Ecology Oxford

In October 2017, three staff from BSG’s Oxford office spent a day with national stonewort expert Nick Stewart[1], brushing up on their identification skills.
BSG Ecology’s innovative use of thermal imaging to help better understand how bats are using Blenheim Palace's Grand Bridge has attracted the attention of the local media.  The article Lives of Blenheim Palace bats are revealed in new project published by the Oxford Press describes how the survey work has helped to identify where the bats are roosting, which is important as a multi-million-pound restoration project is proposed for the bridge.
BSG Ecology is leading the way in the effective use of thermal imagery as an essential tool in the delivery of a complete ecological consultancy service. We own several high-specification TI cameras and our staff are professionally trained in their use. This includes complex post-processing of radiometric data which reveals more meaningful information than simple visual interpretation.
Since the year 2000, when publication of Frans Vera’s book ‘Grazing Ecology and Forest History’ stimulated debate about what our ancient landscapes would have looked like, interest in the concept of rewilding has grown. The book was followed in 2005 by Peter Taylor’s wildland strategy for the UK in his book ‘Beyond Conservation’ in which he set out a way forward for rewilding or restoring and repairing the damaged and truncated natural processes that once shaped our habitats and landscape.
In April 2016 staff from around the practice assembled at our Oxford office for specialist training on badger survey, mitigation and monitoring. The training was delivered by Penny Lewns of Protected Species Ecology. Penny has over twenty five years of experience working with badgers and development and has authored publications on the status of the badger in Britain, techniques for surveying badgers, monitoring populations and estimating the impact of past persecution on the numbers of badgers. She has held 400 badger licences across the UK, and is one of the most experienced badger specialists in the country.
Dr Peter Shepherd will be appearing on Tuesday 19th January 2016 as an expert panel member at a seminar organised by the Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Oxford. This is the first in the Grand Challenges Seminar Series, organised by a group of interdisciplinary PhD students at the University of Oxford, which is intended to “provide a forum to hear from experts and discuss the pressing issues and questions surrounding our environment”.
Six ecologists from BSG Ecology joined Dr Ian Davidson-Watts on Tuesday 22 September for a training event that also contributed to a (Natural England licenced) long-term monitoring project at a protected hibernation and swarming site in Wiltshire.
Since 2014 BSG Ecology has been using thermal imaging cameras in appropriate situations to determine the presence of bats in trees, bat boxes and other structures; and to identify flight lines and foraging behaviour to better inform the assessment of impacts on rare species of bat. We have been particularly interested in how this technique can assist us in the assessment and survey of potential tree roosts, which is always a challenging task.
In this article we consider the use of eDNA analysis of water samples to detect great crested newts, and discuss the results of some recent survey work.  Whilst we identify limitations that need to be considered, it is also recognised that the technique provides a useful additional method for detecting great crested newts, and we use it in appropriate circumstances at sites throughout the UK.  The method has been endorsed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.