Aquatic invertebrate pond surveys starting soon

Ponds are very special and important habitats. As real biodiversity hotspots they attract many different species for water, food and shelter. Research has shown that of all our freshwater habitats ponds are home to the highest number of aquatic plants and invertebrates.

This is one of the reasons why we monitor of our ponds on the Purbeck Heaths and surrounding areas. Information about the plant and animal species living in and around the pond, as well as its environmental parameters and dynamics tell us a lot about their condition. Research tells us that ponds in the UK are home to more than over 400 macro-invertebrates alone! Besides that this is already incredible, many of these invertebrates tell us also a lot about the quality of the pond.

This year 2024 the primary focus of the Aquatic Invertebrate monitoring group will be on a number of ponds on Stoborough Heath (RSPB) and Creech Heath (ARC). In addition we also hope to incorporate a few ponds from Studland Heath, Sandford Heath and Morden Bog. Most of the pond selected are also surveyed for Odonata species by the Dragonfly group on Wednesdays and Sundays.

During the months June to September our focus will be on sampling the ponds. This means that we use a set methodology to catch a representative sample of of invertebrates from each pond. Besides collecting invertebrate samples, we also measure some environmental parameters (pond size, vegetation, grazing pressure) as well as different water parameters (e.g. pH, conductivity, Nitrate and Phosphate). From October until February we will focus on analysing all the pond samples. This means that we will have a number of indoor sessions working on the identification of all the aquatic invertebrates we have caught.

A first ‘refresher’ pond sampling session is currently planned for Thursday the 20th of June. This session is to refresh the knowledge of everyone who join the pond sampling last year, but will also be a good introduction for those who want to join this group in 2024. If you are interested to join, please register your interest here.

The Purbeck Natural History Forum works with a group of partners