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, GlasgowThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
2 OverviewThis 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 OverviewPossil 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 OverviewTo 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 DiversityDespite the urban location of the reserve it is home to 15 terrestrial mammal speciesThese 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 minkThe water vole was last seen in the reserve 10 years ago and may or may not still be presentRoe 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 speciesThe 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 europaeusThe Eurepean hare is larger, longer eared and longer legged that the rabbitThese adaptations suite its open country habitat and it breeds on the ground rather than in a burrow
8 Order ArtiodactylaDeer 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 species3 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 cristatusNone 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 reserveCommon frogs Rana tempraria(Photo by Eilidh Spence)
11 Bird DiversityApproximately 560 bird species have been recorded living or visiting BritainNearly 30%, 164 species, have been recorded at Possil Marsh reserveAn impressive number given the small size of the area (31.65 hectares) and urban nature of the reserves surroundingsThe reserve’s bird species can be grouped into various categories including: common resident urban birds, water birds and summer visitorsMute SwanGreat Tit
12 European Robin Erithacus rubecula Common Urban BirdsSome of the bird species found in the reserve are common resident birds found in may urban environments, such as gardens and parksThe following slides illustrate some of these common urban speciesYou are likely to see many of these species in any garden or park in the UKEuropean 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 disappearThe Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris is one such speciesBetween 1967 and 2007 the Starling breeding population in the UK declined by 73%Common Starling
19 WaterbirdsOther bird species found in Possil Marsh occur because of the aquatic habitats present in the reserveThis group of species is known as the waterbirds and includes swans, geese, ducks, grebes, gulls, waders and railsA selection of waterbirds that use the reserve are illustrated in the following slides
23 Dabbling Ducks Dabbling ducks are a group of surface feeding ducks The Mallard is one species of dabbling duckThe Wigeon Anas penelope illustrated to the right is another
24 Diving DucksAnother group of ducks are the diving ducks named for their habit of diving below the surface to find foodThe species illustrated here is the Common Pochard Aythya ferinaThe 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 RallidaeThe 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 divingThe 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 LaridaeAnother family of common waterbirds present at Possil Marsh are the gullsMore gulls are present in the reserve during winter and none breed regularly in the reserveVarious gulls resting on the lochHerring GullBlack-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 habitatsThe 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 necksThe 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 monthsMany of these migrate large distances from southern Europe or Africa to do soThe 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 WarblerDespite weighing in at only 15 g this tiny bird is another migrant that flies across the Sahara desert each year to reach BritainIt 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 reserveAlso a long distant trans-Saharan migrant this species prefers to nest in habitat with at least a few trees or taller bushes
33 Other biodiversityIn addition to mammals, amphibians and birds many other species have been recorded at Possil Marsh Nature ReserveThese include 336 vascular plant species plus many other lower plantsMany invertebrate species including 150 butterfly, 107 beetle and 124 Ichneumon wasp speciesLess diverse groups include 4 species of leachesThese buttercups are one of the many plant species that favour the marshy habitats of the reserve
34 AttributionThis 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 WhiteThe 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 projectFor more information and any feed back please contact UK Centre of Bioscience or Ross MacLeod