Unique species of 'invisible' microbeasts showcased
Thursday 17th March 2016
(Above) ‘Loxodes rostrum’ - a rare ciliated protozoon, with algae inside © Martin Kreutz
In partnership with Bournemouth University and the Freshwater Biological Association River Laboratory, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is holding an event on Wednesday 6th April at its East Stoke Fen nature reserve near Wool, to showcase the tiny but vital organisms that live in the wetland.
This wetland is home to a huge range of ‘microbeasts’, which are invisible to the naked eye, but are the basis of the food chain, providing food for the initial stages of fish and other aquatic life. 100 species of these microbeasts, most of which have not been recorded anywhere else in the UK, have been discovered at East Stoke Fen nature reserve.
These creatures are incredibly important
DWT Community Conservation Officer, Briony Baxter, said “We are thrilled to be working closely with Bournemouth University and the Freshwater Biological Association River Laboratory to share information about these amazing creatures with the general public visiting the nature reserve. As these creatures are ‘invisible’ it is easy to ignore them, but they are actually incredibly important and we’re delighted there are so many of them to learn about on this site.”
New signage on the DWT nature reserve
There will also a new information sign for visitors to the reserve, kindly funded by Bournemouth University, to raise awareness of the need for protection for these creatures in pond and fen management plans.
East Fen is a 'hot-spot of microbial biodiversity
Professor Genoveva Esteban from Bournemouth University, said, “East Stoke Fen is a hot-spot of microbial biodiversity. These small organisms constitute the foundations of food chains and are a sign of ecosystems’ health. Without them, higher trophic levels cannot develop and ecosystems cannot function. Fen ponds support a large biological diversity that makes them fundamental in safeguarding local and national biodiversity”.
Join us to find out more
Join the event at the Freshwater Biological Association River Laboratory at East Stoke, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6BB from 10am – 1pm on Wednesday 6th April. For more information about the event, contact DWT’s Briony Baxter on 01305 264620 or .
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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