This gives a great update on some of our progress to date. We had a great project meeting in the Lakes at the end of January revealing some interesting insights already...
Birds (Andy Webb, JNCC): the two main species were gannets & storm petrels (see earlier posts for photos): the gannets showing particularly interesting behaviour, diving at the location of the large internal waves at the bank edge at the first spring tide, but generally found in larger numbers at neap tides than spring tides.
Photos credited to Jim Roberts (MRAG)
The benthos critters (Nicholas Owen, Trinity College Dublin) also showed a distinct on-off bank change in species. With higher abundance and diversity of bivalves on the bank, and lowest on the bank slope.
These differences between bank & off-bank are likely, at least in part, to be related to the exciting dye tracking results (Mark Inall, SAMS) that showed that any new nutrients or productivity over the bank is likely to be dispersed to the south-east over our off-bank flat site.
Lower down the food chain (a whole host of researchers!), the results were less clear, the strongest influence over changes in nutrients, productivity & phytoplankton was due to the first spring tide or perhaps the associated stormy weather, both helping to thoroughly mix the water column.
How these all link together is the story we're still working on piecing together as the analysis continues...