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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Resources  /  UCL Environmental Radiometric Facility  /  Open Air Laboratories (OPAL)

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL)

The OPAL project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aims to (i) change lifestyles by encouraging people to spend more time outdoors; (ii) develop innovative educational programmes that can be accessed by all ages and abilities; (iii) enthuse a new generation of environmentalists; (iv) develop a greater understanding of the state of the natural environment especially in the most impoverished parts of the country; (v) develop partnerships between the community, voluntary and statutory sectors. 31 projects comprise the OPAL 'portfolio' to attain these aims. The OPAL Water Centre at UCL co-ordinated the national water survey and undertakes research at a lake site in each of nine regions of England. This research includes establishing a physical, chemical and biological monitoring programme and assessing the impact of  toxic pollutants on freshwaters. Part of this involved assessing historical change through biological and geochemical analysis of sediment cores from each lake. The facility provided the sediment core chronologies.

Project web page:

Davies, L., Bell, J.N.B., Bone, J., Head, M., Hill, L., Howard, C., Hobbs, S.J., Jones, D.T., Power, S.A., Rose, N.L., Ryder, C., Seed, L., Stevens, G., Toumi, R., Voulvoulis, N. & White, P.C.L. (2011). Open Air Laboratories (OPAL): A community-driven research programme. Environmental Pollution 159: 2203-2210.