Five years ago this month, on an otherwise mundane day in the ecology lab at the University of Bristol identifying money spiders, smaller ground beetles and other invertebrates, I was informed by two undergraduates that they had found three “fat” black beetles in their pitfall traps in Bristol. Several species came to mind, including churchyard beetles, bloody-nosed beetles and some of the larger ground beetles such as the violet ground beetle.
I have been checking bat boxes at work and outside of work most years since 1992. I have found many bats in that time, but many other species inhabiting the boxes have come to my attention, including other protected species.
The best find…
Over the last few years our ecologists and countryside management team have noticed an increase in this striking spider while on site visits.
Butterfly Conservation have recently published a report on their work with landscape conservation for butterflies and moths. The report includes 12 case studies providing evidence that landscape conservation targeting single species can benefit not only the target species, but other species utilising similar habitats as well.
Ecological surveys can often require specialist knowledge, however when it comes to invertebrate surveys there is often so much to consider. Rare invertebrates are not restricted to nature reserves and they frequently crop up during ecological surveys on all kinds of sites. With a growing number of species added to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, UK Biodiversity Action Plans and Red Data Books, and with authorities beginning to realise the importance of invertebrate site assessments, you need to ensure that you can deal with the growing demand for them.
Ecosulis entered a staged tender process and was appointed through the Framework for CSM SSSI Invertebrate Assemblage Assessments by Natural England to undertake condition assessment for invertebrate assemblages as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) features across 27 SSSIs around the UK. The contract commenced in April 2012 and is currently ongoing.
Ecosulis has completed surveys on behalf of Natural England on SSSI's across the country, having undertaken surveys on 27 SSSI's, predominatly in the south of England, but also in the north-east and north-west. We are currently undertaking identification of species recorded and preparing reports.
The Scottish government is currently on target to meet their goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables by 2020.