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Biodiversity of an Urban Nature Reserve

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Presentation on theme: "Biodiversity of an Urban Nature Reserve"— Presentation transcript:

1 Biodiversity of an Urban Nature Reserve
An illustrated case study of Possil Marsh Nature Reserve, Glasgow This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

2 Overview This presentation describes the surprisingly rich biodiversity of Possil Marsh Nature Reserve an urban nature reserve in Glasgow. A separate presentation describes the habitats of the reserve.

3 Overview Possil Marsh, shown left, is an area of semi-natural habitat set in a man-made landscape. As shown here, to the north the land is used for agriculture and the Campsie Fells located 11 kilometres to the north can be seen from the reserve.

4 Overview To the south and east of Possil Marsh lie areas of housing. While to the west lies Balmore Road, a busy A road leading into the centre of Glasgow. On the other side of this road lies Lambhill cemetery and crematorium.

5 Roe deer Capreolus capreolus
Mammal Diversity Despite the urban location of the reserve it is home to 15 terrestrial mammal species These include roe deer, field vole, water vole, wood mouse, brown hare, rabbit, fox, mole, stoat, weasel, common shrew, pygmy shrew, water shrew, grey squirrel and mink The water vole was last seen in the reserve 10 years ago and may or may not still be present Roe deer Capreolus capreolus

6 Non-native Mammal Species
Two of these species the European rabbit Oryctolagus ciniculus and the grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis are introduced species The European Rabbit is native to Spain and Portugal and it is thought to have been introduced to Britain about a thousand years ago around about the time of the Norman invasion in There are now estimated to be around 40 million wild rabbits in Britain. The gray squirrel is native to the United States of America and Canada and was introduced to England about 100 years ago. It has rapidly spread across England and become established in Wales and southern and central Scotland. Where it is present it has largely out competed and displaced the native red squirrel.

7 Order Lagomorpha (Hares & Rabbits)
In addition to the non native European Rabbit, Possil Marsh holds a second member of the order lagomorpha, the European hare Lepus europaeus The Eurepean hare is larger, longer eared and longer legged that the rabbit These adaptations suite its open country habitat and it breeds on the ground rather than in a burrow

8 Order Artiodactyla Deer are even-toed ungulates (order Artiodactyla) whose distinctive feature is that their weight is born about equally on an even number of toes (the third and fourth toes) The roe deer Capreolus capreolus found in Possil Marsh and shown to the right are Britain’s smallest native deer species

9 Order Carnivora (Carnovores)
Britain has 8 native terrestrial carnivore species 3 of these are found in Possil Marsh, the red fox Vulpes vulpes, stoat Mustela erminea and lesser weasel Mustela erminea

10 Amphibian Diversity There are 6 amphibian species native to Britain
4 of these have been found on the reserve, common frog Rana tempraria, common toad Bufo bufo, smooth newt Lissotriton vulgaris and great crested newt Triturus cristatus None of Britain’s 6 native reptiles have been found on the reserve recently, probably because they favour drier and less disturbed habitats than those in the reserve Common frogs Rana tempraria (Photo by Eilidh Spence)

11 Bird Diversity Approximately 560 bird species have been recorded living or visiting Britain Nearly 30%, 164 species, have been recorded at Possil Marsh reserve An impressive number given the small size of the area (31.65 hectares) and urban nature of the reserves surroundings The reserve’s bird species can be grouped into various categories including: common resident urban birds, water birds and summer visitors Mute Swan Great Tit

12 European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Common Urban Birds Some of the bird species found in the reserve are common resident birds found in may urban environments, such as gardens and parks The following slides illustrate some of these common urban species You are likely to see many of these species in any garden or park in the UK European Robin Erithacus rubecula

13 A Common Species of Conservation Concern
Even birds that are common can be of conservation importance especially if their populations have declined dramatically recently and if such declines continued they could become rare or eventually disappear The Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris is one such species Between 1967 and 2007 the Starling breeding population in the UK declined by 73% Common Starling

14 Common Blackbird Turdus merula

15 Great Tit Parus major

16 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

17 Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

18 Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

19 Waterbirds Other bird species found in Possil Marsh occur because of the aquatic habitats present in the reserve This group of species is known as the waterbirds and includes swans, geese, ducks, grebes, gulls, waders and rails A selection of waterbirds that use the reserve are illustrated in the following slides

20 Mute Swan Cygnus olor

21 Mallard Anas platyrhychos
A female mallard, this is the most familiar duck species in the UK

22 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Female Male

23 Dabbling Ducks Dabbling ducks are a group of surface feeding ducks
The Mallard is one species of dabbling duck The Wigeon Anas penelope illustrated to the right is another

24 Diving Ducks Another group of ducks are the diving ducks named for their habit of diving below the surface to find food The species illustrated here is the Common Pochard Aythya ferina The Tufted Duck illustrated earlier is another species of diving duck

25 Rails & Coots Family Rallidae
The Coot Fulica atra is a member of the the bird family Rallidae The Rallidae are small to medium sized aquatic birds that live in marshes and other wet areas

26 Grebes Family Podicipedidae
Grebes are a family of highly specialised aquatic birds that forage by diving The Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis shown right breeds in small numbers on the reserve in the aquatic vegetation around the loch

27 Various gulls resting on the loch
Gulls Family Laridae Another family of common waterbirds present at Possil Marsh are the gulls More gulls are present in the reserve during winter and none breed regularly in the reserve Various gulls resting on the loch Herring Gull Black-headed Gull

28 Waders Order Charadriiformes
Waders are long legged small to medium sized birds that normally live along shore lines, in marshes or near other wet habitats The Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralehus shown right is a non-breeding visitor to the reserve

29 Herons Order Ciconiiformes
A group of medium or large sized wading birds with long necks The Grey Heron Ardea cinerea is found in the reserve year round although it doesn’t normally breed there

30 Summer migrant visitors
In addition to common urban birds that are resident all year round and waterbirds a number of species visit to breed in the summer months Many of these migrate large distances from southern Europe or Africa to do so The Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis shown here winters south of the Sahara and spends several weeks flying north each year to reach locations such as Possl Marsh

31 Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
With a breeding population or about 17 pairs one of the most common of the summer migrants is this Sedge Warbler Despite weighing in at only 15 g this tiny bird is another migrant that flies across the Sahara desert each year to reach Britain It nests in dense vegetation in marshy areas, especially in reeds or rushes which are abundant on the reserve

32 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
The most common of all the summer migrant visitors is the Willow Warbler with about 26 breeding pairs on the reserve Also a long distant trans-Saharan migrant this species prefers to nest in habitat with at least a few trees or taller bushes

33 Other biodiversity In addition to mammals, amphibians and birds many other species have been recorded at Possil Marsh Nature Reserve These include 336 vascular plant species plus many other lower plants Many invertebrate species including 150 butterfly, 107 beetle and 124 Ichneumon wasp species Less diverse groups include 4 species of leaches These buttercups are one of the many plant species that favour the marshy habitats of the reserve

34 Attribution This presentation has been prepared by Ross MacLeod, Division of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow and is based on the University of Glasgow’s Conservation and Ecology field trip to Possil Marsh Nature Reserve, Glasgow run by Dr Stewart White The presentation and the photos within it have been released as an Open Educational Resources under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License as part of a UK Centre of Bioscience Open Educational Resources project For more information and any feed back please contact UK Centre of Bioscience or Ross MacLeod

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