Each year, money received from commercial enquiries is made available to support projects that result in more records for the NBIS database. The money is allocated via the NBIS Recording Project Fund. In the past this fund has been used to support projects ranging from training for SeaSearch volunteers to invertebrate sampling in Thetford Forest, from a geodiversity publication to purchasing equipment for the Norfolk Bat Survey.
The Recording Project Fund application form is currently under review and will be updated. In the meantime, to apply for the fund please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributing to the print run of 250 A5 East Coast seaweed pressings books
To help SeaSearch East volunteers and interested members of the public to identify seaweeds found on our local coast and gain an appreciation of the diversity present.
Workshop for identification of marine sponges
Funding a two day, non-residential, tutor-led workshop for the identification of marine sponges including field work along the north Norfolk coast.
Six students took part in the workshop, learning through lectures and practical sessions. The course left the whole group "much more confident about using spicule preparation to identify local species at home". it is hoped that the coursse will result in at least double the number of sponge species recorded for Norfolk by SeaSearch East. One new Hymedesmia species was discovered during the course.
Determining the effect of pond terrestrialisation on pollinators
Little is known about how pond management (e.g. terrestrialisation or marginal vegetation clearance) might affect pollinator communities. As part of a UCL PhD, the student will sample pollinating insect groups and their activity around the margins of 8 open canopy and 8 overgrown ponds. The resultsing data will be fed into NBIS and will also inform UK pond conservation strategies.
Update from one of last years' projects...
NBIS provided funding to purchase refugia for a grass snake monitoring project at Cranwich. Project manager Dave Leech reports that "preliminary results have been very interesting and are starting to garner quite a lot of interest amongst the national herpetological recording community."
Several notable results arising from the pilot year were:
- The densities of snakes on site are much higher than previously published estimates.
- There is a very strong seasonal pattern in abundance, with numbers increasing slowly through spring, building to a peak in early August and then declining subsequently.
Experts think the Cranwich project could usefully inform the upcoming review of the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS). The survey will be repeated this year and Dave is in discussions about a possible PhD project around demographic monitoring of the Cranwich population which would also include work on the toads there.
Myotis Bat Surveying - Woodland Myotis Study Group
The current distribution of Myotis brandtii (Brandts bat) and Myotis mystacinus (Whiskered bat) in Norfolk is very poorly defined. Although Myotis species can be recorded by automated detectors, identifying each species from their call proves problematic – particularly for M. brandtii and M. mystacinus. In-hand analysis is currently believed to be the only accurate means of separating the species.
The recording fund application was made for the purchase of mist nets to make this possible. The survey focussed primarily on sites with a combination of high quality woodland and water. The project aimed to:
- Locate and confirm, with morphological evidence, occurrences of M. brandtii and M. mystacinus in Norfolk.
- Investigate the potential for rare species occurrence within optimum Norfolk habitats e.g. Myotis alcathoe.
- Record the calls of Myotis species on release for use as call reference samples.
It is hoped that the project can go on to help with the county-wide Norfolk Bat Survey, run by Stuart Newson (BTO) by providing follow-up netting/trapping surveys at sites where automated recording has suggested M. brandtii and M. mystacinus is present.
Grass Snake Survey
The grass snake is a Species of Principle Importance under Section 41 of the NERC Act (formerly a Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species).
This project was a pilot survey conducted at Watermill Broad County Wildlife Site using refugia, initially to look at abundance, population estimates and movement/ survival rates of grass snakes. The primary output from the pilot study would be an assessment of temporal and spatial variation in the use of refugia, which will inform design of future survey protocols.
In the future, faecal samples will be collected to determine diet, and the common toad population will be monitored in parallel to determine food availability. it is hoped that the project will become a long term study of the species on the site.