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Category: Reports

Ecological Assessment Using DNA

eDNA (environmental DNA) survey is a technique where water samples, typically from ponds or streams, are taken and then analysed to identify if there is any environmental DNA from animals which are present. Historically, the use of this technique has been more focused on identification of the protected Great Crested Newt within ponds, but recent advancements in the analysis phase mean this can now be extended to look for a wider range of species.

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Invasive species 

Non-native species are those that have been introduced to our country, whether deliberately or accidentally, by human action. You may have heard about the more common terrestrial species such as the ominous Japanese Knotweed or the health and safety hazard that is Giant Hogweed, but there are also lesser-known plants such as Cotoneaster and Rhododendron present in the Teesside area to be aware of.

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Tees Seals Project 

This was a record year for the seal colony at Teesmouth. Not only was there a big jump in number of pups recorded (up to 36 from last year’s record of 26) but the peak numbers of both Harbour Seals and Grey Seals were the highest ever recorded.  This was the first year when the combined number of seals of both species that were hauled out at one time exceeded 200 and that happened not once but five times.  When it is considered that it is estimated that only about three quarters of the seals present are out of the water then the number of seals in the Estuary is likely to be over 250, at least on some occasions. 

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Moths and their use as sensitive environmental indicators

Moths are a diverse group of organisms, with 2600 species occurring in the UK. Of these around 50% of the national total are to be found in our region. This wide range of species has a vast range of different ecological requirements, largely determined by their preference for particular larval (caterpillar) foodplants. Some species are also highly sensitive to erratic fluctuations in weather, while others adapt more readily. Moths are therefore an excellent and sensitive indicator, both of environmental quality and change, and over time, of climatic change.

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