Tag Archives: CEMS

The Young Entomologists’ Dinner 2013

YED group pic

The Carrs Wetland Project invited the Young Entomologists’ Network to host their annual Young Entomologists Dinner (YED) in Staxton between the 28th-30th of August 2013. The Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences (CEMS) at the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus kindly loaned equipment and also gave permission to use their labs on campus. This keen group of undergraduate students who are enthusiastic about insects aim to make the YED bring these students who would otherwise not meet in a field context together to socialise and undertake insect surveys.

fieldwork

This year the insects in focus were water beetles in the scrapes found in the Carrs Wetland area and Dung Beetles found in the cattle, sheep and horse fields. All insects were surveyed using various collecting methods such as sweep-netting, beating, pond dipping and getting dirty hands in the dung!

ruth riverrosie beating tray

Habitats were surveyed where there was thought to be a high diversity of insects, for example the chalk grasslands and scrapes and ditches the wetland has to offer. These are unique habitats for interesting communities of water invertebrates. Over the three days many specimens were collected and they are currently being sorted and identified to species level at the CEMS and at Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH).

beating trayDung Beetle

Isobel, who studies Biology at Oxford said “Fun and fieldwork with lovely people! Also Scarborough and the surrounding countryside are beautiful!” Ruth, another biologist from Royal Holloway University says “The YED was really fantastic fun, collecting water beetles and dung beetles and sweep netting in such a beautiful area is a privilege”; Steven, an entomologist at the OUMNH and undergraduate English student said “Lovely to be given the opportunity to collect in such interesting and diverse habitats. Would love to go back and collect in depth again.” And finally Rosie who unfortunately got an eye infection before the YED but still attended had a great few days “Amazing week with awesome people, such a shame most of it was spent in hospital and not in the field!”

field staxton

We are expecting a grand total of 300 or so specimens collected from this trip, and hopefully adding new species records to this area. This year was hosted by Fevziye Hasan (BSc Ecology, CEMS) and next year’s YED will be hosted by Rosemiranda and will take place in Dorset.

carabids

Many thanks to Tim Burkinshaw (Carrs Wetland Project), Magnus Johnson, Barry Penrose, Sue Hull (CEMS) for all of the help in making this happen. Also to the farmers Mr Burton and Mr Hill for granting permission to hunt for insects!

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Holes and (Water) Voles

Chloe Hayes Water vole project apr13 003This year a student from Hull University’s Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences, in Scarborough carried out her undergraduate dissertation on Water Voles on The Carrs. Chloe Hayes sampled a selection of farm ditches, plus the River Derwent and the Hertford, looking for field signs (latrines, burrows, footprints, feeding signs). Chloe concluded that Water Voles are definitely still present in places. On Potter Brompton Carr, the best of the farm sites she looked at, 7 out of 10 watercourses sampled had signs of this endangered aquatic mammal present.

The habitat feature that seemed to correlate most closely with the presence of water voles in Chloe’s study was the density of ditch vegetation, indicating the value of the management of drainage channels to encourage a thriving  community of macrophytes (larger plants). Her observations also suggest that ditches with well-developed stands of reeds (Phragmites) are favoured, perhaps because they offer good year-round shelter and are a popular food plant of these furry vegetarians. Higher Level Stewardship schemes on some of the sites sampled have included capital works and ditch management regimes that may have benefitted water voles on these riparian habitats. This could include for example: retaining more consistent depth and flows of water in some ditches, where water level management sluices are in place; enhancing opportunities for marginal vegetation through re-profiling or through less frequent ditch maintenance regimes. Clearly there is a case for further monitoring of aquatic mammals and the impact of wetland stewardship schemes in The Carrs near Scarborough.

The dissertation is an unpublished student project, but if anyone wishes to learn more about it, or the findings please get in touch.