Autumn 2013: ecological data collection is over

In August 2013, the CBESS Team began the final push to collect data for the Summer Field Campaign in Morecambe Bay and the Essex Marshes. Conditions were very different to winter with fieldworkers suffering sunburn and dehydration, compared to suspected frost bite!

Two weeks were spent at each of the regional sites, collecting samples at four spatial scales to quantify the biodiversity and related ecosystem services in two very different bio-geographical regions. Over 10,000 samples were collected, we now face the task of sorting, testing and analysing over 20,000 samples.

Four members of the CBESS Team; Queen’s University Belfast, University of Southampton, University of St Andrews and Bangor University / Bangor CEH provide a roundup of the summer field campaign.

Fyke nets on the sand at Morecambe Bay

Fyke nets on the sand at Morecambe Bay.

Staff and students from Queen’s University Belfast spent a muddy, but productive, four weeks in Morecambe Bay and the Essex marshes as part of the CBESS 2013 summer campaign.

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Martin Solan taking macro fauna cores at Morecambe Bay.

The University of Southampton is tasked with assessing the biodiversity of the soils and sediments across six different marsh and mudflat systems in Essex and Morecambe.

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Gas chambers collect data on primary production and respiration.

As part of the fieldwork campaigns, the University of St Andrews has been measuring the community metabolism of salt marsh and mudflat areas, i.e. the CO2 fluxes due to either primary production or respiration of the mud or marsh and everything living in and on it.

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Salt marsh core.

The Bangor University and CEH-Bangor team have had a great summer campaign, sampling salt marsh vegetation, spiders and beetles, and sediment cores for our erosion studies. We are interested in understanding whether biodiversity of insect and spider populations are boosted by vegetation structural complexity (height, cover, weight per area) and vegetation biodiversity.

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