A fisheries scientist from Bournemouth University shared his expertise on a rare species for The One Show. Adrian Pinder, Head of BU Global Environmental Solutions (BUG) consultancy, featured in a package on the BBC One programme.
He appeared on the show to offer his expertise on an ancient and primitive group of jawless vertebrates, lampreys. Lampreys lived 400 million years ago and still exist today. Adrian took The One Show on a close encounter to witness the rarely seen reproductive behaviour of sea lamprey.
Sea lamprey are an anadromous species which spend the first five years of their life living within the sediment on river beds before migrating to sea where they become parasitic, attaching their mouths to other fish to suck the blood and flesh from them. After a few years at sea, the adults migrate back up rivers to spawn before dying.
Following sightings of this rare species on the River Frome in Dorset, Adrian identified a valuable opportunity to study the behavioural ecology of this species, which is afforded protection under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive. Due to the difficulties associated with monitoring the early life stages of sea lamprey, Adrian Pinder’s work has focused on using nest counts to monitor trends in population size and to further our knowledge of reproductive behaviour.
Adrian said: “Working with animals, particularly rare ones, provides no guarantees as to being able to locate your subject for the cameras. I walked the river the day before filming and saw nothing, so it was with considerable relief that we found lamprey on the day of filming which were happy to perform for the film crew.
“It was a very enjoyable day working with an extremely talented team. Even with the lamprey performing to order it still took eight hours of intensive filming to produce the four minutes used on the show. I was delighted to have had the opportunity bring this rare species into people’s living rooms and showcase its fascinating behaviours.”
The relatively recent advances in quality and affordability of underwater video cameras has allowed Adrian to record the spawning behaviour of sea lamprey over the last two years and across multiple rivers. Research at BU is contributing to the global knowledge base and the future development of robust and effective conservation management planning for sea lamprey and river habitat management.
To watch Adrian on The One Show, view the episode on BBC iPlayer.