Friday, 20 December 2013

The top 10 most viewed CEH news & blog posts of 2013

We hope you've found our content interesting and informative throughout the year but, of course, not everything will be to everyone's tastes. Here is a little (slightly unscientific!) insight into what news and blogs you were reading the most in 2013, in traditional reverse order:

Top 10 most viewed news stories


10. Distinctly autumnal feel to May as below average temperatures persist
The cold spring was still hanging around, but a warm summer wasn't too far away.

9. Ecologists get first bumblebees' eye view of the landscape
Scientists produced the most detailed picture yet of how bumblebees use the landscape, thanks to DNA technology and remote sensing.

8. Introducing the Hydrological Outlook
CEH and a number of partners had been working for a while on developing a long-range hydrological forecast for the UK.

7. Cocktail of multiple pressures combine to threaten the world's pollinating insects
Not one cause, but a combination of pressures including pesticides, disease and loss of food resources are threatening insect pollinators such as bumblebees and honeybees.

6. Are tropical forests resilient to global warming?
Tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass in response to greenhouse gas emissions over the 21st century than may previously have been thought.

5. Britain's rarest freshwater fish, the Vendace, reappears in Bassenthwaite Lake
The vendace made an unexpected reappearance in Bassenthwaite Lake in north-west England, more than a decade after being declared 'locally extinct'.

4. Tropical rainforests, 'lungs of the planet', reveal true sensitivity to global warming
The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed or produced by tropical rainforests varies hugely with year-to-year variations in the climate, revealing their vulnerability to climate change.

3. Smarter use of nutrients can help protect human health and the environment
A new report highlighted how humans have massively altered the natural flows of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients, and how better management can help protect the environment, climate and human health.

2. Puffin count on Isle of May NNR gives surprising result
Despite severe spring weather, the worst fears for puffins weren't realised: a census revealed that Atlantic puffin numbers on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve off Scotland's east coast were at similar levels to 2009.

1. Mobile phone app to help monitor UK's native ladybirds after foreign invasion
iRecord Ladybirds, a free mobile phone app, was launched to help the public record ladybird species, including the invasive Harlequin ladybirds. All interest in the app, and a fantastic number of records, have been gratefully received by our scientists!

Top 10 most viewed blog posts


10.  INTECOL news round-up: pollinators, citizen science and land use
A number of CEH staff presented at the 11th INTECOL Congress in London, the world's largest international ecology meeting, and this post tried to highlight what they said.

9. Cleaner air for all - searching for solutions to air pollution at Green Week 2013
Air quality was the theme for this year's event in Brussels, and CEH expertise was on hand to lead and join in with some of the discussions.

8. We're going on a Bug Hunt!
Science can be fun too, as ecologists and pupils taking part in a hugely successful Bug Day at a school near Rugby can confirm.

7. Filming at CEH's met site in Wallingford
Wet weather at the end of 2012 and into 2013 meant a busy start to the year for the CEH Press Office, with several media requests to interview our hydrologists.

6. Building environmental links in Beijing
Environmental researchers in China and the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore collaboration opportunities. Recovery of polluted environments, water management, food security and soil management were all discussed during a meeting in April.

5. Biodiversity offsetting - the science behind the policy
More information on how CEH provides independent and impartial scientific advice for the tricky topic of biodiversity offsetting.

4. Nitrogen narratives in Nairobi - confessions of a reluctant blogger
Professor Mark Sutton experiences life at the sharp end of the science-policy debate.

3. A revolution in ladybird recording
Ladybirds are charismatic insects and so it isn't surprising that people in Britain have been enthusiastically recording them for centuries.

2. Assessing the 2013 Atlantic Puffin wreck
Our two most viewed blog posts of the year are actually on the same topic, indicating the huge interest at the time, and some of the uncertainty, around a puffin wreck in Eastern Scotland and NE England.

1. Puffin wreck in Scotland
Multiple unusual deaths of puffins were noticed on the east coast of Scotland NE England in the last week of March. One of the world's foremost authorities on puffin, Professor Mike Harris, gave insights into the emerging story.

You can read more about CEH research and news over the past twelve months in our annual review of the year on the CEH News Centre. Just a final thanks to all our contributors and, of course, to our readers. More to come in 2014 but in the meantime, Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

Paulette Burns and Barnaby Smith

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Construction, biodiversity and natural capital: discussing the challenges

Our latest guest blog is from Business Development Manager Dr Joanne Chamberlain on a recent first meeting between CEH and a construction industry group looking to address some of the environmental challenges their sector faces:

Last week, on 10 December, CEH hosted a visit from the UK Constructors Group (UKCG) for Biodiversity. UKCG is the primary trade association for contractors operating in the UK, and represents more than 30 leading contractors operating in the UK on construction specific issues. Between them, UKCG members account for £33 billion of construction turnover, a third of UK construction total output involving projects building hospitals, schools, offices and housing, as well as large infrastructure projects. UKCG has an Environment working group with an expert task force on Biodiversity, whose aim is to represent the views of contractors within government, promote best practice, and mitigate regulatory and legislative risk.

The UKCG for Biodiversity met with scientists at CEH to open up a discussion and assess the potential for collaboration around topics that included natural capital, ecological survey data and biodiversity offsetting. The construction industry has a number of challenges in these areas, and the group are keen to work with CEH in solving some of these problems. The UKCG aims to ensure a net gain in biodiversity in the work they undertake and enhance connectivity between developments and the wider landscape.

The construction industry has challenges in areas such as natural capital,  ecological
survey data and biodiversity offsetting.
It was interesting to note that UKCG members often find themselves in a position of having to try to influence, engage and educate their clients on how to incorporate biodiversity into a development. This inevitably results in a number of challenges and compromises, but a desire to have a consistent approach across the industry and demonstrate the merits of conserving and enhancing natural capital within a development is driving the group.

Dr Joanne Chamberlain

Additional information


CEH website: Biodiversity offsetting - relevant research

CEH blog: Biodiversity offsetting - the science behind the policy

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

CEH-led paper charts at number 42 in top 100 list of academic research catching the public's imagination in 2013

The company Altmetric has just published its list of the 100 research papers that received the most attention online in 2013. Altmetric track who's saying what about academic papers within social media and online news articles. The analysis is embedded in several journal websites, including those from the Nature Publications Group. 

Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology was the lead author of the paper at number 42 on the Altmetric list, "No increase in global temperature variability despite changing regional patterns". It was published in July in the journal Nature.

Chris tells us that, "The study which led to the Nature publication was a team effort, and the analysis took over a year to complete with CEH kindly allocating me time to complete the final paper. The paper provides insights into how variability in temperature is changing both in time and geographically. Ongoing research into weather fluctuations and extremes is needed, as changes in weather patterns might prove to be as important as any general climate change in a greenhouse gas enriched environment. CEH and the other NERC centre/surveys are working with the Met Office and key university departments to aid public safety through such transitions. This will be by informing of adaptation measures that may be needed."

Chris adds, "The titles of the top 100 papers make fascinating reading as a snapshot of issues of concern or interest, and I would recommend anyone with a spare moment to take a look at the list."

You can find out more about how Altmetric collect data and put this list together on their blog. In true 'BBC style' we would like to point out there are many other ways of determining the 'impact' of a single research paper!

Barnaby Smith, Media Relations Manager, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Huntingford et al. (2013) No increase in global temperature variability despite changing regional patterns. 500, 327–330 (15 August 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12310Nature.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Marine Climate Change scorecards published today for Coastal Margin habitats and Seabirds

The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) published its latest Report Card today (28 November 2013), providing its most comprehensive assessment yet of how climate change is affecting UK waters. CEH coastal ecologists Dr Laurence Jones, Mr Angus Garbutt and Dr Francis Daunt are authors of the scorecards for coastal margins and seabirds, documenting the recent scientific evidence for what will happen in coastal habitats and on seabird populations under climate change. The coastal margin habitats include sand dunes, saltmarsh, machair systems, shingle and maritime cliffs.

Sefton coast sand dunes, photo by Shutterstock
Sefton coast sand dunes




All the coastal margin habitats are vulnerable to a wide range of climate impacts. Highly species-rich dune wetlands may dry out in the next 50 years and transform to dry grassland, with the potential loss of many rare species; while in dune and machair systems (a form of coastal grassland unique to Scotland and Ireland) there is evidence of erosional narrowing of beaches and dunes. Sea defence provided by saltmarsh, sand dunes and shingle will face increasing erosional pressure due to sea level rise and storms.

Seabirds have declined by 7.5% in the UK since the turn of the century, and climate warming is considered to be one of the main drivers by altering prey abundance and quality. Models predict that, by 2100, the UK climate will no longer be suitable for some species, with the range of others retracting to northern Scotland. Any increase in the frequency of extreme weather could further impact on seabirds by altering breeding habitat and creating unfavourable foraging conditions.

Seabirds on the Isle of May, photo Isle of May Long-Term Monitoring Survey
Seabirds on the Isle of May


The scorecards are produced by the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) and cover more than 30 marine and coastal topics. More than 150 scientists from 55 leading UK science organisations contributed to the 2013 report.

The scorecards are published annually, and provide latest updates on the evidence of recent change and best scientific projections of what is likely to happen in the near future. A summary of the findings for all UK marine and coastal habitats, and the detailed peer-reviewed briefings on all 33 topics can be found on the MCCIP website.

Additional information


The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership was launched in March 2005 and is a partnership between scientists, government, its agencies, non-governmental organisations and industry.

A press release was issued to announce publication of the 2013 Report Card.

Related CEH links

Staff page of Dr Laurence Jones (sand dune expert)

Staff page of Angus Garbutt (saltmarsh expert)

Staff page of Dr Francis Daunt (seabird expert)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

New paper - The role of short-lived climate pollutants in meeting temperature goals

Dr Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller at CEH, is a co-author on a new paper in Nature Climate Change which examines whether immediately reducing emissions of methane, black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants will contribute substantially towards the goal of limiting global warming to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Chris writes: “There is tremendous interest at the moment in how emissions in non-CO2 gases can be reduced as a contribution towards constraining global warming. Peak levels of warming remain of particular concern, including whether we will remain below the often discussed threshold of two-degrees. Whilst any action on greenhouse gas emissions is of interest, what this paper finds is as follows. Reduction of short-lived gases as a mechanism to reduce peaks levels of global warming is most effective when CO2 emissions themselves are reducing significantly. Lowering methane emissions for instance (which has an atmospheric lifetime of around just 12 years) a long time before CO2-reductions are implemented is unnecessary - waiting until a time when CO2 emissions are also reducing will have the same effect on peak warming.

The argument implicit in this paper is that over the next few decades, in terms of reducing peak warming, the emphasis really should remain on tackling the longer-lived gases, and predominantly carbon dioxide, which by definition have a more cumulative effect on climate. Reductions in short-lived gases will be extremely useful too in restricting maximum warming, but working out how to reduce them can maybe wait temporarily, leaving mitigation policy to focus on carbon dioxide.”

You can read the paper on the Nature Climate Change website here.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Aiming for just enough Nitrogen (and not too much!)

Professor Mark Sutton from CEH is currently in Kampala, Uganda at the 6th International Nitrogen Conference, where he has joined other scientists, agriculturalists, environmentalists, industrialists, economists and policy-makers to discuss issues linked to nitrogen management, including food security, human health, agriculture and the water cycle. On Friday (22 November), it is planned that the Conference will finalize and announce the Kampala Declaration on global nitrogen management.

Prof Sutton chairs the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) which has organised the conference with the African Nitrogen Centre, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Also attending the conference are Prof Sutton's CEH colleagues Prof Nancy Dise and Dr Ute Skiba, each of whom are speaking at the event.

The conference, which runs from 18-22 November 2013, has the tagline "Let us aim for Just Enough N: Perspectives on how to get there for 'too much' and 'too little' regions".

Prof Sutton is chairing a session on Global and Regional Assessment and making a keynote speech "Global Nitrogen Assessment: From Our Nutrient World to the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS)". Our Nutrient World is the UNEP publication edited by Prof Sutton which was published by CEH earlier this year. It is planned that Prof Sutton will also moderate the finalization of the Kampala Declaration on Friday.

The Kampala meeting is believed to be the world's first 'Nitrogen Neutral' conference, where delegates are offered the opportunity to contribute offsetting their nitrogen footprint associated with the conference.  At the same time, the delegates have adopted a demitarian approach - reducing their consumption of meat by half compared with the usual menu at the conference venue, the Speke Resort Hotel - as a means of reducing their own nitrogen footprint.

A key issue being discussed at the meeting is how to get more Nitrogen into Africa, with the main debate being that of fertiliser usage versus biological nitrogen fixation, and how to get the best from both aspects.

This is the sixth international conference to take place after previous events in the Netherlands, USA, China, Brazil and India. The common objective of these conferences is the design of more productive, economic and sustainable food and energy production systems to meet the challenges of the growing global population whilst minimising the cascade of environmental effects posed by nitrogen. Air pollution, water pollution, biodiversity and climate change are all impacted through "too much" nitrogen in the environment, but it is an essential part of the story to ensuring global good security.

The International Nitrogen Initiative is a global effort to optimize nitrogen's beneficial role in sustainable food production and to minimize nitrogen's negative effects on human health and the environment.

Additional information


Prof Nancy Dise is speaking on "Impacts of nitrogen deposition on the ecology and biogeochemistry of European peat bogs: The PEATBOG Project" in a session on N and ecosystem health.

Dr Ute Skiba is speaking on "Comparison of N, C and GHG budgets from European forests, wetlands and agricultural land" in a session on N emissions and climate change.

Related links

Staff page of Prof Mark Sutton

Updated 22 November 2013


Prof Mark Sutton was on the Steering Committee and Editorial Team, and was Part 2 Coordinator, of the new UNEP Synthesis Report, Drawing Down N2O to Protect Climate and the Ozone Layer, which was published on Thursday 21 November 2013, coinciding with the COP19 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw. Additionally, Dr Ute Skiba from CEH was a lead author on the new report, which aims to inform policymakers and stakeholders about the impacts of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions on the climate and ozone layer. More details can be found from the UNEP press release.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Integration and reflection - paperblog 8

This week we concentrate on recent papers with CEH scientists as the first author.

PhD student Philip Martin recently published a major paper summarising his research over the last few years. You can read more about "Carbon pools recover more quickly than plant biodiversity in tropical secondary forests" (published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B) on the CEH website and on Philip's blog.

Another PhD student, Christopher Malley, has a new paper out in Atmospheric Research which takes a detailed look at how well two of the UK's atmospheric monitoring 'supersites', including the site run by CEH at Auchencorth Moss in Scotland, represent the UK's background ozone conditions.

CEH is a Centre that carries out both ecological and hydrological science, sometimes together (the clue is in the name!). Our scientists produce many papers that seek to bring together varied data on water quantity, freshwater ecology, and water quality. In recent weeks, CEH scientists have published on estimating concentrations in rivers of different chemicals originating from sewage treatment plants (Keller et al., open access in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), and a new approach for predicting phosphorus concentrations in rivers (Greene et al., Journal of Hydrology).

Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back from day to day research to ponder some fundamental questions on how scientific knowledge can be used in wider society. Two examples have recently appeared. Alan Gray has a new paper in Transgenic Research examining whether applied ecology has failed the transgenic crops debate. Stefan Reis and colleagues from CEH, Universities and Health Institutes across the UK have put together a new analysis on how to integrate health and environmental impact analysis to address some of the new public health challenges.

Nitrogen science plays a big role in CEH activities. Laurence Jones and CEH colleagues have produced a new review of the evidence for nitrogen impacts on ecosystem services. Read it in the journal Ecosystem Services, where the paper is open access (full text freely available). Meanwhile, Mark Sutton is lead author on another new open access paper in Environmental Development looking at "Green Economy thinking" and relevance to control of nitrous oxide emissions.

Finally, Robert Mills, who completed a PhD at CEH's site in Bangor, North Wales, has just published a new paper on organic carbon turnover rates in natural and semi-natural topsoils. Working with Professor Ed Tipping, the study concludes with the interesting result that turnover is faster under trees than non-trees. Read more in the journal Biogeochemistry.

That's it. As ever, we welcome suggestions and comments on the material presented in the paperblog. Let us know what you think!

Barnaby Smith, Media Relations Manager

Additional information


If you'd like a fuller picture of new papers from CEH, just follow the CEH Paper Alerts Twitter feed, which lists CEH peer-reviewed papers newly published online. Full details of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology science publications, including those published in peer-reviewed science journals, are eventually catalogued on the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA).

Those of you who follow the scientific literature will know some journal websites require registration and some are subscription-only. CEH, as part of NERC, is working with publishers and funders to make more of our output open access, and we have indicated above where this is the case.

We also publish lots of our other outputs including biological records atlases and project reports. More details can be found in the publications section of the CEH website.

Friday, 8 November 2013

From Nairn to San Diego... CEH lake restoration research hits the road

Details of CEH lake research were presented at an international conference last week by one of our former PhD students:

Dr Sebastian Meis presented results of his PhD study at the 33rd International Symposium of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS: 30 October - 3 November 2013) in San Diego, USA. In his presentation, entitled "Seasonal responses of physicochemical and biological variables following disruption of internal phosphorus loading using lanthanum-modified bentonite clay (Phoslock®): insights from laboratory and whole lake experiments", he highlighted the major findings of the whole lake manipulation study conducted at Loch Flemington (Nairn, UK) by CEH.

The conference focused on measures for in-lake phosphorus control available to lake managers, with various presentations focusing on the use of alum, oxygenation / aeration and de-stratification as possible management tools. Conference attendees included scientists, lake managers, consultancies, as well as companies. Dr Meis was also invited to present at an additional special session on the use of geo-engineering approaches for phosphorus management in lakes, where he highlighted the need for greater accuracy when estimating product dose at the site specific scale.

Dr Bryan Spears, a co-author on the talk and Sebastian's supervisor during his PhD, writes:

"It's great to see the importance of Seb's work being recognised through his invitation to present at the special session. Geo-engineering is being increasingly used for the control of phosphorus and eutrophication in lakes. CEH's role as an independent research organisation in informing water managers on issues associated with this approach is critical. Seb's recent work has provided scientific evidence with which decisions on the wide-scale use of this approach can be based.

This work has produced guidance on estimating effective dose of products and the identification of potential unintended chemical and ecological consequences associated with product application. Seb's results are being used to inform industry and environmental regulators on the wider use of this approach."

Sebastian Meis (right) at the NALMS conference in San Diego.


Additional information


NALMS Conference

UK Lake Restoration

Loch Flemington case study

Bryan Spears CEH staff page & ResearchGate profile

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Carbon and plant biodiversity recovery

A very short post to draw attention to new research by one of our PhD students Phil Martin (with Bournemouth University) who this week was lead author of a paper published in the Royal Society's flagship biological sciences journal, Proceedings B.

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology published a news story about the research: Carbon storage recovers more quickly than plant biodiversity in re-growing tropical forests

You can read the paper itself on the Proceedings B website (free to access until 30 November as part of the Royal Society's commitment to Open Access Week): Carbon pools recover more quickly than plant biodiversity in tropical secondary forests

On Phil's blog Ecology for a Crowded Planet, he has written an engaging and informative post giving more details about the research and why it is important: How long does tropical forest take to recover from agricultural clearance?

The photograph below by Ricardo Solar depicts an intermediate secondary forest in Paragominas, Para, Brazil and is indicative of the type of forest used in the analyses.

Photo by Ricardo Solar



Paulette Burns, Media Coordinator 

Additional information


Staff page of Philip Martin at CEH 

21 November 2013 update

Philip also published an article about his research in The Conversation on 13 November 2013

Monday, 28 October 2013

British lakes - boldly going where no lakes have gone before

Three scientists at CEH, Natural Resources Wales and Queen Mary University London discuss the findings of a collaborative lake ecosystems project:

"British lakes are on a new environmental trajectory. For the last half century scientists and managers have focused on how acidification and eutrophication affect the structure and function of lakes and their ecological quality. Now, as the effects of climate change are increasing in magnitude, it is interacting with other pressures, such as the expansion of non-native invasive species. We are therefore facing a situation where management strategies will need to be revised and restoration targets reconsidered as novel ecosystems emerge."

This was one of the main messages derived from a recent workshop convened at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology's Lancaster site by CEH and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The purpose was to discuss the outcomes of a NERC-funded project, "Whole lake responses to species invasion mediated by climate change", with colleagues in the regulatory and conservation agencies: Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species Initiative. The research is based on Windermere, England's largest natural lake, where unrivalled long-term records and archives exist. The project builds on more than two decades of research on lakes around the world that have revealed that climate change is affecting a range of lake properties throughout the whole lake ecosystem and that some of the changes will be hard to forecast. More specific information can be found at the Windermere Science website.

The John Lund - the CEH vessel used to carry out the long-term
monitoring on Windermere. Photo: Dr Ian Winfield.

 The project found that climate change has:
  • increased water temperature and prolonged the period of stratification
  • favoured species, such as the roach, from southern latitudes
  • disfavoured species, such as the Arctic charr, from northern latitudes
  • changed the fish community, leading to altered fish diet and food-web linkages
  • altered the zooplankton community structure
  • led to earlier phytoplankton growth in the spring and later growth in the autumn

These findings will directly inform the future management of one of the most important lakes in England. However, there are lessons to be learned as well, as many of the changes are likely to be common across lakes in different regions.

Taking a zooplankton net tow. Photo: Dr Peter Smyntek


There was common agreement at the workshop that our lakes are a critical national resource delivering a range of ecosystem services, but they are under threat. In particular, they are sensitive to invasive species which favour already disturbed environments. The importance of having access to long-term datasets and archived samples was acknowledged but the insights they provide will be strengthened by using other techniques, such as stable isotopes to trace food-webs and by modelling. Other research priorities specific to invasive species included identification of introduction pathways, early detection, likely spatial and temporal impact of specific species, and the effectiveness of biosecurity measures.

Guest blog by Dr Catherine Duigan (Head of the Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems Group, Natural Resources Wales, Bangor, @NatResWales), Prof Stephen Maberly (Head of the Lake Ecosystems Group at CEH), and Dr Jonathan Grey (Reader in Aquatic Ecology, QMUL).

Additional information


Windermere Science

Lake Ecosystems Group at CEH

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis: time for global collaboration

International cooperation is very important in preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species globally, as Helen Roy and Peter Brown of the UK Ladybird Survey explain in a guest blog:

It is almost ten years since the Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, was first recorded in the UK. This invasive alien species is native to Asia and so it is particularly poignant for us to have been invited to speak at the International Congress on Biological Invasions hosted at Qingdao*, China.

We're taking part in a session entitled "Harmonia axyridis: time for global collaboration" and feel privileged to be here representing the UK Ladybird Survey, alongside the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Anglia Ruskin University. During our time in China we are presenting research spanning predator-prey and natural enemy interactions through to host plant and habitat associations. All possible because of the records collated by the UK Ladybird Survey.

The online UK Ladybird Survey (including the Harlequin Ladybird Survey) was launched in 2005 following the arrival of the harlequin ladybird in the UK. We could not have imagined the response - tens of thousands of people from across the UK have contributed records of the harlequin ladybird and native species of ladybird. These observations have been invaluable in providing a unique insight into the ecology of this invader and the effects it is having on native species.

Harlequin ladybird. Photo: Barnaby Smith


The threat posed by invasive alien species is widely recognised and the harlequin ladybird provides a model system for exploring invasion biology making the data collected through the UK Ladybird Survey extremely valuable . The success of the online survey has also provided the inspiration for the development of a system for reporting many other alien species in Britain. 

One aim of our visit to China is to strengthen collaborations with researchers from around the world, and in particular to forge links with scientists working here. We hope to build on our understanding of how the ecology of the harlequin ladybird differs in its native and invaded ranges.

The harlequin ladybird is a dominant species in China as it is within the invaded range. Today we had the opportunity to observe, with excitement, the harlequin ladybird on the seafront trees of Qingdao. It was a fitting conclusion to a very productive and worthwhile trip.

Helen and Peter recording the harlequin ladybird
in Qingdao, China.




Helen Roy (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and volunteer scheme organiser for the UK Ladybird Survey)

Peter Brown (Anglia Ruskin University and volunteer scheme organiser for the UK Ladybird Survey)

Additional information


UK Ladybird Survey

Staff page of Dr Helen Roy, CEH

Staff page of Dr Peter Brown, Anglia Ruskin University

International Congress on Biological Invasions 

Great Britain non-native species secretariat

* Random fact - Qingdao city was host of the 2008 Olympic sailing competition

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Biodiversity indicators and the Biological Records Centre

The 2013 update to the UK Biodiversity Indicators has just been published on the JNCC website.
 
CEH scientists working within the Biological Records Centre contribute to several of the indicators, building on our wealth of knowledge and links to most of the UK's wildlife recording schemes. In particular, for 2013, our scientists have contributed to development of the new index on the status of priority species (C4a).

Dr Nick Isaac of CEH explains more:

"The new indicator C4a uses data from national surveys, such as the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The index provides an annual summary of the abundance of 210 mammal, bird, butterfly and moth species, all of which have been identified as priorities for the four national conservation agencies. This property makes this index much more sensitive than the old C4, in which species were categorised as declining, stable or increasing based on expert opinion."

"In addition, we also produced a supplementary index based on distribution data. These 'biological records' are not collected in a standardised way, which makes the data extremely noisy and liable to produce biased estimates of species trends. Within the Biological Records Centre, we've invested heavily in trying to understand this bias, and to extract a meaningful signal of change from the noise in the data. This investment has now paid off, because we're now able to report on the status of  taxonomic groups, such as bees, that lack standardised monitoring schemes."

"Both the abundance and distribution-based indicators show a decline of 50-60% since 1970, reinforcing the message that conservation agencies have their work cut out to prevent more species from going extinct."

More details of the C4a indicator can be found in the technical report, "Status of threatened species - status of priority species".

Other UK biodiversity indicators with CEH involvement include:

  • C6. Insects of the wider countryside (butterflies) population (data from CEH's joint stewardship of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme with Butterfly Conservation)
  • C2. Habitat Connectivity (Countryside Survey data)
  • B6. Pressure from Invasive species (reflecting our work with the National Biodiversity Network)
  • B5. Pressure from Pollution
  • C7. Plants of the wider countryside (data from CEH's Countryside Survey)

CEH science also played a key role in the 2011 National Ecosystem Assessment, which is the basis of Indicator D2. Biodiversity and ecosystem services (terrestrial).

Additional information


Biological Records Centre

Staff page of Dr Nick Isaac, CEH

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

National hydrometric data - what does the future bring for the UK's NRFA?

In two previous blog posts this month, we explored how the hydrometric data held by the National River Flow Archive and the National Groundwater Level Archive have been used in past and present scientific research, and how such a valuable data resource is vital for taking a long view of both hydrological trends and significant one-off events. Our series has coincided with a special meeting, on Tuesday 22 October 2013, to celebrate 30 years of the NRFA being hosted at CEH's Wallingford site. To conclude the series, Jamie Hannaford, head of the National River Flow Archive, looks to the future and at what the next few years might bring...

The past 30 years have seen incredible change in how we do our jobs, most obviously in the technology used to gather and disseminate hydrometric data. The next 30 years will undoubtedly see huge change again. When you think about it, 30 years is a generational timescale, it's a career span, it's a period that can expect to see life-changing developments. Hydrometric data and analysis is already important to society for underpinning effective water management, but it will assume even greater importance in global water management over the next 30 years, thanks to the challenges of population growth and movement, land use change and of climate change leading to an intensification of the hydrological cycle.

The NRFA, as the UK's national hydrometric information service, will be crucial to meeting these challenges, lying as it does at the heart of the hydrometric information lifecycle and managing as it does a long-term archive that will be able to take an ever longer view of events such as the 2010-2012 drought to flood transformation. Reliable, easily accessible, contextualised data and analysis will play a key role as scientists and water practitioners meet the world's water resource management needs.

The NRFA already provides its data and analysis in many formats


From the original print publications the NRFA delivered in the 1980s, to the digital outputs it now provides, our data is already, and will continue to be, served in many formats, but our fundamental maxim will always be to turn the data into valuable information. We always make sure we know where the data is coming from, so we can guide our end users.

The technological landscape will certainly continue to develop. Will we be a nation of armchair hydrologists by 2043? In some respects, thanks to remote sensing and satellite capabilities, it's possible to some extent now. But as well as opportunities, technology brings its own challenges - both in the huge amount of data that can be gathered and in the interpretation and validation of that data. For all the hydrometric data that can be gathered, we still need to understand what it is telling us. And we still need our monitoring partners to collect data first-hand to complement the models and the satellite technology.

The provision of reliable hydrometric data in the 21st century will be
crucial for global water management

Future developments

An important area for the NRFA now is to look at how to integrate our river flow data with other types of monitoring, for example near real-time soil moisture data, citizen science initiatives etc, to build up a fuller environmental picture. Our role will be to bring these other types of information together with the river flows; to help with interpreting and understanding them in context with other environmental variables.

Currently we are reviewing our hydrological summaries and looking at different options for enhancement, for example using the best modelling capabilities from CEH and other organisations to deliver improved outlooks and better drought indicators. We are working more closely than ever with international colleagues in organisations such as the US National Drought Mitigation Center and CSIRO in Australia, and aim to improve the information that we and other national hydrometric data providers can supply. It is a challenging task to undertake when hydrometric networks are under pressure worldwide, along with the resources for long-term monitoring.

In the shorter term, you can expect the NRFA to offer daily catchment rainfall on its website from next year. We will also be taking on the validation for HiFlows-UK, the UK's principal source of flood peak data, and making this available from our website in the near future.

Who can really say what the NRFA in 2043 will look like? The last 30 years have been a tremendous effort of stewardship, and the next 30 years will be also, but we are ready and able for the challenge, thanks to the support of our partners. Our data and analysis has informed the likes of the Pitt Review on flooding, which followed the 2007 summer floods, as well as the National Ecosystem Assessment and the IPCC's recent 2013 climate change assessment. We will continue to give that much needed national, strategic assessment that is crucial for water management in this country.

Jamie Hannaford

Additional reading


Dixon, H, Hannaford, J and Fry, M J, 2013, The effective management of national hydrometric data: experiences from the United Kingdom. Hydrological Sciences Journal.

The 2010-2012 drought and subsequent extensive flooding - a remarkable hydrological transformation by Terry Marsh, Simon Parry, Mike Kendon & Jamie Hannaford. 2013. PDF [7.05mb]

Hydrometric data - the long view (first in our special blog series on the NRFA and hydrometric data)

An unprecedented hydrological transformation (second in our blog series)

View photos from the NRFA 30th anniversary event on Flickr

Related links


National River Flow Archive

Staff page of Jamie Hannaford, CEH

CEH makes a Big Bang at Cumbria science fair

Staff and students from CEH's Lancaster site shared their enthusiasm for all living things at the South Cumbria Big Bang science fair earlier this month. Their stall, entitled "Slimy Science Creature Challenge", encouraged primary and secondary students to get their hands dirty and think about what it means to work in ecology:

Five staff and students from our Lancaster site introduced young students to the science of ecology at the South Cumbria Big Bang Fair, held in Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness from 15-16 October 2013.

The stall included a "Slimy science creature challenge", where 50 magnets depicting organisms from diatoms to wolves were hidden in a large bucket of green slime (created using Gelli Baff, which consists of the stuff used as an absorbant in disposable nappies). The (highly competitive!) student contestants had a limited time to extract as many creatures from the goo using only one hand, then only a minute to decide to which level of the food chain their organisms belonged - not as easy as it sounds! All contestants were rewarded for their efforts with a sweet treat, and the top scorer from each session went away with a mini microscope to help them hone their ecological skills at home.




Secondary students from around the south Cumbria region visited on Tuesday, whilst on Wednesday it was the turn of the primary school students. Much fun was had by all and, judging by the results, there are some very capable young people who are willing to get their hands dirty! It wasn't all goo and slime though, as the contents of a compost bin (and the associated flora and fauna) were available for students to examine using a microscope. Meanwhile, CEH staff were on hand with leaflets and magazines explaining the roles of ecologists and hydrologists, and how enjoyable environmental science can be as a career choice.


The Cumbria Big Bang Fair was organised by STEM Cumbria and was visited by more than 400 students each day from all over the region. It was host to a plethora of different businesses, educational institutions and enterprises that use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) on a day to day basis.


Our Lancaster-based staff plan to take part again next year to help inspire the next generation of budding environmental scientists.

Beth Penrose, Jacky Chaplow, Claudia Moeckel, Elaine Potter and Andy Sier

Additional links


Cumbria STEM Ltd

Thursday, 10 October 2013

An unprecedented hydrological transformation

A huge number of scientific papers have delved into the extraordinary data held by the National River Flow Archive and National Groundwater Level Archive. As our blog series on hydrometric data continues, Simon Parry of CEH (right) discusses one of the most recent papers to use the data, newly published in the Weather journal, which analyses the dramatic transformation from drought to flood in the UK during the summer of 2012.

Whilst this year's fine and dry summer was very much welcome, it was not typical of the more unsettled summers of the last few years. Although the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 were spared the worst of the weather, from April 2012 onwards a succession of wet fronts drenched the UK, in particular England & Wales, resulting in the wettest year for more than a century.

This episode emphatically put to an end concerns about the water resources situation, which saw hosepipe bans implemented in April across south, central and eastern England affecting 20 million consumers. Recent research by CEH scientists, in collaboration with the UK Met Office, published last month in Weather, finds that the transformation from drought to floods in England & Wales is without modern parallel in the historical record (Parry et al. 2013).

The extreme drought of 1975-76 remains the most severe in the historical record, most likely the worst experienced in the UK for at least the last 250 years (Rodda & Marsh 2011). This episode was terminated dramatically in September and October 1976, over which time England & Wales received almost double the long-term average rainfall.

The 2010-12 drought did not reach the same intensity as 1975-76 (Kendon et al. 2013); the summers were not hot or particularly dry in 2010-12, in contrast with heatwave-dominated droughts in 1976 and 2003. However, the rainfall shortages were concentrated in the winter half-years (October-March), a vital time for the recovery of water resources and, as such, outflows from England & Wales in March 2012 were lower than the corresponding point in 1976. Hosepipe bans were implemented in several areas at the end of the normal groundwater recharge season (April); there was little prospect of improvement in the water resources situation, barring something extraordinary happening...

Something extraordinary did happen. Whilst the transformation in 2012 may not have been as spectacular in rainfall terms as that of 1976, England & Wales recorded new record rainfall (series from 1766; Alexander & Jones 2001) for April, June and the summer half-year (April-September), and April-December 2012 was the wettest of any nine-month period in ~250 years.

Flood damage in England, December 2012. Photo: Heather Lowther


Groundwater recharge through the summer half-year

The most important impact of the succession of rain-bearing frontal systems was to re-wet soils which allowed the replenishment of groundwater to resume. What made the transformation in 2012 particularly unprecedented was the resumption of groundwater recharge through the summer half-year; the patterns of hydrological response tracked in the opposite direction to normal seasonal conditions.

Perhaps owing to the British preoccupation with the weather, much attention is given to rainfall figures in characterising the water situation in this country. However, water resources are more complex than this; the relationship between rainfall and runoff is not one-to-one, owing to catchment characteristics and antecedent conditions.

The distinction between a transformation in rainfall and the unprecedented hydrological transformation is an important one; the former would not necessarily have terminated hydrological drought conditions, but the latter did so emphatically. If there had been no concurrent response in groundwater levels following the rainfall, it is likely that hosepipe bans would have remained in place even through a moderately wet summer. This would have been a difficult message for the water companies to communicate to the public, so perhaps the industry was happy on more than one level to have witnessed a hydrological transformation without modern parallel.

Simon Parry

Simon Parry is a hydrologist based at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology's Wallingford site.

 

References


Alexander, L V, and Jones, P D (2001) Updated precipitation series for the UK and discussion of recent extremes. Atmospheric Science Letters, 1, 142-150.

Kendon, M, Marsh, T and Parry, S (2013) The 2010-2012 drought in England and Wales. Weather, 68 (4), 88-95.

Parry, S, Marsh, T and Kendon, M (2013) 2012: from drought to floods in England and Wales. Weather, 68 (10), 268-274.

Rodda, J C and Marsh, T J (2011) The 1975-76 drought - a contemporary and retrospective review, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. 58pp. [PDF, 13mb]

Additional information


A comprehensive report by Terry Marsh, Simon Parry and Jamie Hannaford, in collaboration with Mike Kendon (Met Office), on the 2010-12 drought and subsequent hydrological transformation will be published later this month and will be available to download freely from the CEH website.

Next in our hydrometric data blog series, Looking forward - where the archives are going next... Watch this space!

Related links

CEH Blog: Hydrometric data - the long view

National River Flow Archive  

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hydrometric data: The Long View

Each week BBC Radio 4's The Long View uses a variety of expert witnesses to examine stories from history that resonate in today's headlines.

Later this month, CEH will host more than 100 distinguished hydrologists who will spend a day taking the 'long view' of the data collection and research work of the UK's National River Flow Archive (NRFA) and National Groundwater Level Archive (NGLA), both of which have been hosted at our Wallingford site since the early 1980s, but which contain records dating back to the first half of the 19th century.

Wendover Springs - thought to be the earliest extant stream flow monitoring
site in the UK. 



The 30th anniversary celebration of the Wallingford move, to be held on 22 October 2013, will review the achievements of the archives and the exploitation of this rich hydrological data resource by a broad user community, which includes regulators such as the Environment Agency, water companies, academic scientists, and environmental and engineering consultancies. The data has also made its way into several scientific papers referred to in the recent IPCC WG1 assessment.

In addition to river flow and groundwater level data, rainfall records and reservoir levels are also held in the archives and the incredible dataset has allowed CEH and BGS scientists to produce a variety of key publications examining both hydrological trends – for example, Are UK floods getting larger? – and the significance of one-off events, such as the 1976 drought. Comparisons between the latest data and the historic record also provide the backbone of the UK's monthly hydrological summary.

Whilst delving through the archives in preparation for this post, I came across this fascinating history of hydrological monitoring before 1985 [PDF], which details how, although Britain has a three centuries-long history of rainfall recording, river flow monitoring only became 'fashionable' after the second world war as industry and government increased their demand for water. The work to establish a national river flow gauging network in the 1950s and 1960s built on a small number of sites that had been established over the previous century, including Wendover Springs in Buckinghamshire - thought to be the earliest extant stream flow monitoring site in the UK.

On the day itself, presenters will look back at how hydrometric monitoring developed in the UK, in response to factors such as the perceived increase in water requirements. They will also examine some of the latest techniques for both monitoring the UK's water cycle, investigate how monitoring and the archive might develop in the future, and tackle the difficult question of what data should we be archiving nationally, given the resource constraints imposed by the current financial situation. In summary, they will take a 'Long View' of a data archive from one of the UK's major environmental monitoring networks, an archive which is particularly important because the UK climate is inherently variable, so short-term tendencies may well not be indicative of long-term trends.

Barnaby Smith

CEH website: Images of gauging stations which have provided some of the oldest records in the archive

Flickr: Album of historic images from the Pynlimon catchments

Additional information


Over the next couple of weeks we will be blogging in more detail about some of the material being presented at the meeting. Further details of the meeting can be found here. Registration is now closed but we will be making much of the content available from this blog and the NRFA pages on the CEH website.

If you're interested in learning more, take a look at the NRFA web pages, where you can find reams of information on how monitoring takes place and how the data is used, and you can also download data for more than 400 of the UK's river flow gauging sites. Information about the records and details of scientific papers which have used the records can be found on the NRFA publications pages.

Friday, 27 September 2013

British birds, pollinators and penguin poo - paperblog 7

In the latest edition of the CEH paperblog, we first highlight a recent PLoS ONE paper that involved researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and Dr Shelley Hinsley of CEH in a ten-year study of British birds, and how weather interacts with habitat to determine breeding success. The Cambridgeshire-focused study discovered that birds breeding in urban areas are better able to cope during unusually cold and wet weather, because they are less reliant on a single food source for feeding their chicks. The study compared 2012 - with its notable weather, including a cold and wet spring and lower than average temperatures - to the previous nine years.

Over the whole ten years of the study, birds living in the traditional woodland habitat had fared significantly better and produced larger and healthier broods than their city cousins. However, if extreme weather events become more commonplace due to the effects of climate change, then those birds living in urban environments may ultimately have the advantage. The PLoS ONE paper is open access.

Staying with PLoS ONE, and open access, a study led by Professor Hui Wang of CEH has used new technology to investigate viruses such as varroa destructor virus in honeybees and bumblebees. The results, from a small field trial, show how the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology can help understand virus infections in key pollinating insects, with novel observations even from a small sample size. Such technology has potentially interesting applications in ecological and environmental science.

A new paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology also looks at pollinators and other invertebrates that provide important ecosystem services crucial to crop production. A team of researchers led by CEH mapped the distribution of species richness and functional diversity for ground beetles which are important in the delivery of natural pest control and for bees, important for pollination. Understanding national patterns can help to promote more effective crop management and contribute to longer-term food security.

Next, penguins are under the spotlight in a new paper in Atmospheric Environment. The emissions from remote seabird colonies often represent the main source of atmospheric nitrogen into surrounding ecosystems, and can provide useful case studies for scientists investigating nitrogen cycling and emission processes. However before this study no field-based estimates of ammonia emissions from penguin colonies had been published. Data was collected from seven locations around an Adelie penguin colony in the Antarctic and three different atmospheric dispersion models were used to derive the first field-based emission estimates of a penguin colony.  The researchers, including Sim Tang and Mark Sutton of CEH, estimate that 2% of the nitrogen excreted by the penguins is emitted as ammonia.

Finally, a featured article in the Journal of Environmental Quality led by Prof Andrew Sharpley (University of Arkansas) and involving Helen Jarvie, Bryan Spears and Linda May of CEH, used long-term monitoring data from a range of case studies (including CEH's Loch Leven and River Lambourn sites) to demonstrate the timelines and processes associated with recovery of water quality following phosphorus reduction measures. The team reported recovery times ranging from years to centuries across terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Read more in the open access paper and more background in a CEH news story.

Paulette Burns, Media Coordinator

Additional information


If you'd like a fuller picture of new papers from CEH, just follow the CEH Paper Alerts Twitter feed, which lists CEH peer-reviewed papers newly published online. Full details of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology science publications, including those published in peer-reviewed science journals, are eventually catalogued on the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA).

Those of you who follow the scientific literature will know some journal websites require registration and some are subscription-only. CEH, as part of NERC, is working with publishers and funders to make more of our output open access, and we have indicated above where this is the case.

We also publish lots of our other outputs including biological records atlases and project reports. More details can be found in the publications section of the CEH website.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cormorant-fishery conflicts: photos from the INTERCAFE project

Findings from a major Europe-wide study into cormorant-fishery conflicts have been published, providing one of the most detailed ecological and socio-economic investigations of these fish-eating birds, their impacts and implications for their management. Read more in CEH news and view photos from the project below.

The INTERCAFE study, chaired by David Carss of CEH, included the first
pan-European census of the number and distribution of cormorants in summer
and wintertime. Cormorant numbers across Europe have been increasing,
particularly within the last three decades.
Photo: INTERCAFE
Researchers carry out an INTERCAFE field survey (c) INTERCAFE. The
INTERCAFE reports include an overview of field techniques and standard
research methods for cormorants, fishes and the interactions between them.
Photo: INTERCAFE

A carp damaged by a cormorant. The INTERCAFE reports contain analysis
of cormorant-fisheries conflicts at carp-rearing ponds - an important freshwater
fishery sector across continental Europe - where problems at individual sites
can be caused by birds which breed as far as 2000km away.
Photo by Robert Gwiazda
The project drew together researchers from a number of disciplines, including
bird-related and broader ecology disciplines, fisheries science and management,
sociology, social anthropology and international law, together with experts on
fisheries production, harvest and management, local interest groups and
international policy-makers.
Photo: INTERCAFE
The project involved 70 researchers from 30 countries, as well as hundreds
of volunteers of the Wetlands International-IUCN Cormorant Research Group.
Photo by Stef van Rijn.
Photo of a cormorant by Josef Trauttmansdorff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More information


CEH News: Europe-wide studies into cormorant-fishery conflicts published

INTERCAFE reports

Flickr set of photos from INTERCAFE project

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Freshwater Ecology Group's loch health research highlighted

Scientific research carried out by CEH's Freshwater Ecology Group has been highlighted in an article published recently in the popular magazine Scotland Outdoors. The article, in the Autumn 2013 edition, describes how research by the group has shaped the methods by which the health of Scotland's lochs are measured and how this work has shown that Scotland has some of the cleanest and healthiest freshwaters in Europe.

Swan on Loch Leven (photo by Laurence Carvalho)

The article showcases a variety of work by members of the Edinburgh-based Group, including long-term work at CEH's flagship monitoring site at Loch Leven, ecosystem restoration work carried out at Loch Flemington, and a large-scale survey of more than 200 lochs carried out to assess the health of our most important sites of conservation interest.

Sustaining the quality of freshwaters is vital to Scotland's economy and this article highlights how the Group's research is vital to maintaining and raising the standards of this precious resource, providing responses to threats and enhancing the benefits that freshwaters bring to society.

Laurence Carvalho

Related links


Scotland Outdoors magazine (subscription required)

Loch Leven monitoring

CEH's UK lake restoration research

Staff page of Dr Laurence Carvalho

Friday, 13 September 2013

Ragweed models and Bird Island measurements - CEH paperblog 6

In our latest paperblog, we first highlight two new papers resulting from a European Commission-funded project to assess and control the spread and effects of Common ragweed in Europe. Accurate models are needed to forecast the progress and impact of alien invasive species. For Common ragweed Ambrosia artemisiifolia such forecasts are extremely important as the species is a serious crop weed and its airborne pollen is a major cause of allergy and asthma in humans.

Newly published in Global Change Biology, Dan Chapman leads the paper, "Phenology predicts the native and invasive range limits of common ragweed", collaborating with CEH colleague Prof James Bullock and researchers from the UK, Austria and South Africa. Their study shows that phenology can be a key determinant of species' range margins, and thus integrating phenology into species distribution models can offer great potential for the mechanistic modelling of range dynamics.

Dan and James are co-authors of a second paper entitled "An operational model for forecasting ragweed pollen release and dispersion in Europe", published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology and led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. This study produces the first European-scale simulation of ragweed pollen concentrations. The modelling illustrates the potential for a relatively localized invasive species to produce impacts on human health at a continental scale.

The remote Bird Island in the south Atlantic is home to large seabird and seal colonies, including Macaroni and Gentoo penguins, and Antarctic fur seals. Our NERC colleagues British Antarctic Survey have a research station there. A new open access paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics involving the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, CEH, BAS and Kings College looks at how Bird Island's fauna are influencing the composition and characteristics of remote marine aerosol measured on the island. Many aspects of marine aerosol systems are not yet fully understood, but a detailed understanding is essential to quantify more fully the role of marine aerosol in the functioning of the Earth system.

The study, which saw the first stationary deployment of an aerosol mass spectrometer to a field site in the sub-Antarctic, generally found the aerosol to be less acidic than in other marine environments due to the high availability of ammonia from local fauna emissions.

Finally, we highlight a paper by Professor Colin Neal who recently retired from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology but who remains a research fellow of the organisation. Colin's invited commentary in Hydrological Processes discusses "Catchment water quality: the inconvenient but necessary truth of fractal functioning", drawing on his long-term research, particularly at the Plynlimon catchments in Wales (data freely available from the CEH Information Gateway).

Paulette Burns, Media Coordinator

Additional information


If you'd like a fuller picture of new papers from CEH, just follow the CEH Paper Alerts Twitter feed, which lists CEH peer-reviewed papers newly published online. Full details of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology science publications, including those published in peer-reviewed science journals, are eventually catalogued on the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA).

Those of you who follow the scientific literature will know some journal websites require registration and some are subscription-only. CEH, as part of NERC, is working with publishers and funders to make more of our output open access, and we have indicated above where this is the case.

We also publish lots of our other outputs including biological records atlases and project reports. More details can be found in the publications section of the CEH website.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Hedgerows and hydrology - CEH paperblog 5

Our latest paperblog highlights some of the recently published scientific papers led by or involving researchers from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

  • A new study in Global Change Biology describes results from a nine-year N perturbation, manipulation experiment carried out by CEH scientists on an ombrotrophic bog, Whim (a site in the Scottish Borders). Ammonium and nitrate were provided in rainwater spray in differing amounts, plus a rainwater only control, via an automated system coupled to site meteorology. The work was led by Dr Lucy Sheppard.

  • A study recently published in Biological Conservation examined changes over 70 years in hedgerow floral diversity, including the impacts of management. The paper, led by CEH's Jo Staley with colleagues James  Bullock, John Redhead, Danny Hooftman and Richard Pywell, used a unique botanical dataset for 357 hedge sites across a study area of 2600 km2 in Dorset, collected in the 1930s and again in 2001. 



  • Professor Mike Acreman of CEH and Profesor Joe Holden from the University of Leeds have published a new article on "How Wetlands Affect Floods". It was published in Wetlands, the official scholarly journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists, in mid-August. They focused on two example wetland types (upland rain-fed wetlands and floodplain wetlands) to demonstrate why there are differences in flood functions both within and between wetland types.

Open access publishing is increasingly becoming the 'norm' in scientific publishing in the UK. To end this month's paperblog, we highlight three papers, all open access, which involve CEH scientists.




Barnaby Smith - Media Relations Manager

Additional information


If you'd like a fuller picture of new papers from CEH, just follow the CEH Paper Alerts Twitter feed, which lists CEH peer-reviewed papers newly published online. Full details of Centre for Ecology & Hydrology science publications, including those published in peer-reviewed science journals, are eventually catalogued on the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA).

Those of you who follow the scientific literature will know some journal websites require registration and some are subscription-only. CEH, as part of NERC, is working with publishers and funders to make more of our output open access, and we have indicated above where this is the case.

We also publish lots of our other outputs including biological records atlases and project reports. More details can be found in the publications section of the CEH website.