Wetland Biodiversity Monitoring in Västankvarn
Monitoring aquatic bodies such as the wetlands is crucial to ensure its effective role in the environment. As part of our internship in Tulevaisuuden maanviljelijät, Anna and I were tasked to conduct water quality analysis and biodiversity monitoring in two wetlands in Västankvarn, Ingå. Aside from water quality, biodiversity can be an important indicator to understand how wetlands serve as habitats for different organisms.
To monitor biodiversity, we focused on the following: invertebrates, vegetation and water fowls. There are different ways to observe the species in the wetlands, but our methods were based on previous studies that were modified to accommodate our limitations on time.
Catching invertebrates for monitoring involves creating insect traps made from glass jars with funnels, attached on wooden sticks. We set five insect traps for each wetland, spread randomly between 0.25-0.75m water depth for 48 hours. After collecting, we sieved them and identified the collected organisms.
For vegetation, we used a 0.25 square meter measuring tool (0.5mx 0.5m) to sample above ground vegetation. Sampling was done during the months of June and July. A total of 16 sample points were done for one wetland and 9 sample points for the second wetland. The square was placed randomly on areas around the wetland and plants inside the square were collected, recorded and identified. For aquatic plants, a round count method was conducted to visually identify the vegetation species.
Lastly, water fowls monitoring on the other hand involved the round count method where we walked around the wetlands at a steady, slow pace to observe the birds in the area. We used the binoculars and a camera to document the fowls. This was conducted in June where more birds reside there for nesting and feeding.
Based on our internship experience, we learned that wetlands serve as a good habitat for both plants and animals. In addition, we observed the clear connection between habitats and organisms, and how these are interconnected in an ecosystem. It was overall a good experience for us to conduct this activity- from building insect traps, to species identification and bird counting- because we learned more about how an ecosystem works and its relevance.
References for our methods:
Invertebrates: UUDENMAAN ELINKEINO-, LIIKENNE- JA YMPÄRISTÖKESKUS (Vanjärvi benthic fauna inventories and water quality monitoring)
Waterfowl: Waterfowl Round Count Manual (Zoological Museum)
Vegetation: Eeva Vaahtera. (2012). Itseohjautva kastillisuuden alkukehetsy naketulla taajamakosteikolla - tapaus Nummelan Portti