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Watershrew’s and wetland habitat quality. Dawn Scott & Fran Southgate. Project background. 2002-2005 Partnership – SROP & UOB MPhil – Fran Southgate 27 study sites over 3 catchments Cuckmere, Ouse and Pevensey Levels Monitoring: Summer and Winter for 3 years. What is a water shrew?.

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Presentation Transcript
project background
Project background
  • 2002-2005
  • Partnership – SROP & UOB
  • MPhil – Fran Southgate
  • 27 study sites over 3 catchments
  • Cuckmere, Ouse and Pevensey Levels
  • Monitoring: Summer and Winter for 3 years
what is a water shrew
What is a water shrew?
  • Noemys fodiens
  • Largest UK shrew: 13g
  • Dark, usually silver pale underside
  • Fringed tail and feet
  • Ecology:
  • Breeding peak May & June (2 or < litters/season)
  • Life span 14-19 months
  • Aquatic/Riparian (but can be found away from water)
  • Insectivore: Diet 50: 50 terrestrial/aquatic invertebrates
why focus on this species
Why focus on this species?
  • Limited data on habitat requirements and distribution
  • Conservation status? W&C act 1987
  • Predominantly feeds on aquatic prey
  • Intolerant to poor water quality ???
  • Potential bio-indicator of water quality ??
project aims
Project aims
  • Assess presence & abundance of water shrews across the 3 catchments and monitor these seasonally
  • Assess habitat characteristics and habitat quality
  • Assess presence and abundance of invertebrate prey base
  • Record indicators of water quality
methods
Methods
  • Shrew scat tubes:

P/A and relative abundance

  • Wetland features:

Bank slope, water body

  • Plant diversity:

Bank and in-stream

  • Water quality:

Temp,DO, pH, NH4, P, N

  • Habitat assessment:

Composition and structure

  • Invertebrates:

Diversity, BMWP, ASPT

water parameters
Water parameters
  • PH, temp. & DO showed no significant effect on water shrew presence over all sample seasons
  • Only DO in summer ’03 showed a significant effect on water shrew presence where higher DO = higher abundance
  • Higher water temperature was associated with lower water shrew presence in Summer 03 and Winter 04
  • Data for phosphate, nitrates and ammonia showed no statistically significant relationships with water shrew abundance
invertebrates
Invertebrates
  • Positive correlations between invertebrate diversity and richness scores and seasonal water shrew relative abundance in Summer 03, Winter 03 and Summer 04
  • However, statistical analysis confirmed that neither water shrew presence nor relative abundance were associated with any of the derived BMWP and ASPT scores.