During the Dyfi Biosphere Research Forum, Alma Blonda from Bari Italy and Richard Lucas IGES gave a joint presentation on the BIO-SOS project, which focuses on developing satellite and airborne-based techniques for monitoring Cors Fochno, the only NATURA 2000 site within the Dyfi Biosphere. Details of the mapping and monitoring methodologies were explained and the benefits of the project were also outlined. By presenting at this meeting, scientists involved in the Dyfi Biosphere were able to be collectively informed of both the BIO-SOS and the JISC IGIBS projects.
Last Wednesday (18th May) I attended a meeting of the Dyfi Biosphere Research Forum at Aberystwyth University. Chaired by Mike Woods of the Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences, the meeting showcased a selection of the wide range of different research activities that have taken place (or are underway) in the Dyfi Biosphere area.
- Chris Lea (Welsh Assembly Government) gave the keynote stressing WAGs support for R&D in the area, particularly as it relates to the work of the Sustainability and Environmental Evidence Division
- Palma Blonda (CNR, Italy) and Richard Lucas (Aberystwyth University) gave an overview of the EU funded BIOdiversity multi-source monitoring system: from Space TO Species (BIO-SOS) project
- Mike Bailey (CCW): dipped into what is obviously a deep mine of personal knowledge of the area and presented on recent research in the core conservation zone of the Dyfi Biosphere
- Mike Hambrey (Aberystwyth University): gave a fascinating presentation on the last glaciation in Wales with a focus on the Dyfi catchment
- Paul Brewer (Aberystwyth University) outlined some surprising results in a presentation entitled “Altered morphodynamics in the tidally-influenced lower Dyfi: re-thinking catchment management, flood risk & material fluxes”
- Yours truly (Chris Higgins) presented on IGIBS (IGIBS_BDB_Research_Forum_May11) emphaising that the project needs input, eg, via the questionairre from this group if it is to benefit Dyfi related R&D and bring further resources into the area
- Mike Christie (Aberystwyth University) gave a very erudite presentation on a hot subject that I think we will be hearing a lot more about: Valuing ecosystem services
- Ambra Burls (Independent researcher) and her guest Zena Willmot from Coed Lleol talked about very pertinent related work – Environment and health
- Man (apologies, didnt catch the name and not on the programme) from Centre for Alternative Technology talked about the groundbreaking work CAT is doing in relation to “Building adaptation for climate change”
- Finally, Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University) spoke on “The Dyfi biosphere in context: research from the Wales Rural Observatory.” Again, very apposite, some very surprising insights and all the more interesting as coming at the question of Biosphere related research from a different angle
We had 20-30 minute at the end for a brief plenary discussion. Lots of good ideas here but no time to go into any of them in any real depth. At the risk of pre-empting the minutes, IMHO, a couple of themes started to emerge:
- Need to broaden the scope of the Research Forum to include greater representation from the social sciences
- Must bear in mind the need to engage with the wider community
- Terms of reference need nailed down
- Lack of resourcing a problem
Of course, the IGIBS project has some resources (at least up until November 2011) and, as project manager, I volunteered that the project team would do what we can to help as long as it aligns with the project objectives.
The one thing we can help with is laying firm foundations for getting the most out of online Geographic Information and managing Dyfi Biosphere research related data. Our hope is that the work we do in this short project helps you and others like you inititiate and execute future projects in the area. To lay this foundation well, we need input from stakeholders in the Dyfi Biosphere and from the research forum in particular. Please fill in the questionnaire, even if its only a partial response.
Today I met with Jonathan Brownett an MSc student studying at IGES who is hoping to complete a thesis which will investigate land cover change over the Dyfi catchment area using remote sensing. He will use this method to determine the effects of land cover change on the hydrology of the area.
He would find this project very useful in compiling his thesis and already from the list we have compiled he has highlighted a number of data sets that he would like to have access to, to help him complete his thesis. So far there are at least 10 data sets that we have collated that will be useful to him.
After this I made a trip to Ynyslas where the Dyfi Reserve Manager Mike Bailey from CCW was able to locate a number of useful vegetation data sets initially taken from quadrats within the Cors Fochno bog area of the Dyfi Biosphere. This data will be of use to Professor Richard Lucas, academic from IGES and Alisdair Cuningham, PhD student who will be able to use this data for the BIOSOS project which they are working on.
I also received a list of IGES undergraduate proposed thesis titles and so far none of these are focusing on the Dyfi Biosphere. The Dyfi Biosphere is an area which could prove to be a huge resource to such students in terms of research already carried out in this area and the boundless possibilities it poses for more research. The proposed tool/mapping application could be used as a valuable tool for educating these students allowing them to discover the resources it holds.
In the last couple of days I have met with a number of people who have previously or are currently working on projects within the Dyfi Biosphere. I have asked what data sets they have available and what their requirements of this tool would be.
I have met with Anthony Smith, the map curator in IGES. He agrees that the IGIBS data and tool would be very useful for both students and staff. The data acquired would also add to and help to update the map library. It also seems that many data sets relating to maps within the library are actually held among various researchers within the department. This currently makes it difficult for anyone to locate data sets relating to catalogued maps. The use of Geodoc for metadata recording and management might improve this situation but ultimately the Dyfi Biosphere and IGIBS mapping application would make all the information available in one site.
Alisdair Cunningham is a PhD student and is studying and developing methods for detecting habitat and land-use change in Wales using remote sensing. He will be concentrating his research on the Dyfi Biosphere area. He has many data sets available for the use of this project which have now been collated and stored safely along with other lists of data we are accumulating. Alisdair has said the proposed IGIBS tool and mapping application would be very useful for his research as it would draw together data sets compiled by other researchers. It could also act as a place to store his data sets so that they are easy to access, view, and compare. He would particularly like to use the LiDAR data from the Dyfi Biosphere.
In the process of collating the data sets for this project we have acquired LiDAR data of the area from a Dr. Angela Harris who is a lecturer at Manchester University and has been researching the use of remote sensing in monitoring northern peatland hydrology. She has also provided hyperspectral data and aerial photographs which will be very useful for Professor Richard Lucas who is working on a BIOSOS project in the Dyfi Bioshere and again for Alisdair Cunningham’s PhD research.
Already this project is linking people and their data sets with each other and should eventually prove to be a valuable and expanding resource to all researching and learning about the Dyfi Biosphere.
Meeting with Mike Bailey (Senior Reserve Manager for the Dyfi National Nature Reserve) of the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) to discuss the sampling of habitats across Borth Bog from the 26th April (for three days). Three areas were considered for sampling to support the BIO-SOS project. Datasets linked to Borth Bog were discussed and Mike will complete a data table with Becky.