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Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Miller G.R.,Gilbank | Geddes C.,Wester Clunes | Mardon D.K.,National Trust for Scotland
Plant Ecology and Diversity | Year: 2010

Background: The Festuca ovina-Alchemilla alpina-Silene acaulis dwarf-herb community is a rare component of the few and scattered calcareous grasslands found at high altitude in the Scottish Highlands. It contains nationally scarce and rare arctic-alpine species. The community is often heavily grazed and it has been suggested that it is a plagioclimax maintained by herbivores, principally sheep. Aim: Determine the role of sheep grazing in conserving the dwarf-herb community on Ben Lawers, Perthshire, Scotland. Methods: Sheep-proof cages were erected each spring from 1987 to 1996 and dismantled again each autumn. Species cover, the height of the vegetation, the amount of litter and the extent of bare ground were estimated every summer. Data were analysed by repeated measures analysis of variance. Results: Excluding sheep caused major shifts in the balance amongst species. Initially, graminoids and some forbs increased in cover, the vegetation increased in height and the amount of bare ground decreased. However this was followed by a decline in the cover of graminoids as bryophytes proliferated and litter accumulated. Conclusion: Sheep grazing is essential to the maintenance of the dwarf-herb community. Permanent removal of sheep might lead to the development of bryophyte-rich, tall-herb and/or scrub vegetation. © 2010 Botanical Society of Scotland and Taylor & Francis. Source

Beavan S.D.,The Hayes | Heckford R.J.,Natural History Museum in London | Prescott T.,Mill House | Watson D.,National Trust for Scotland | Young M.R.,Meiklepark
Entomologist's Gazette | Year: 2016

An account is given of the discovery of the larva of Kessleria fasciapennella (Stainton, 1849) amongst Parnassio palustris L. at Meall Mor, Argyll, Scotland. The larva had not been found previously in the British Isles and this is only the second British record of this species since the mid-nineteenth century. Unsuccessful searches for the species at three other Scottish localities are also reported. Previous known British records are given, differences are noted between the larval mine and larva observed in 2015 and a published account, variation in the ground colour of the forewing is recorded and differences are given between the adults of Kessleria fasciapennella and K. saxifragae (Stainton, 1868). Source

Miles W.T.S.,University of Glasgow | Parsons M.,Joint Nature Conservation Committee | Close A.J.,Newcastle University | Luxmoore R.,National Trust for Scotland | Furness R.W.,University of Glasgow
Ibis | Year: 2013

Many species of bird recognize acoustic and visual cues given by their predators and have complex defence adaptations to reduce predation risk. Recognition of threats posed by specific predators and specialized anti-predation behaviours are common. In this study we investigated predator recognition and anti-predation behaviours in a pelagic seabird, Leach's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa, at a site where predation risk from Great Skuas Stercorarius skua is exceptionally high. Leach's Storm-petrels breed in burrows and come on land only at night. Counter-predator adaptations were investigated correlatively in relation to changing natural light levels at night, and experimentally in relation to nocturnal visual and acoustic signals from Great Skuas. Colony attendance by Leach's Storm-petrels was attuned to changes in light conditions at night and was highest when nights were darkest. This behaviour is likely to reduce predation risk on land; however, specific recognition of Great Skuas and specialized defence behaviours were not found. Leach's Storm-petrels, in particular apparently non-breeding individuals, were entirely naïve to the threat posed by Great Skuas and were captured easily in a variety of different ways, on the ground and in the air. Lack of specialized behavioural adaptations in Leach's Storm-petrels against Great Skuas may be because spatial overlap of breeding distributions of these species appears to be a rare and recent phenomenon. © 2012 British Ornithologists' Union. Source

Miles W.,University of Glasgow | Money S.,Raintree House | Luxmoore R.,National Trust for Scotland | Furness R.W.,University of Glasgow
Bird Study | Year: 2010

Capsule When moonlight levels are low, shearwaters and storm-peirels are attracted to artificial lighting at night at St Kilda and may be killed, but impacts are lessend by deliberate light reduction measures. Aims To determine the scale and impacts of attraction of petrels artifical lights at St Kilds, investigate influences of the lunar cycle, and assess effects of reducing artificial light emission. Methods Nightly numbers of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus, Leach's Strom-petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa and European Storm-petrels Hydrobates pelogicus attracted by artificial lights were recoded in September and October from 2005 to 2008. Effects of experimental reductions to light emissions in 2007 and 2008 were assessed, toghther with variation in annual moonlight, mortality rates, and age of birds found. Results Reductions to light emissions caused a decrease in numbers of Leach's Storm-petrels attracted, but has less effect on attraction of Manx Shearwaters. Only juveniles werre found, the majority after nights with little or no moonlight, and mortality was extremely infrequent. Only one European Storm peirel was found, and Leach's Storm-petrel and Manx Shearwater totals werre small compared with estimated breeding totals at St Kilda. Conclusions Numbers of petrels attracted to artificial lights on St Kilda were low. However, reductions to light emissions werre still beneficial in reducing numbers of young that became disorientated, grounded, or died during fledging periods. Therefore, reductions to light emissions should be encouraged. A review of this phenomenon across the UK found it to be rare in breeding areas away from St Kilda. © 2010 British Trust for Ornithology. Source

Watson D.,National Trust for Scotland
British Wildlife | Year: 2015

Glencoe was the second countryside property to come into the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland. Most of the ground was acquired in 1936 and 1937, primarily as a result of financial support from the Scottish Mountaineering Club, and in particular from an anonymous donor, later revealed to be its president, Percy Unna. Unna's wishes for the future management of the property have become known as the Unna Principles, providing guidance for the National Trust for Scotland in the management of this and the other mountainous properties in its care, now enshrined in the Trust's Wild Land Policy. In total, the Trust's ground at Glencoe extends to 5,680 hectares, explored here by the author. © 2015, British Wildlife Publishing. All rights reserved. Source

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