Temporary pond fauna, New Forest
Pisces Conservation were requested to study the Gorley Common area in the New Forest, Hampshire. Hyde and Gorley Commons are situated on a plateau bordering the River Avon at the western edge of the New Forest. Both commons are frequently used by people on foot and by motor vehicles. Pisces were asked to carry out the following:
- Mapping of the aquatic habitats and analysis of water quality
- Base line study of the aquatic fauna
- Assessment of the present influence of man and how changes in management would alter the status quo
- Analysis of management methods to maintain temporary ponds and their biodiversity
- Consider conservation strategy and possible constructive conservation initiatives
The area's main interest is that it holds two of Britain's rarest crustaceans, the fairy shrimp, Cheirocephalus diaphanus, and triops, Triops cancriformis. Both of these remarkable crustaceans live in temporary pools and have particular ecological requirements, which must accounted for if a future reserve were to hold both species.
Perhaps the most interesting management feature was the fact that the fairy shrimp was most abundant in a rough parking area where it was living in pools formed by tyre ruts. General good house-keeping would suggest that such parking should be stopped. However, if this were to happen how would the necessary disturbance occur to create the pools?
PISCES staff have particular expertise in the ecology of temporary pools and one of their most important animal groups: the ostracoda.