Networking and Sandwiches

The CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) events offer us ecologists an excellent opportunity to network with other ecologists in our area.

At a recent event three talks were also held on the following subjects:

White-clawed Crayfish in the Wyre Forest.
This discussed the decline in numbers of White-clawed crayfish (nice native species) in monitored brooks in the Wyre Forest, and the invasion of signal crayfish (non-natives from America) as well as the spread of crayfish plague which wipes out white-clawed crayfish. It's a sad story, following 7 years of monitoring, however there is hope that signal crayfish can be eradicated along with crayfish plague (which only survives for 3 weeks without a crayfish host), allowing a re-introduction of white-clawed crayfish. The take home message from this was regarding how the plague can spread which may be down to a range of factors including wild animals, ecologists, dogs and their owners and cyclists. Public awareness of this is key in the positive re-introduction of white-clawed crayfish.

Adder Telemetry Studies
This followed 7 years of tracking adders using external tagging devices and radio-trackers. The distribution and movements of adders were monitored for a period of 3 months and mapped to be able to work out which habitats were most important to the adders. Males and females were tracked and the evidence clearly showed that adders travelled much further distances than females, with some females only moving within a 15m diameter over the 3 months, and some males travelling up to 2km over the survey period! Open habitats are not favoured habitats, and they rely upon scrub, bracken and gorse to provide cover and areas for feeding. The management of this habitat is vital to ensure connectivity across the landscape to avoid fragmenting populations and possible in-breeding.

The positive outcomes of HS2
This was a much anticipated talk with the majority of the members in the room not being the most supportive of the HS2 scheme! A number of positive benefits of the scheme were highlighted including the creation of green corridors across the whole length of the railway line providing vital connectivity across the country. Large areas of habitat improvements will be created for the loss of great crested newt habitat. These habitats will be monitored for a period of 10 years and any necessary improvements will be implemented. New research is also being conducted into acoustic deterrents for bats to provide areas that will be unsuitable for foraging and commuting bats to avoid collisions with trains.

These were all very interesting and well received with a period of questions following each talk. It's always a great event to attend with a wide variety of speakers and learning opportunities. There's always lots of nice sandwiches and tea and coffee too, it's just a shame about the M42 traffic to get there!