Dive company’s marine life research


A Helston-based company that sells high quality diving gear around the world has been supporting groundbreaking wildlife research into seabirds.

Shags being surveyed
European shags

Fourth Element has partnered with PhD student Julian Evans, from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation (at Penryn), to research foraging and information transfer among European shags – one of the most efficient diving birds in the world.

Sales and marketing director, Jim Standing, said: “If we as a company are able to be involved in some way in supporting the development of knowledge then that must be a good thing.

“We are always looking for content that will engage our consumers and anything involving the marine environment is positive from our point of view.

“We are committed to educating divers about threats to marine life. Julian has produced a blog for us and of course this helps to raise visibility of our brand and website.”

Jim Standing of Fourth Element
Jim Standing of Fourth Element

The research has involved several expeditions to the Isles of Scilly, with a return trip planned next summer (2015) to capture and analyse 3D footage of underwater shag foraging behaviour.

“This is groundbreaking,” said Standing. “Using five or six cameras we will be able to record their communication and behaviour and see if the same continues underwater.”