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Welcome to the… Quercus/NHRP Annual Review 2008/09.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the… Quercus/NHRP Annual Review 2008/09."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to the… Quercus/NHRP Annual Review 2008/09

2 Dr. Neil Reid Centre Manager

3 Quercus/NHRP Quercus  Partnership between Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Environment & Heritage Service (EHS)  Initial contract 2003 to 2005  Extension 2005 to March 2008  £2M core NIEA funding + £1.5M external funding Natural Heritage Research Partnership (NHRP)  New contract QUB and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)  June 2008 to 2018  NHRP now a subset of Quercus activities

4 NHRP Aims to… “Provide high quality research to underpin decisions relating to NIEA Natural Heritage’s statutory duties and to help deliver strategic targets relating to Government’s key themes of sustainable development, biodiversity and climate change.”

5 Objectives 1.Provide NIEA with an effective, customer-focused mechanism for managing a large research programme 2.Advance understanding of the natural heritage of NI by delivering innovative science of the highest possible quality 3.Develop, prioritise and agree three natural heritage work programmes for years 1-4, years 5-7 and years Develop and deliver approx. 110 high quality research projects using appropriate scientific techniques 5.Establish a cost effective staffing structure which has flexibility to carry out urgent projects at short notice 6.Provide and demonstrate added value 7.Encourage and demonstrate the development of skills of new researchers providing internships, students projects and/or workshops 8.Transfer scientific knowledge and skills to NIEA staff 9.Disseminate research findings effectively to decision makers, practitioners and the general public 10.Develop partnerships with other organisations

6 NIEA Statutory duties Biodiversity in the wider countryside Climate change NHRP research themes

7 Research themes 1) NIEA statutory duties Management of designated sites Monitoring of designated site features Specialist survey, mapping and monitoring of freshwater and marine designated sites Species distribution, abundance and habitat requirements 2) Biodiversity in the wider countryside NI priority habitats and species Ecosystem functioning Ecological genetics Invasive alien species Human impacts on biodiversity 3) Climate change

8 Management of designated sites Sod removal at Montiagh’s Moss Nature Reserve SAC designation for Annex II Marsh fritillary butterfly Experimental assessment of ‘sod removal’ Successful in regenerating fen plant communities …but not successful in regenerating Devil’s-bit Scabious …applied conservation recommendations

9 Monitoring designated site features Lough Neagh diving ducks (PhD) SPA / ASSI designated for bird assemblage 80% of UK overwintering ducks Population declines H 1 - Has something changed in the Lough? H 2 - Are birds not returning?

10 Specialist survey, mapping and monitoring of freshwater and marine designated sites Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs) in Northern Ireland Collaborative project with Pond Conservation Important Bird Areas (Birdlife International) / Important Plant Areas (Plantlife International) Pond Habitat Action Plan (HAP) 9 IAPs indentified Extensive ‘policy relevant’ recommendations

11 Species distribution, abundance & habitat requirements "Queen's University has done an excellent job in providing scientific population estimates which will be used as the basis for future decisions about protection for the Irish hare.” Environment for the Minister, Edwin Poots. Northern Ireland Irish hare survey ( ) Irish hare listed on Annex II EU Habitats Directive Requirement for regular monitoring No significant population change

12 NI Priority Habitats & Species Conservation ecology and genetics the northern mining bee (PhD) Colletes floralis SACs / ASSIs e.g. Magilligan-Umbra-Downhill sand dune complex Preliminary work funded by DEL suggests the north coast population is genetically distinct Mapping distribution / Habitat analysis / resource availability / Genetics

13 Ecological genetics Verification of hybridisation between European and Irish hares Also invasive alien species research theme 17/33 samples (c. 51%) = Irish hares 6/33 samples (c. 18%) = European hares 6/33 samples (c. 18%) = Interspecific hybrids 4/33 samples (c. 12%) = Not identified Bilateral hybridisation 5 = male European hares (♂) mating with female Irish hares (♀) 1 = female European hare (♀) mating with male Irish hare (♂)

14 Invasive alien species Muntjac Knowledge Transfer Review of invasive ecology Appraisal of control procedures Rapid genetic ID developed 5 response actions outlined Muntjac judged ‘high risk’ invader Update Roadkill juvenile (8 months) recovered from Ards Peninsula

15 Human impacts on biodiversity Impact of wind farm development on biodiversity Review of published literature Birds, bats, habitats, carbon storage Development of guidelines for developers similar to SNH

16 Climate change Identifying priority actions on climate change within the NHD Review of internal NIEA processes and operations 65% of Natural Heritage Directorate staff experience weather-related problems 72% ‘unhappy’ with current climate change adaptation measures 4 broad recommendations, 6 key actions and 26 specific actions

17 Project list 2007/08 (ongoing)2008/092009/10 1. Corncrake recovery on Rathlin Island1. NI Irish hare survey NI Irish hare survey Conservation of the Marsh fritillary butterfly2. Conservation of Juniper2. NHD climate change review 3. Magaritifera population restoration3. Alder buckthorn genetics3. Important areas for ponds 4. Water Crowfoot genetics4. Raptor monitoring workshop 5. Invasive aquatic plants5. Hydromorphology / macroinvertebrates 6. Grazing on sand dunes6. Impact of wind farms 7. Rathlin Seabirds declines7. Bloody-red shrimp invasion 8. Lough Neagh diving ducks8. Northern mining bee ecology 9. Belfast tidal gauge9. Wild Margaritifera reproduction 10. Regenerating fen vegetation10. Brave New Ocean Symposium 11. Muntjac Knowledge Transfer11. Hen harrier satellite tracking pilot 12. Invasive cordgrass distribution12. Common lizard distribution and habitat 13. Mink predation and control13. Irish hare leaflet for farmers 14. European hare hybridisation 15. Hen harrier SPA mapping  Total of 31 active projects since 23 rd June (ca. 26%) from Quercus I or competitive tenders (NIEA and NPWS)

18 Project list 2007/08 (ongoing)2008/092009/10 1. Corncrake recovery on Rathlin Island1. NI Irish hare survey NI Irish hare survey Conservation of the Marsh fritillary butterfly2. Conservation of Juniper2. NHD climate change review 3. Magaritifera population restoration3. Alder buckthorn genetics3. Important areas for ponds 4. Water Crowfoot genetics4. Raptor monitoring workshop 5. Invasive aquatic plants5. Hydromorphology / macroinvertebrates 6. Grazing on sand dunes6. Impact of wind farms 7. Rathlin Seabirds declines7. Bloody-red shrimp invasion 8. Lough Neagh diving ducks8. Northern mining bee ecology 9. Belfast tidal gauge9. Wild Margaritifera reproduction 10. Regenerating fen vegetation10. Brave New Ocean Symposium 11. Muntjac Knowledge Transfer11. Hen harrier satellite tracking pilot 12. Invasive cordgrass distribution12. Common lizard distribution and habitat 13. Mink predation and control13. Irish hare leaflet for farmers 14. European hare hybridisation 15. Hen harrier SPA mapping  Total of 31 active projects since 23 rd June (ca. 26%) from Quercus I or competitive tenders (NIEA and NPWS) -26 (ca. 84%) funded by or related to NIEA

19 Project list  Total of 31 active projects since 23 rd June (ca. 26%) from Quercus I or competitive tenders (NIEA and NPWS) -26 (ca. 84%) funded by or related to NIEA -21 (ca. 68%) funded by or related to NHRP 2007/08 (ongoing)2008/092009/10 1. Corncrake recovery on Rathlin Island1. NI Irish hare survey NI Irish hare survey Conservation of the Marsh fritillary butterfly2. Conservation of Juniper2. NHD climate change review 3. Magaritifera population restoration3. Alder buckthorn genetics3. Important areas for ponds 4. Water Crowfoot genetics4. Raptor monitoring workshop 5. Invasive aquatic plants5. Hydromorphology / macroinvertebrates 6. Grazing on sand dunes6. Impact of wind farms 7. Rathlin Seabirds declines7. Bloody-red shrimp invasion 8. Lough Neagh diving ducks8. Northern mining bee ecology 9. Belfast tidal gauge9. Wild Margaritifera reproduction 10. Regenerating fen vegetation10. Brave New Ocean Symposium 11. Muntjac Knowledge Transfer11. Hen harrier satellite tracking pilot 12. Invasive cordgrass distribution12. Common lizard distribution and habitat 13. Mink predation and control13. Irish hare leaflet for farmers 14. European hare hybridisation 15. Hen harrier SPA mapping

20 Project list  Total of 31 active projects since 23 rd June (ca. 26%) from Quercus I or competitive tenders (NIEA and NPWS) -26 (ca. 84%) funded by or related to NIEA -21 (ca. 68%) funded by or related to NHRP -10 (ca. 32%) completed within first 15 months 2007/08 (ongoing)2008/092009/10 1. Corncrake recovery on Rathlin Island1. NI Irish hare survey NI Irish hare survey Conservation of the Marsh fritillary butterfly2. Conservation of Juniper2. NHD climate change review 3. Magaritifera population restoration3. Alder buckthorn genetics3. Important areas for ponds 4. Water Crowfoot genetics4. Raptor monitoring workshop 5. Invasive aquatic plants5. Hydromorphology / macroinvertebrates 6. Grazing on sand dunes6. Impact of wind farms 7. Rathlin Seabirds declines7. Bloody-red shrimp invasion 8. Lough Neagh diving ducks8. Northern mining bee ecology 9. Belfast tidal gauge9. Wild Margaritifera reproduction 10. Regenerating fen vegetation10. Brave New Ocean Symposium 11. Muntjac Knowledge Transfer11. Hen harrier satellite tracking pilot 12. Invasive cordgrass distribution12. Common lizard distribution and habitat 13. Mink predation and control13. Irish hare leaflet for farmers 14. European hare hybridisation 15. Hen harrier SPA mapping

21 Partnership

22 Management Quercus/NHRP NIEA

23 Building the Centre Research staff  Skilled researchers  Professional development 1.Dr. Jane Preston (Senior Ecologist) 2.Dr. Marc Ruddock (Hen harriers/wind farms) 3.Dr. Lynne Tinkler (Climate change) 4.Dr. Fiona Cooper (Juniper distribution) 5.Dr. Joanne Murdy (sea level change) 6.Dr. Katherine Webster (WMU hydromorphology) 7.Dr. Maria Hughes (Genetics) 8.Dr. Caroline Bradley (Plant genetics) 9.Tommy McDermott (WMU aquatic macroinvertebrates) 10.Gillian Robb (Hare survey/Spartina/Juniper) 11.Alan Harrison (Hare survey) 12.Iain Barrett (Hare survey)

24 Building the Centre PhD Students  Building research capacity  3 Quercus scholarships  4 NHRP scholarships  2 NHRP part-funded scholarships 1.Thomas Bodey (Rathlin corncrake recovery) 2.Emma Seale (Marsh fritillary ecology) 3.Conor Wilson (Margaritifera ex-situ cultivation) 4.Lorraine Chivers (Rathlin Seabirds) 5.Irena Tomankova (Lough Neagh diving ducks) 6.Ruth Kelly (Invasive freshwater plants) 7.Lyndsey Herron (Grazing on sand dunes) 8.Emily Davis (Northern mining bee ecology) 9.Kevin Gallagher (Hemimysis anomala invasion)

25 Building the Centre Academic associates >30 associated academics School of Biological Sciences School of Geography, Archaeology & Paleoecology Agri-food and land use

26 Building the Centre ToR, Procedures & Dissemination

27  Annual Public lectures - Prof. Graeme Hays, Swansea University - Oliver Rackham, University of Cambridge  Workshops & Conferences - Raptor Monitoring Workshop: Hen Harriers - Brave New Ocean Symposium, Jeremy Jackson, California - Margaritifera Conference (1 st October 2009) - Irish hare leaflet Building the Centre Dissemination

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32  20,678 pages visited - 92 countries - 42% of global visits are from the UK - 31% of UK visits are from Belfast Building the Centre Dissemination

33 Research reports Client reports (x15) 1.Reid, N., Ruddock, M., Barratt, I., Robb, G.N. & Montgomery, W.I. (2008) Northern Ireland Irish hare survey Report prepared by Quercus for the Environment and Heritage Service (DOE, N.I.). UK. 2.Cooper, F. & Reid, N. (2009) Conservation of Juniper-formations in Ireland. Interim report prepared by Quercus for the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Republic of Ireland. 3.Bradley, C., Preston, S.P., Provan, J. & Reid, N. (2009) Current status and conservation genetics of Alder buckthorn Frangula alnus in Northern Ireland. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 4.Bradley, C., Preston, S.P., Provan, J. & Reid, N. (2009) Current status and conservation genetics of the river water-crowfoot Ranunculus fluitans. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 5.Preston, J.S. & Reid, N. (2008) Efficacy of sod removal in regenerating fen vegetation. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 6.Dick, J.T.A, Provan, J. & Reid, N. (2009) Muntjac Knowledge Transfer: Ecology of introduced muntjac deer and appraisal of control procedures. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 7.Robb, G.N., McDermott, T. & Reid, N. (2008) Current distribution of Spartina anglica in Northern Ireland. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 8.Roy, S., Reid, N., McDonald, R.A. (2009) A review of mink predation and control in Ireland. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 40. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland. 9.Hughes, M., Reid, N., Montgomery, W.I. & Prodöhl, P. A. (2009) Verification of hybridisation between introduced European and native Irish hares. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. 10.Ruddock, M. (2009) Processing informal appeals to designations for Hen Harrier Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Internal report prepared by Quercus for the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Republic of Ireland. 11.Reid, N., Harrison, A.T. & Robb, G.N. (2008) Northern Ireland Irish hare survey Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Northern Ireland, UK. 12.Tinkler, E. & Reid, N. (2008) Identifying priority actions on climate change within the Natural Heritage Directorate. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Northern Ireland, UK. 13.Keeble, H., Williams, P., Biggs, J. & Reid, N. (2009) Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs) and other small waterbodies in Northern Ireland. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Northern Ireland, UK. 14.UWT, Meharg, M. & Reid, N. (2009) Irish hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus): Information and recommendations for farmers. Leaflet prepared for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Northern Ireland, UK. 15.Bodey, T. (2009) Impacts of predator manipulations on island predator and prey populations. Unpublished PhD thesis, Queen’s University Belfast. Prepared for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Northern Ireland, UK.

34 Research excellence Selected publications 1.Provan, J., Gemma, B.E., Andrea M., McDonald, R.A. McLaughlin, E., Preston, S.J., Wilson, S. (2008) Restricted gene flow in fragmented populations of a wind-pollinated tree. Conservation Genetics, 9(6); Beatty, G.E., McEvoy, P.M., Sweeney, O. & Provan, J. (2008) Range-edge effects promote clonal growth in peripheral populations of the one-sided wintergreen (Orthilia secunda). Diversity and Distributions 14, Provan, J., Wilson, S., Portig, A.A. & Maggs, C.A. (2008) The importance of reproductive strategies in population genetic approaches to conservation: an example from the marine angiosperm genus Zostera. Conservation Genetics 9, Reid N., McEvoy P.M. & Preston J.S. (2009) Efficacy of sod removal in regenerating fen vegetation for the conservation of the marsh fritillary butterfly Euphydryas aurinia, Montiaghs Moss Nature Reserve, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Conservation Evidence, 6; Bodey, T., McDonald, R.A. & Bearhop, S. (2009) Mesopredators constrain a top predator: competitive release of ravens after culling crows. Biology Letters, doi: /rsbl Wilson, C.D., Roberts, D., Preston, S.J. & Provan, J. (in press) Developing strategies for introductions of captive-bred Margaritifera margaritifera (L.) into the wild. Hydrobiologia.

35 Building the Centre Finance

36 Strategic development Threats Short horizon Recession Strategic Development Marine Economics Ecosystem functioning Opportunities Partnerships Science & Policy Team Dynamic staff Strengths Publications Successes High priority Weaknesses

37 from little acorns… … Natural Heritage Research Partnerships grow


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