[25-02-2008 to 30-05-2008]
Bailing out flooded Venice
A team of scientists from Scotland is to play a major role in the efforts to stop the romantic Italian city of Venice from sinking into the sea.
The city is threatened year after year by rising sea levels and increased flooding.
Now, experts from St Andrews University will take part in a study into how to better protect the Venice coastline.
Venice's trademark gondolas
The team will be paid £250,000 by the European Union to research how tidal systems in lagoons and estuaries change over time.
Professor David Paterson, head of the sediment ecology research group at St Andrews University, who will lead the study, said his team had "great experience" in analysing coastal systems.
The group wants to establish the biological status of coastal zones as well as determine the rate of system degradation. Professor Paterson said: "Plans will be examined to help slow down or halt adverse changes."
In general, the work is expected to help in the planning and execution of coastal preservation activities such as the construction and preservation of marsh areas.
In Venice, water slowly seeps out from under the stones in St Mark's Square, the lowest point in Venice. In 1966, when the city was hit by the most serious floods in its history, the water rose 1.8 metres.
In recent years the flooding has been less dramatic, but more frequent. In 1997, the centre of the city was flooded 80 times. According to experts, in 50 years' time there could be flooding every day.
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