First Annual Biology-Geography Research Forum

This September saw the first annual joint research forum between the Biology and Geography Departments. Aimed at showcasing postgraduate research, the afternoon saw 12 oral presentations from current PhD and Master’s by Research students as well as posters from the Biology department summer internship students. Research presented ranged from detecting the geological signs of past […]

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – All Good Things Come to an End

All good things come to an end as they say, well almost. Although my official volunteer placement at the Ainsdale NNR is ending, I will still be a regular at the Natural England site office.  I will not only be completing my dissertation on the reserve but helping out by carrying on some of the … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – All Good Things Come to an End

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Flagship Species Part 4

In this final part of our flagship species series, we focus on the Natterjack Toad Epidalea calamita, an endangered species with 40% of the UK population found here at the Sefton Coast. To learn more about this fascinating species and the conservation actions employed to protect it, just click on the link below to view … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Flagship Species Part 4

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – The England Coastal Path

The Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) came into force in 2009 and was intended to provide an improved system of management and protection for the marine and coast environment of England and Wales1. One of the provisions of the MCAA was the creation of a continuous, well signed, and managed coastal path around the … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – The England Coastal Path

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – All of a Flutter

As the regular person who carries out the weekly butterfly transect at the reserve was on leave, I volunteered to undertake the survey for this week. The weekly survey started at the beginning of April.  According to Butterfly Conservation guidance1, transects should generally be walked between 10.45am and 15.45pm and only when weather conditions are … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – All of a Flutter

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Recreational Pressures

I couldn’t go through my placement without discussing tourism and its potential positive and negative effects on conservation at the Ainsdale NNR and the wider Sefton Coast SAC. The Sefton Coast attracts 4.5 million visits a year, generating some £63 million towards the economy with approximately 55,000 of those visits to Ainsdale NNR1.  According to … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Recreational Pressures

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Flagship Species Part 3

In part three of our flagship species series we focus on the Vernal Mining Bee Colletes cunicularius, a rare solitary bee in Britain.  It is the largest of the nine British species that make up the genus and the only Colletes to fly in spring rather than summer/autumn.  Confined primarily to mature sand dune systems, … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Flagship Species Part 3

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Five Minute Beachcomb

It’s amazing what you can find on the beach at the Ainsdale NNR.  One lunchtime during my placement, I did a five minute beachcomb of the strandline after recent stormy weather and came up with the selection in the photo below. What can you identify?  

Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Living Lawnmowers

In what seems like a never-ending battle with scrub encroachment, besides the gallant efforts of the scrub bashing volunteers, the reserve managers at Ainsdale NNR have another conservation tool in their belt to help maintain the open dune habitat that so many specialist flora and fauna rely on. The reserve owns a flock of Icelandic … Continue reading Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR – Living Lawnmowers