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Frome Swan Project

There is a 3-year PhD project investigating swan grazing in chalk stream catchments. Fieldwork started in January 2009 and has been ongoing ever since, and will carry on until September 2011.

The key aim of the project is to build and develop a computer model of the swans feeding in the catchment. This will allow the CEH to predict how the distribution of swans along the river will change in response to changes to the swan population, amounts of food (i.e. Ranunculus and pasture grass) available, and changes to physical habitat. They are also looking at the impacts of swan grazing, swan population dynamics, habitat use, behaviour, as well as plant nutritional quality and the patterns of growth and recession of Ranunculus and other macrophytes.

The association is particularly interested in the impacts of grazing, and by the end of the project (late 2011) they should be able to say what the impacts of swan grazing (both at reach- and catchment-scale) are on macrophyte cover, biomass assemblage diversity, and flowering, invertebrate densities and diversity, and densities of three fish species (salmon, trout and pike). The plant and nvertebrate monitoring is underway at 20 sites along the Frome, whilst the fish monitoring is a collaboration with the GWCT.

For more details please email: Kevin Wood