Talk at the London Freshwater Group March 18th 2016

Please follow the link below for more details about the London Freshwater Group meeting, March 18th 2016. A programme packed with fab freshwater talks, including one about Lake BESS by Ambroise Baker.

LFG Spring Meeting Programme

And a link to the Group’s website.

Workshop in the Broads

Lake BESS research on the importance of water connectivity for healthy shallow lakes in the Upper Lough Erne, Northern Ireland and in the Broads, England, was presented to the Broads stakeholders yesterday. The event hosted by the Broads Authority.

This was an opportunity to discuss how our research will be translated into actions in the Broads where multiple major restoration projects are happening.

Carl Sayer gave an inspirational talk comparing the lake ecology and aquatic vegetation of the Upper Lough Erne region and The Broads.

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Lake Connectivity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Workshop in the Broads

We are inviting any interested Broads stakeholder to take part to our workshop on Lake Connectivity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Broads, England.

  • Thursday January 7th 2016 at the Broads Authority head quarters, from 11:30.

At this occasion, we would like to share the findings of our Lake BESS research project and we will have a special focus on the Broads. We are keen to share our work with local stakeholders working on and around lakes in the area so our research can be useful to anyone concerned.

Please get in touch for further details and to register – go to the bottom of this page and send us a message or ambroise.baker [at] ucl.ac.uk

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Aerial phtograph of Oulton broad by Mike Page http://mike-page.co.uk/

Workshop and Seminar about Upper Lough Erne’s satellite lakes

Following the previous post, this is just to let you know that our trip to Northern Ireland was very successful. It gave us a chance to discuss our research results with many partners, stakeholders and members of the public. The interest we met makes us hope that our research will find direct applications on the ground.

We would like to thank the many people who made this trip possible at the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Waterways Ireland, the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency and Queen’s University Belfast.

Workshop Announcement: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Upper Lough Erne’s satellite lakes

We are organising two events in Northern Ireland to share our results with local stakeholders.

  • A workshop Tuesday November 24th 2015, from 6:45pm at Waterway Ireland HQ,  Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
  • A lunch time seminar Wednesday November 25th 2015, 12.30 – 13.30, NIEA HQ,  Belfast.

For both events there will be a presentation of our results and plenty of time for Q&As and discussion.

We would like to share our research findings with local stakeholders working on and around Upper Lough Erne’s satellite lakes so our research can be useful to those most concerned.

Please let us know if you would like to come by email: ambroise.baker [ at] ucl.ac.uk or with a message at the bottom of this page; and do not hesitate to forward this invitation to anyone you think could be interested.

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Lake BESS preliminary results presented in Liverpool

Here is a short summary of the talk we gave yesterday, at the Aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems conference held at the University of Liverpool, where we asked the question: Does connectivity between lakes enhance biodiversity resilience to eutrophication in the Upper Lough Erne area and in The Broads? A talk based on the same research was delivered in Baltimore, USA for the 100th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America – see this post.

methods in the fieldOur data was a compilation of lake surveys in both lake districts and for two time periods: the 1980 and recent time (thanks you to all our partners who were willing to share their data, by the way!). Each lake survey comprises of:

  • Extensive botanical work, recording aquatic plants from the open water and the marginal zone, and
  • Collecting water samples that are later analysed in the lab for phytoplankton abundance, concentration of nutrients such as phosphorus and water chemistry in general.

Our data shows that nutrient pollution drives ecosystem functioning in both regions and during both time periods. This reminds us on the importance of good policies to protect freshwaters while maintaining thriving agriculture.

phtoplanktonThe situation with biodiversity is a bit different as it appears to be influenced both by the local conditions (lake size and shape, nutrients status) and landscape-wide connectivity. One main difference between the Upper Lough Erne lakes and the Broads is that flood connectivity in the Upper lough Erne is a major factor structuring in the aquatic plant communities there. Does this induce greater resilience? remains a pending question we are working on.

All these results are being written up into a scientific article, so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss or report them!

Workshop on Biodiveristy and Ecosystem Services Resilience

The BESS resilience workshop on June 18th and 19th was a great success with over twenty attendees, mostly BESS researchers but also JNCC and Welsh government representatives.

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We also had two special guests, Volker Grimm and Hanna Weise from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, who presented fascinating background information about ecosystem resilience. Volker was a pioneer in trying to understand how the notion of resilience can be applied in ecology and his 1997 seminal paper is worthwhile a read.

The first day’s discussions were focussed on defining resilience, while in the second day we explored the multiple ways that can be used to measure ecosystem resilience.

It was very enlightening to hear different researchers from different BESS projects explain how ecosystem resilience was relevant to their work. The diversity of opinion was absolutely overwhelming! To such an extent that after two days of lively discussion it became very difficult to produce a short summary or a take-home message.

There was however two important points most attendees agreed upon:

  • Resilience is a useful notion for their work
  • It will be worth pursuing our quest to understand ecosystem resilience after the meeting – and we are already getting organise to do so.

Lake BESS to present results: 100th Ecological Society of America annual meeting, Baltimore, USA

Lake BESS is looking forward to going to the 100th Ecological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting in Baltimore! We have a talk scheduled Friday August 14th 2015 during the session “COS 142: Habitat Structure, Fragmentation, Connectivity”.logo

This is a very exciting opportunity to present our work asking the question: Does connectivity increase resilience of biodiversity against eutrophication in networks of shallow lakes? Our talk will be the only one focusing on freshwater in an collection of oral papers otherwise dedicated to ecological connectivity.

We will be using aquatic plant surveys conducted between 1983 and 2014 in our two study areas: The Broads, England, UK, and the Upper Lough Erne area, Northern Ireland, UK, and we will identify the relative importance of:

  • connectivity between lakes,
  • local water chemistry
  • lake morphology
  • and other factors

to explain the aquatic vegetation patters in the two lake districts during two time periods.

The comprehensive programme of the conference is available here online program and our abstract can be read there.

Understanding resilience, thresholds and tipping points: BESS Workshop, June 18-19, London

In a collaboration with Adrian Newton’s team in Bournemouth (BESS project on “Dynamics and Thresholds of Ecosystem Services in Wooded Landscapes”), Lake BESS is co-organising a BESS-funded workshop on resilience to take place June 18-19 in London.

There is more information about the workshop and how BESS people can take part here.

This will be a unique occasion to develop ideas around resilience, biodiversity and ecosystem services and a good chance to network with like-minded people who think resilience is an important notion to better communicate our science.

Sampling dormant bryozoan from lake mud! – a field trip around the Broads 12th-15th March 2015

The Lake BESS team has just spent four full days on the water to collect bryozoans statoblasts from 14 different Norfolk broads. You will find more information about our work on bryozoans in this previous post.

The aim of this sampling is to gather evidence regarding how connectivity between lakes influences the movement of aquatic biodiversity, in particular bryozoan population genetics.

We were extremely privileged to be shown around by Geoff Philips, who greatly facilitated this field work with his knowledge of the area and of the people managing The Broads – at the Broads Authority, the Norfolk Wildlife trust, etc.

Last summer, we collected similar samples from the Upper Lough Erne region, Northern Ireland. With this trip in the Broads we completed the sampling of bryozoans for our project. We used an Ekman grab from our boat to retrieve lake surface sediment, i.e. oozy mud.

We collected bags and bags of oozy mud, from which we are isolating the tiny bryozoans statoblast (less a 1 mm!), from which DNA will be extracted.

But collecting the mud is only the first step of the sampling. Back on the shore, our bryozoans expert Beth screened the sediments through a microscope to pick out individuals statoblasts (the dormant phase of bryozoans measuring less than 1 mm in diameter). These individual statoblasts are going to be sent off for their DNA to be extracted.

We are expecting to find out that isolated broads have bryozoans population with more distinct genetics than those from broads connected to the river systems. But we are really not sure how the gene flow within the Broads will compare with that experienced within the Upper Lough Erne region, so we are looking forward to get our results – and we are hope to be surprised!

Many thanks for the many people who helped making this sampling possible!