We are an island nation, and yet we know surprisingly little about parts of our coastline. An appeal to ‘citizen scientists’ hopes to put this right by encouraging us to collect information about our salt marshes to fill in the gaps.
Once they have downloaded the free, mobile app, individuals can either use the guide to identify the unique plants and wildlife found on salt marshes or they can carry out an interactive plant and soil survey.
The survey will estimate the stored carbon in the saltmarsh soil and show how by preventing carbon from becoming the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide their marsh is helping limit climate change.
We know a great deal about land environments and have a detailed knowledge of the distribution of most soil types within the UK, with the exception of salt marshes. Every marsh survey uploaded will help the scientists at Bangor University learn more about UK saltmarsh soils and how they are helping fight climate change.
Salt marshes are grassland fields that fringe our coastline. They are washed by the tides and are criss-crossed by creeks. They are rich in wildlife and help protect our coastlines against storms and floods. Salt marshes are a great place for a walk, a run and a range of other outdoor activities.
The Saltmarsh App was developed by the University of St Andrews, Bangor University and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. The App will encourage people to visit salt marshes and gain more enjoyment from their visit, by providing a portable visual reference for the plants and animals found there. For the ‘citizen scientists’, the app also guides the user through some simple plant community and soil identification steps, which will be fed back to the scientists.
The Saltmarsh App and its accompanying website will be launched at the start of June, watch this space!