Centre.

  • The data set comprises time series of non-directional surface wave spectra from moored buoys and shipborne wave recorders at fixed locations. Individual spectra comprise some 60 or so estimates of wave energy at a range of spectral frequencies, computed from 20 to 30 minute recordings of the sea surface displacement/heave. The spectra are computed at intervals ranging from 1 to 3 hours. Data holdings comprise 500 recording months of data from some 14 sites across the continental shelf areas around the British Isles and the NE Atlantic between 1976 and 1995. Observation periods at specific sites vary from 4 months to 6 years. Data from the following sites are included in the data set: Holderness offshore (53 55.9N, 000 01.4E 01; Mar 1986 - 31 Mar 1987); Holderness nearshore (53 55.7N, 000 03.5W; 01 Mar 1986 - 30 Jun 1986); West Bexington (50 38.1N, 002 42.5W; 01 Nov 1983 - 31 Mar 1985; 01 May 1985 - 26 Feb 1986; 01 May 1986 - 30 Apr 1987); West Bexington (50 36.0N, 002 39.6W; 01 Sep 1987 - 01 Apr 1988); Eddystone (50 10.0N, 004 15.0W; 01 Jan 1976 - 31 Dec 1981); Kinnairds Head (57 55.8N, 001 54.1W; 01 Feb 1980 - 30 Dec 1981); Scilly Isles (49 51.8N, 006 41.0W; 01 Apr 1979 - 31 Jul 1979; 01 Feb 1980 - 31 Dec 1982; 01 Apr 1983 - 31 Dec 1983); South Uist deep water (57 17.8N, 007 53.6W; 01 Aug 1980 - 31 Dec 1982); South Uist offshore (57 18.2N, 007 38.3W; 28 Feb 1976 - 30 Nov 1982); South Uist inshore (57 19.8N, 007 27.2W; 01 Apr 1978 - 31 Jul 1982); Channel Lightvessel( 49 54.4N, 002 53.7W; 01 Mar 1986 - 30 Jun 1987; 01 Apr 1988 - 30 Nov 1988); Dowsing Lightvessel (53 34.0N, 000 50.2E; 01 Jul 1985 - 31 Dec 1985; 01 Feb 1986 - 30 Jun 1986; 01 Sep 1986 - 30 Apr 1987; 01 Jul 1987 - 31 Dec 1987); Ocean Weather Ship Lima (57 00.0N, 020 00.0W; 01 Jan 1984 - 30 Jun 1988; 01 Aug 1988 - 31 Dec 1988); Seven Stones Lightvessel (50 03.8N, 006 04.4W; 01 Jan 1985 - 28 Feb 1986; 01 May 1986 - 31 Mar 1987; 01 May 1987 - 31 May 1987; 01 Oct 1987 - 31 Oct 1987; 01 Dec 1987 - 31 Dec 1987). The data originate almost exclusively from UK laboratories and are managed by the British Oceanographic Data Centre. Data collection is ongoing at some sites (for example, Seven Stones Lighvessel) but these data are not managed by BODC. They are part of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) wavenet network.

  • This project aims to provide an estimate of the extent to which microplastic concentrations are underestimated with traditional sampling. Sampling events focus on coastal waters, where microplastics are predicted to have the greatest influence on marine life, on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Samples were collected in the Gulf of Maine (USA) in July 2013 and the western English Channel off the coast of Plymouth (UK) between July and September 2015. Microplastic debris was collected via surface trawls using 100, 333 and 500 micrometer nets. Data collection was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC Grant NE/L003988/1 and NE/L007010/1); University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory collaboration fund; in-kind contributions from the ‘Rozalia Project’; March Limited of Bermuda philanthropic support.

  • The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) Version 4.0 is a gridded continuous terrain model covering ocean and land of the Arctic region. The grid has been compiled from data covering approximately 14.2 percent of the Arctic seafloor with multibeam bathymetry and about 5.5 percent with other sources, excluding digitized depth contours. The grid-cell size (resolution) is 200x200 m on a Polar Stereographic projection, with the true scale set at a latitude of 75 deg N and a central meridian of 0 deg. The horizontal datum is WGS 84 and the vertical datum is assumed Mean Sea Level. IBCAO Version 4.0 has been compiled with support from the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO-Seabed 2030 Project, an international effort whose goal it is to see the entire world ocean mapped by 2030. A geographic version of the Polar Stereographic grid serves as input to the General Bathymetric Chart of Oceans (GEBCO) global gridded terrain model.

  • The data set consists of bathymetric contours, at 100m intervals, from a depth of 100m to 5000m. The data were digitised from two charts of the Northeast Atlantic compiled by geoscientists at the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (IOS), Wormley, Surrey and published by the UK Hydrographic Office, Taunton. Admiralty Chart C6566: Bathymetry of the northeast Atlantic (IOS Sheet 1) - 'Reykjanes Ridge and Rockall Plateau' by A.S. Laughton, D.G. Roberts & P.M. Hunter published in February 1982 and covering the area (47° to 64°N, 13° to 37°W). Admiralty Chart C6567: Bathymetry of the northeast Atlantic (IOS Sheet 2) - 'Continental Margin around the British Isles' by D.G. Roberts, P.M. Hunter & A.S. Laughton published in February 1977 and covering the area (47° to 64°N, 6°E to 18°W). The data set is included in the Centenary Edition of the GEBCO Digital Atlas (GDA) as sheet G.02. Please note that within the GDA data set some areas covered by sheets IOS sheets 1 and 2 have been replaced by higher resolution data sets. Through the GDA software interface the data may be exported in ASCII or shapefile format.