Ascension : Conservation Weekly - Visitors
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 20.11.2008 (Article Archived on 04.12.2008)
The Conservation Department has had a busy time lately with several visiting researchers to the island.
Last week Will Kirby from the RSPB came to Ascension to study Madeiran storm petrels. His research followed on from that of Mark Bolton (also from the RSPB). This research involves night monitoring for the birds using mist nets and bird calls. We went out to four different sites (including an overnight trip to Letterbox), but only captured and ringed one Madeiran storm petrel. Considering that 12 birds were captured and ringed last year, this was slightly disappointing. However, Will will return to Ascension in December (he’s currently en route to St. Helena to work on wirebirds there). Hopefully, he will have better luck then as December was the month that we captured the birds last year. This research will help to ascertain whether or not the storm petrels on Ascension are an endemic species. If you are interested in volunteering to help Will in December, please contact the Conservation Dept. at x6359.
Another visitor to the island is Dr. Alan Gray from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has worked on Ascension’s endemic plants longer than any one else on the island. He is studying the Ascension spurge and has accompanied Stedson Stroud in the field. He also has erected weather stations on the island, these will help us record climate changes over time and tell us the climate conditions that are best for the spurge. His work has been supported by CSR.
This week, Dr. Niciejski is on Ascension to look at possible research sites for his work to do with space weather. Dr. Niciejski studies the ionosphere and his work can even determine the wind patterns at 250 km. in altitude.
The Conservation Department extends our thanks to these scientists who will help us learn more about our natural environment.
REMINDER: If you own a cat on Ascension, it is your responsibility to look after it. This means that you must make sure that your cat wears a collar at all times and you must notify the Conservation Dept. as soon as your cat goes missing. You should also let us know if you are leaving the island for holiday (or permanently) and who will be looking after your cat during your absence. Thank you!