Back in our December blog we discussed our plans for launching a new biodiversity surveying project for the Spring. Well, now that Spring’s upon us we have some reporting to do!
Our 5 Transition biodiversity interns have been working hard surveying multiple locations around the University grounds, trialing new Biodiversity Indexing methods for recording habitat diversity. Their reports have been coming in this week with some real gems of insight about the local wildlife that surrounds us right here in St Andrews!
How do the surveys work?
The Biodiversity Index is a relatively new surveying method developed in by the University of Northampton. Intended for non-specialists, the Biodiversity Index provides a simple and straightforward way to measure the diversity if urban and semi-urban areas.
By focusing on habitat structures, areas sizes and leaf counts, the survey establishes a benchmark indexing ‘score’ for target areas. “The score is a snapshot of the natural environment at a specific location (and a specific point in time) and can be used as a benchmark to monitor and manage biodiversity improvement” (biodiversityindex.org).
Most recommendations for improving biodiversity are common-sense solutions to boosting habitat diversity. For example, recommendations from our several of our surveys include:
- provide bird and bat boxes to encourage roosting, hibernating and breeding
- when replanting, use native species if possible
- link hedgerows to create corridors for small mammals, birds and other animals to travel between
- reducing or eliminate mowing schemes where possible
We’ve found a high level of diversity in areas not usually associated with wild beasts & critters – St Mary’s Quad for example contains a relatively high level of habitat diversity despite being located in the centre of town! Check out the report for yourself here.
One of the best places for observing local biodiversity is at the pond and grassy area to the West of Andrew Melville Hall. A hidden hotspot for wildlife, and especially water fowl, located at the end of town, our volunteers discovered a host of interesting species including the hard-to-miss moorhen with red colouring on its beak and forehead.
If you have a chance why not do some biodiversity investigation yourself? If you find any interesting species, or take some great photos we’d love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com to get in touch.
For further resources about biodiversity at the University of St Andrews please visit our biodiversity webpages.