This monthly newsletter provides an update on some of the work of the National Biodiversity Data Centre and highlights upcoming events.
Culture Night: A Young Naturalist's Field Guide to Invasive Species at the Dead Zoo
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is teaming up with the Natural History Museum for Culture Night this year. Drop into the Dead Zoo on Culture Night, Friday 22nd September and learn about invasive species in Ireland and how you can help protect Ireland’s biodiversity. Follow a short self-guide trail to explore the invasive species on display at the Museum. Museum educators and special guest from the National Biodiversity Data Centre will be on hand to answer all your questions!
Title: Culture Night: A Young Naturalists Field Guide to Invasive Species at the Dead Zoo Date: Friday 22nd September Time: 6pm – 8pm. Audience: Families 7+
New short guide on protecting nocturnal pollinators
We are delighted to release a new free resource on how to help protect nocturnal pollinators. It was developed in collaboration with the Mayo Dark Sky Park and MothsIreland.
Many of our pollinators are busy at work during the night, whilst we are sleeping. Moths and other nocturnal invertebrates carry out essential functions in our ecosystem and are as important as their daytime counterparts. On the island of Ireland, light pollution has increased significantly over the last 25 years, leaving a brighter-than-natural nocturnal environment across most of the landscape. This places stresses on our nocturnal pollinators and other wildlife. This new guide explains ten actions we can all take to help.
Irish research finds 'areas managed for wildlife' are best for pollinators in urban parks
This research was conducted as part of an undergraduate project by Roisin Gowen at Trinity College Dublin, who assessed different park management strategies and how they impacted plant and pollinator diversity, and urban park users’ relationships with green spaces and biodiversity. It was supported by Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council.
The research focus was inspired by the second objective of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, which focuses on “making public land pollinator friendly”. It sought to support this objective by determining which park management strategy is most effective in promoting plant and pollinator biodiversity. It compared amenity grassland, formal planting and areas managed for wildlife across parks in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown.
The study found that areas managed for wildlife had the highest pollinator and plant species richness and abundance. Reducing management intensity not only reduces costs and saves time, but is also the best way to promote floral and pollinator diversity in urban parks.
Fantastic initiative happening in Cork - Blarney Street Pollinator Path
Since the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan launched in 2015, many incredible initiatives have taken place in local communities in support of pollinators. One of the most recent inspiring projects is from Cork City. Molly Garvey, of the Blarney Street Pollinator Path group, explains how one street has come together to help pollinators by asking neighbours to simply pick a place, mow less, and spray less.
100,000th Record Through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal in 2023
Throughout 2023 there has been a great level of recording activity across a wide range of various taxonomic groups. During July we passed a major annual milestone of 100,000th records being submitted through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal.
Even though this has become an annual recording milestone, it’s worth pointing out the huge amount of effort, time and expertise that is given freely by our recording network. With records submitted across 5,000 different taxa, we are hugely appreciative of this deep level of knowledge being submitted through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal. As always, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our citizen science recorder network for submitting their records this year.
Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal is available to be used by anyone; if you see a species of note and are sure of its identification, please submit the details to https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/ so that the observation can be added to our national biodiversity database. This will allow us to continue to build the knowledge base on what species we have in Ireland and help us to better understand how they are distributed. The 100,000th record this year was of Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) or Aimiréal Dearg as Gaeilge and was from Portadown, Co. Armagh. The record for Red Admiral was submitted through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal on the 13/07/2023 by Peadar Guy.
Festival of Farmland Biodiversity - farm biodiversity survey results.
There was good engagement with this year’s ‘Festival of Farmland Biodiversity’, hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. This year the prize of a farm biodiversity survey by its staff to a farmer who shared content using the hashtag #FarmlandBiodiversity was won by Ciaran Sheelan, @c_sheepdog, a hill farmer on Carlingford Mountain on the Cooley Peninsula, Co. Louth.
The mountain is grazed as commonage and is within the ‘Carlingford Mountain’ Special Area of Conservation (SAC), that comprises of Wet Heath, Dry Heath, Alpine and Boreal Heaths, Species-rich Nardus grasslands, Blanket Bog, Transition Mires, Alkaline Fens, Siliceous Screes and Siliceous Rocky Slopes.
The farm consists of 180 ha of commonage and 10 ha of enclosed land. They keep a flock of 100 Hill North Country Cheviot ewes and are in the National Parks and Wildlife Service Farm Plan Scheme, with an agreed plan to control bracken.
We were delighted that Ciaran joined us for the survey, that identified 223 different species, with plants comprising the largest number of species, followed by moths, birds, bees, hoverflies and butterflies. We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of species found during such a brief survey of the mountain.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre would like to thank Ciaran for allowing us to survey the hill farm and we hope that these results provide inspiration to him and other farms to make their farms more biodiversity friendly.
Kim and Mireille McCall manage an eighty-four-hectare farm that is a haven for biodiversity. They breed beautiful Aubrac cows and keep breeding ewes. They have 75ha of permanent pasture rich in floral diversity and 10ha in forestry. They manage all aspects of the farm and provide food, safety and shelter to a diverse range of different species. The hedgerows act as corridors throughout the farm for bats, bees, beetles, birds, and butterflies. They have several ponds and a great diversity of dragonflies and damselflies. Kim and Mireille have been engaging with the National Biodiversity Data Centre for several years and regularly submit data from their farm. They have been very generous in providing advice from the farmers perspective to all our ongoing schemes and work programs. Fifteen different species of bee and thirty-two different species of hoverfly were recorded on the McCalls farm during the 2020 farm surveys.